Eagle Valley EFC History
During the 1870ís immigrants from Sweden settled in this area. Among them were believers who felt a need for worship and prayer and to encourage each other in their faith. They gathered in homes where they sang, prayed, and testified. Sometimes a printed sermon would be read.
These new settlers were happy when they could purchase a schoolhouse in 1882 to be their first church building. It was placed on a site 1Ĺ miles east of Christine, ND. For the first 25 years, with the exception of 2 years, the laymen of the church carried on the work.
O.T. Johannson was pastor from 1897-1899. In 1892, Frederick Franson, a well-known church leader of that time, held tent meetings in Christine.
In 1889 the congregation decided to incorporate under Dakota Territory laws. After a few years the church building became too small, so in 1898 a larger building was erected two miles east of Christine, ND. Each family belonging to the congregation gave $50 which covered the cost.
The church held mission meetings several summers. These visiting speakers, we believe were instruments in Godís hand to establish us in the faith.
In 1896 land was bought for a cemetery from Wilhelm Anderson.
In 1905 Pastor Sather accepted the call and served 2 years. He also pastored the Norwegian Mission Church, a few miles north of our church.
The church was without a pastor again for 6 years. In 1913 Pastor Melin was called and accepted. His salary was $50 a month and he was given enough feed for his horse and cow. A residence for the pastor and 6 acres of land were purchased at this time.
Special meetings were held in the church with Evangelist John Karlson. Among them were Joseph and Gilbert Otteson, who began to sing and witness for Christ. Joseph Otteson felt called to go as missionary to India and was ordained in May 1918. For a long time he had been concerned for the lost in the Wolverton community. A large tent was procured and Evangelist Harry Vom Bruch was called to have meetings. Great numbers of people attended and many souls were saved and added to the congregation.
With the increase in membership and attendance at the church, a larger building was needed. It was decided to build the new church in Wolverton, MN. The church was built in 1919 at a cost of $19,000. The year 1918 had been a profitable year for farmers, so there was much support for the building program. It appears that this church was paid for as it was built. It was dedicated in 1920.
In 1953, after fourteen years of service, Pastor Ramsey resigned with plans to retire from active ministry. Kenneth Mickelson of the Lutheran Brethren School in Fergus Falls served as interim pastor for a time. Then, Jerrold Stenoien pastored the church for a few months before he left for radio missionary work in South America.
In October of 1954 Ivan Carlson of Wallace, Michigan came to be our pastor. He began a radio program which was broadcast over the Wahpeton station on Sunday mornings. This was continued until 1981.
In this time period, we joined with other Free Churches to establish a Bible camp at Cooperstown, ND. Pastor Carlson left in 1959 to serve a church in Watertown, MN. Emory Larson served as interim pastor.
In September 1959 Newton Sundeen became our pastor. There was an emphasis on youth work, Sunday school, and Cooperstown Bible Camp during his ministry.
Following Pastor Sundeenís resignation, a call was sent to Albert Reimer. He was an able Bible scholar and his teaching was very profitable to the church.
Pastor Reimer resigned in 1979 and Jon MacKinney was called. An emphasis was placed on a new youth outreach program during his tenure.
In 1983 Pastor Jim Levitt was called to be our pastor. Pastor Levitt initiated a new church plant in Wahpeton, ND and then accepted a call to be the pastor of our daughter church, Faith Evangelical Free Church.
In 1990 Pastor Dale Clifton came to be our pastor. Church members went on the first missionís trip to Mexico during his time here.
Pastor Clifton was called to Hinkley, MN and Darrell Reimer was called in 2000 to be our full time pastor. At this time the decision was made to build a new church across the river in Eagle Township near Christine, ND.
Pastor Reimer resigned in 2004 and Pastor Donn Roach was asked to be our interim pastor until November 2005, when the church relocated and the first service was held in the new facility. He was succeeded by a second interim pastor, Dr. Phil Brown.
Pastor Robert Grohman was called to our new church, Eagle Valley Evangelical Free church, in May of 2006 when our new building was dedicated.
Today, our church is made up of diverse group of people who travel from a 40 mile radius to be a part of what God is doing in this region. We praise and thank Him for His faithfulness through all these generations in the history of our church!