A CHURCH HISTORY OF
EVANGELICAL COVENANT, SILVERHILL
1915 - 1927
New members: Mrs. Ida Hultman, Mr. and Mrs. John Nordine. There was a discussion about building a shelter for the horses and mules used in driving to Church, but since "the horses and mules have stood out in the rain and shine, cold and warm since 1902" it was decided to table this question. The secretary wrote the Mission Covenant for help on the pastor's salary since the Church could pay only $15.00 and it was to be $30.00. Meetings were conducted by laymen, but it was decided to go to the Baptist Church one Sunday a month until a pastor came. A call was issued to Rev. Monson.
It was finally decided to build a shelter for the horses and mules. Measurements 80 feet by 8 feet with the users of the same to do the labor. Christmas Fest and Julotta again were held. It was decided to go to the Baptist Church for Prayer Week. No Pastor yet, a call was sent to a Rev. August Erickson (Rockford). The laymen were still serving very faithfully. Twenty-five new Swedish Sunday School books were bought, "Jubelklangen".
In October a letter came from a dear saintly old pastor, Rev. A. E. Wenstrand (Milwaukee). He wished to come south for the winter and would like to serve us if the congregation would pay his traveling expenses and provide room and board. He came and stayed with the O. P. Forsman family to whom the congregation paid $10.00 a month. Rev. Wenstrand was an aged old gentleman of over eighty years but he was a powerful man of God.
It was good to have a pastor at the annual meeting. A song was sung, and Rev. Wenstrand read Scripture and led in prayer. This was the first time with a pastor at the annual meeting since Pastor Jacobson left in 1911. Rev. Wenstrand left in the Spring but a call was given him to return to us in the fall. A "Farewell" was given him, and he was presented $50.00 as a love gift of appreciation.
For several years the Sunday School had been a member of the Alabama, Baldwin County, Sunday School Association with good contacts and help and many enjoyable meetings with Sunday Schools of other denominations. It was during those years that the young people of the Sunday School organized the Working Band Class, Louise Johnson (Lundberg) as its first president. For many years this class with different members from year to year always lived true to its name being a "Working Band" not only in the Sunday School but in the church, the Sunday School Association and in the community.
Another severe storm struck Baldwin County in 1917 with more damage to property and crops, but no lives lost, thank God. This called for more straightening of the church and much repair work. The plastering on the walls had cracked and fallen, so it was decided to put up wood-siding and to varnish it. A subscription brought in the money to pay for it. Rev. Wenstrand returned in the fall coming by train, of course. New members this year were: Mr. and Mrs. Anton Youngquist, Mr. and Mrs. C. Bjorklind.
Rev. Wenstrand read Scripture and led in prayer and a song was sung at the annual meeting. Special appreciation was extended Mr. Isaakson for the many things he had done for the church, these many years since he was one of the Charter Members. Greetings were read from Pastor Jacobson. New secretary Mr. Youngquist, New trustee John Nordine, new President of Sewing Society Mrs. John Olson. Rev. Wenstrand was given a love gift of $75.00. Mr. Benson and Mr. Overberg were asked to lead the meetings as laymen. The Sunday School picnic was still held on "The Hill".
A letter was read at the Gustafson home from a Pastor Wallquist who would come to us. He was asked to come to visit to see if he liked it here. We could offer him $20.00 a month. (Note: The Lutherans had now built a church and parsonage so the Lutheran friends withdrew from the Mission Sunday School to organize one of their own).
Sunday School Class about 1918.
Teacher: Mrs. Ida Hultman,
Students: Ruth Wallendorf, Hazel Carlson, Edna Forsman, Linnea and Violet Pearson, Emy Lander.
Rev. Wenstrand returned for the third winter. New members: Mr. and Mrs. Nasholm, Mr. and Mrs. Ivar Rundquist, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Steve, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Forsman, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Forsman, Mrs. Peter Forsman. Several pastors were written to.
The Baptist congregation, under Rev. Walberg, asked the Mission Congregation to join with them in an Evangelistic Campaign with Evangelist and Mrs. David Nygren. There was a strong response by the Missions. Day meetings were held in the Mission Church and the evening services in the Baptist Church. There was a full house every night with many souls brought to the Lord, and several to the Church. $10.00 was presented to Rev. Wahlberg for his kind co-operation in many meetings and gatherings and his good messages.
A letter was received from a Pastor Albert Lundgren to come to us. He was a pastor from Sweden, with his family still there. He would serve the church for $50.00 a month, with hopes of soon bringing his family with him. His brother Einar Lundgren was with him.
New officers are Vice-President Mr. Nasholm (he is also teacher of Swedish Bible Class); Mr. Charley Gustafson was chosen Sunday School teacher of the Working Band Class conducted in the English language; New secretary Mr. Charles Wallendorf.
An offering was sent to the Swedish Tuberculosis Sanitorium in Denver, Colorado. A letter was received thanking for the offering sent to the Children's Home in Princeton, Illinois. Treasury had now grown to $438.93. New Trustee was Mr. Oscar Steve. New organist was Mrs. George Lundberg who received $15.00 a year. The men of the church took turns as janitor. It was voted that the Julotta tradition should be continued. Prayer week was again held with the Baptists. There was a discussion about building a parsonage.
People were still driving horses and buggies or walking to church. The first one in the membership to own a car was the Charley Gutafson's, and it was a Ford truck. All roads in the County were still dirt roads, which when dry the sand got deep and treacherous, and when it rained the mud got deep and dangerous.
Mr. Charles Gustafson is still congregation President, and Mr. Benson Sunday School Superintendent; Mr. Nasholm is the teacher of the adult Bible Class (in Swedish as is the whole Sunday School except the Working Class Band); Mrs. John Olson president of Sewing Society, Mrs. Nasholm Vice-President. This year the same Sewing Sociey (Syforening) was changed to Ladies Aid. Mr. John Nordine became another lay speaker.
A letter and photograph of Rev. Albert Lundgren was received, and he soon arrived and received $50.00 a month. A reception was given for him, with Baptists invited. Baptist pastor Rev. Eckblad was presented a love gift of $15.00 for his many messages at different times.
Mr. Elfstrand had previously given the church ten acres of land for a parsonage and farming. This was sold and the home of Mr. and Mrs. O. Gustafson and son Oscar (Silverhill's very good and popular photographer) was bought as a parsonage. (Note: Now in 1962 it is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Racine and family). Mr. Isaakson was to take charge of the transaction.
New members this year were Mr. and Mrs. Swann. It was suggested giving Perfect Attendance pins as awards in Sunday School for better attendance.
Rev. Lundgren asked a loan from the church of $1,100.00 to bring his family from Sweden with members paying $0.50 a month until loan is paid. When told that this was an impossibility right now, Rev. Lundgren resigned. He was given $50.00 toward transportation and he left for Chicago. The parsonage had been bought and partially furnished so now it was to be rented out for $10.00 or $12.00 a month. The work in the church went back to laymen again. The furniture was sold piece by piece. Mrs. Hultman bought a wood cook stove for $4.00. The parsonage was up for sale. Subscription payments toward pastor and parsonage stopped.
New treasurer Mr. John Nordine, New deaconess Mrs. O. P. Forsman, Lay leaders of church Mr. Gustafson, Mr. Benson and Mr. Overberg. Committee for cleaning church Mrs. Ivar Rundquist, Mrs. George Lundberg, Mrs. Nels Benson, Mrs. Charles Wallendorf.
It was voted that the Silverhill Evangelical Mission Church unite along with the Evangelical Swedish Mission Covenant Church of America and also with the free church. Mr. Franz Berg was received into the church membership. Mr. Nels Benson was asked to lead the morning meetings as the pastor with a salary of $20.00 per month. Back to a paid janitor $15.00 per year. Old Paster Blomquist wished to come south, so a call was made to him. He was to stay at the Charley Gustafson home, as parsonage was in the hands of a realtor, Mr. Anton Wesley to sell for $2,500.00 the commission to come out of that. Sewing machine from parsonage sold to Mrs. G. Lundberg for $15.00. Mr. Berg new trustee. The church still owed Oscar Gustafson $1,000.00 on pasonage. Mr. Gustafson and Mr. Benson offered to pay this debt, and then the congregation to pay them, but the church paid $150.00, Gustafson $550.00 and Benson $300.00. Three Mission young people confirmed under the Lutheran pastor: Frances Anderson, Ruth Wallendorf and Axel Rundquist. They were given Bibles by the church. Sunday School picnic was held up on "The Hill". The "graphaphon" phonograph from parsonage was sold at next Ladies Aid Auction Sale. Swedish songbooks "Jubelklangen" in Sunday School "Sionsharpen" at services. Mr. Isaakson then had a chance to sell the parsonage and remaining furniture.
Officers in 1923 were: President Charley Gustafson, Vice-President Nels Benson, Secretary Charles Wallendorf, Treasurer John Nordine, Trustees Arthur Forsman, Franz Berg, Oscar Steve, Deacon and Deaconess Mr. and Mrs. O. P. Forsman, Auditors Peter Forsman and Oscar Steve. Lay pastor Mr. Nels Benson. Sunday School Superintendent Benson, Organist Mrs. G. Lundberg. There were no evening meetings. The men took turns as janitor. $25.00 was sent to the Children's Home in Cromwell, Conn. Prayer week was again held with the Baptists. Mr. Gustafson volunteered to take care of the lamps, to see that they are filled, and that the chimneys are all shiny clear. This is no easy, fast job, since more lamps had been bought.
Pastor A. G. Lind served the church for a time, living with the Nels Bensons. He was given an appreciation gift of $50.00. Ladies Aid sent a money gift to the Foreign Missions in Siberia. Fifty more "Sionsharpen" were ordered. At a Lutheran "Farewell" for Rev. and Mrs. John Benson and daughter as they leave as Missionaries to China the Mission Congregation gave a love gift of $10.00 to the Bensons. Ruth Wallendorf became a new member. Sunday School picnic was held on "The Hill" on August 4th. Mr. Albert Erickson is to paint the ceiling in church a lighter color. The Working Band Class was to conduct Sunday evening meetings for "the winning of souls and to keep the church open".
New organist Ruth Wallendorf at $15.00 a year. The Laymen Leaders continued. It was decided to install electric lights from the Robertsdale Electric Station. Each man was to be janitor for one month. Church was painted on the outside. Communion to be held once a quarter following the business meeting. Wrote to Pastor Carl T. Olson inquiring to be our pastor. A lengthy discussion was held on the use of English language in Sunday School but it was decided to use the Swedish as long as possible. Baptist Pastor Ekblad to lead all Prayer Week Services. Rev. Eckblad was given a $10.00 love gift. Collection was taken for Evangelist G. A. Lind who served for some time, living as a guest at Bensons. Laymen continue serving at morning meetings. No pastor, no evening meetings.
Mr. Arthur Forsman was added to the trustee board. Ruth Wallendorf was given $20.00 a year for being organist. Prayer Week was combined with all three churches, Baptist, Lutheran and Mission. Sunday School Supt. Mrs. George Lundberg, Ass't. Supt. Nels Benson, Sec-Treas Charles Gustafson. It was decided to have no more Auction Sales by the Ladies Aid, but rather dues of 25 cents a month. The Working Band Class borrowed money to buy a piano. The Lutheran Congregation were invited to hold an "Alabama Conference" in our church. It was decided to ask Charles Gustafson and Charles Wallendorf to speak to families who seem to be backsliding. Wrote Pastor Gustaf F. Johnson (Chicago) to visit with us. A subscription list collected money for Mission Conference.
New members Mrs. T. A. Johnson and daughter Alida. Several members were indifferent in their church attendance. A committee was appointed to visit these members and nuture them back to the church. The committee was Mrs. O. P. Forsman and Mr. and Mrs. Nels Benson. Mr. Charles Gustafson asked release from Presidency, he had served for many years. Mr. Benson was elected the new President. Ruth Wallendorf was now to receive $25.00 a year as organist. The floor was oiled to keep down the dust. The Working Band Class contributed a pulpit lamp to the church.
A call was sent to Rev. O. E. Osterberg (N. Dakota) to serve us at $75.00 a month. He was a single man, and wished to come south for his health. Love gifts of $10.00 were given to both Rev. Charles Palm Baptist Pastor and Rev. E. Oscar Johnson Lutheran Pastor for their many kindnesses and messages when we were without a pastor. Sunday School Supt. Mrs. George Lundberg, Assistant Mr. Nels Benson, Sec-Treas. Alida Johnson. Emmigrant Missionary Rev. Willant of New York City was a guest speaker in the church. He received the collection of the service as a love gift.
The first English song books were purchased by the Sunday School entitled "The Gospel Echo" and compiled by the Evangelist Rev. David Nygren who had recently been here. It was with hopes that for the sake of the young people and children at least one song could be sung in English each Sunday. Many of these songs were learned during the recent Evangelistic Campaign conducted by Rev. Nygren.
Rev. Osterberg arrived and he was tendered a "Welcome Reception" to which all three churches were invited to participate. A free will offering was taken as a love gift to Rev. Osterberg. Later in the year, 100 "Favorite Hymn" books were purchased to be used at services. The Working Band Class had the windows stippled to keep out the bright sunlight. The two steeple rooms were sealed and made into pleasant rooms, the north one for a kitchen, the other for the Working Band Class Room. New member Rev. Osterberg. He was much pleased with the little church. Now regular morning and evening services were held on Sundays and also a mid-week prayer service. Church benches were made more comfortable; the church was repaired with the financial help of the Ladies Aid.
New members Mr. and Mrs. Charley Johnston. Much thankfulness to God that the congregation has continued throughout all these years, and especially since so many years were without a pastor. "May God bless richly the laymen who have led the services so that God's word has been preached, and that the church doors have never closed." Now thankfulness is raised that Rev. Osterberg is with us to be a permanent pastor.
Sunday School is now conducted in English as are all the evening services. The Adult Bible Class is still in Swedish for those who can better understand God's Word in Swedish. No lights one night at Prayer Meeting, so the meeting was held at the T. A. Johnson home in their new apartment up over the People's Supply Company store. The choir is growing and improving. Rev. Osterberg's health is much better. The Church treasury is low so it asked for $50.00 from the Sunday School and $50.00 from the Ladies Aid.
Since Alabama now has a stock law, it was decided to take down the fences, and mow the lawn around the church and out to the street. It was decided to buy 6 "Sionsharpen" and 4 "Sionbasun" for the choir for Sunday morning services. The church took out Fire insurance for $1500.00. First Sunday School picnic away from "The Hill" (Oscar Johnson Memorial Park), it was held at Daphne Beach. Thanksgiving Services were held for many years in a united way, rotating among the three churches: Baptist, Lutheran, Mission. The working Band Class painted their classroom, and the kitchen - a new stove pipe was added to the clay pipe chimney.
Continue to page 3.
Translated and Written by Louise J. Lundberg to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the church.