History of Our Congregation

  History of Our Congregation  

Our Savior Lutheran Church, Est. 1946

(An abbreviated history taken largely from "Building Hand in Hand For Our Savior: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Aberdeen, South Dakota 1946-1996")

   On September 1, 1946 the South Dakota District Mission Board of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, after a thorough survey and many discussions, established a "preaching station" on the north side of Aberdeen. This preaching station is now known as Our Savior Lutheran Church.  This church held her services in Monroe School with Pastor A. Bartels as her first pastor.

   Our Savior's first voters' assembly was held on March 9, 1947 and the congregation was officially organized with the signing of the constitution on July 13 of that year.  Other firsts were recorded in the 1940-50s: first wedding August 7, 1946; Sunday School organized September 29, 1946; first Ladies Aid Meeting November 20, 1946; first baptism December 22, 1946; first confirmation (four confirmands) observed May 25, 1947; and the first funeral December 9, 1948.  Walther League, a formal youth program, was begun in 1950.  The mens' club recieved its charter June 27, 1951.  A children's choir sang for several services in the early 1950s and an adult choir was organized in 1956. A junior choir also existed for a time.

   Membership and attendance grew steadily in the early years, until the library and music room at Monroe School were no longer large enough for Sunday services.  Plans were drawn and six lots were purchased at the corner of North Jay Street and Seventh Avenue NE, for the construction of a new church building. The basement of the structure was completed on November 6, 1949.  Due to financial reasons, the congregation met in the "basement church" for several years until a superstructure could be built above it.  Membership continued to grow until the "basement was soon bursting at the seams". 

    A special event in the life of the congregation occurred February 13, 1955. Pastor Dommer described the day, "One of the greatest privileges of my life came to me last Sunday when I had the distinct honor of baptizing 24 children in a mass children's baptism service -- a day long to be remembered!"

   In 1954, the voters' assembly decided to have preliminary plans drawn for a superstructure and to conduct a building fund drive.  On July 12, 1955 ground was broken to enlarge the basement and begin construction of the superstructure.  The corner stone was laid October 9, 1955.  Many contributed to the building effort: doing sanding, finish work, painting and installing pews. Members of Our Savior gathered in the sunshine on the front lawn on July 1, 1956 for the unlocking of the doors and the dedication of the newly completed superstructure. Several services of praise and thanksgiving were offered to God for this special celebration. 

   The burning of the church mortgage was held March 10, 1974.  Stained glass windows were dedicated September 18, 1977.  Parking space was expanded with the purchase of neighboring lots over the years and in the late 1990s, a fellowship hall and new church offices were added on the south side of the structure.  A dual parish with St. John's Lutheran Church in Columbia, SD was established in later years, with both churches being served by the same pastor(s), joint seasonal/special services organized and other mutual work in the life of both congregations.

   All thanks and glory be to God, from whom all blessings flow.