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Month of July to celebrate heritage month and baptisms for Our Saviors Lutheran Church of Prineville

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY OUR SAVIOR'S LUTHERAN CHURCH OF PRINEVILLE - The chapel at Camp Abbot in Sunriver, before the building was taken apart and moved to its present location in Prineville in 1946.The month of July has been designated as a heritage month for Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Prineville.

Since the church opened its doors at the corner of Third and Harwood in September 1947, more than 750 baptisms have taken place.

"July will be a month of celebration, honoring the history of the congregation and July 10 is designated to specifically recognize all the baptisms," commented current President of the Church Council, ZuAnne Neal.

Neal noted that the first baptisms inside the church walls took place in December 1947. Four infants were baptized together: Danny Amundson, Jerry Bannon, ZuAnne Close and Caryl Giovanini. Our Savior's is trying to locate as many of those listed in the church registry as possible to join the celebration. Neal said that emails, Facebook posts, cards and other means of communications have been going out for the past month.

"Many local names appear in the record search: Ontko, Short, Hiaasen, Amundson, Groff, Hopkins, Endicott, Dorn, Orr, Olsen…please pass the word that July is a great month to rediscover Prineville and your family's Christian roots," Neal went on to say.

In 2011, members of the congregation provided a comprehensive history of the church's beginnings — both the building and the people who made it possible. In April 2011, the sanctuary was renovated, and the structure, with its large beams and unique architecture, has a long history.

Doc Amundson owned and operated Doc's Dry Cleaners on Second Street in what is now Bemis Chiropractic. His mother, Tilda Amundson, joined a handful of other women at the home of Wilma Glover in the early spring of 1940, with Glover host to the group of ladies who expressed a desire to have Lutheran services in the Prineville community. The first services were held at the Brick Hagedorn home, with Pastor Thompson presenting the message. According to the late Dora Amundson, who was a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Prineville for more than 60 years, the first congregation of worshippers was known as Grace Lutheran Church. The group soon found a more public place for services at the Masonic Hall, where Pastor Morris Thompson was installed to serve the Prineville mission. Other locations included the Odd Fellows Hall and Everett Hopkins photographic studio. In 1945, the congregation adopted the name "Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Prineville." After the constitution recommended by the Church Council of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (NLCA) was adopted, the first elected officers included President Charles Mortensen, Secretary Everett Hopkins and Treasurer Brick Hagedorn. In 1946, the decision was made to purchase a site for the future church — the current site for the church — for a sum of $1,000. The first pastor, Burnis Rogness, a prior Army chaplain, was appointed the same year. "He was a young, energetic pastor who lived in a converted garage when he was here," said Grace Bannon. She was the Crook County Clerk for 16 years and worked in the county office for a total of 25 years. Bannon has been a member of Our Savior's most of her life. In November 1946, the congregation resolved to borrow $15,000 from the Home Mission Board to purchase a building.

Bannon recalled that the church decided to buy the chapel at Camp Abbot in Sunriver. The Army chapel was designed by Eleanor Roosevelt in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. The building was to be taken apart, moved, and reassembled on the site that the church had previously purchased. Van Meter of Bend was hired as the building contractor with Doc Amundson, Morris Kopp and Walt Laursen on the building committee. The actual chapel was considered surplus material and was purchased for $1,505. The chapel was stripped and moved in sections to Prineville at a cost of $10,000. "That was a lot of money then," said Bannon. Amundson previously indicated that the contractor took the chapel down in sections during the winter months and put it in storage until the spring of 1947. The chapel was turned end-for-end, so that the entrance would face away from the traffic on Third Street. The Ladies Aid of the church held many fundraisers to finance the basement for the church. The chapel was rebuilt piece by piece. First, the church arches were lifted into place, then the sections, then the exterior. An item of interest was the fact that Pastor Rogness owned the chapel for a short time, because the Army surplus department insisted upon payment before the loan from the Home Mission Board. Rogness paid the account and was later reimbursed. The chapel was finished in time for the first service to be held on Sept. 27, 1947. The same afternoon, the first wedding ceremony was held — with none other than the marriage between Pastor Rogness and Marcia Berkvam. The second couple to be married at the new building was Orin and Joyce Gerke. Edna and Glen Hopkins followed shortly thereafter. The church dedication was held on Nov. 20, 1947, and the first baptismal service was held in December of 1947.

Neal concluded that the congregation has three anniversaries: It's start as Grace Lutheran in 1940, the incorporated Our Savior's Lutheran Church in 1945 and an actual facility in 1947.

"With COVID limiting celebrations and the need to gather with joy, the month of July 2022 is a month-long celebration of our local history, the Lutheran heritage and good old-fashioned fun," she said.


Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Prineville July heritage month Sunday schedule

July 7 Zoom study at 6 p.m. on Saint and Sinner.

July 10 Celebrate Baptism.

July 17 Lutherans from Martin (1500's) to OSLC in the ELCA today.

July 21 Zoom study on the Sacraments.

July 24 Cultural Picnic and potluck at Ochoco Creek Park at noon.

July 31 Quarterly meeting

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