Stotler Covenant Church to celebrate 125 years

Note: This article appeared in the Osage County Chronicle on Thursday, July 9, 1998.

Stotler Covenant Church is making plans to celebrate their 125th anniversary on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 17-19. The Church is west of Osage City on Hwy. 56.

In the middle and late 19th century, thousands of Swedish immigrants came to the shores of America. Like so many other immigrants from Europe, they brought their faith and worship with them. The Evangelical Covenant Church of America was born of the spiritual revivals which swept Sweden in the middle and late 19th century. It emphasized the need of personal regeneration, personal commitment for Christ and living a holy life.

Throughout Sweden, people gathered into small groups in homes for the reading of the Bible, prayer and singing. Through these meetings many were converted to Christ. This revival was carried from home to home and town to town and to the provinces by simple lay preachers and religious booksellers called colpourtes.

In America in the beginning, many Swedish immigrants affiliated themselves with the Lutheran Church, then later formed mission synods.

It was on Feb. 20, 1885, in Chicago that the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of America was organized. It was from this group that several families moved to Kansas and formed the Mission Covenant Church in Osage City. At first, the church was called the Swedish Mission Lutheran Church, and the group met in each others homes where they studied the Bible, sang and prayed together. Soon there became such a need for a church, that on July 18, 1873 a church was organized in the Gust Rudeen home in Osage City, at 315 Market. This church was known as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission Church.

The church prospered spiritually for many years. A considerable number of the members lived in the Stotler community and in order to save the long trip to Osage City, meetings were soon held in area homes and at the Stotler School. More immigrants with Christian interests were settling in the Stotler neighborhood. In 1892, it was decided a new church building was needed. John Sutherland donated the land on which the church was built. The new church building was erected by Oscar Anderson, a carpenter from Osage City. Work on the church was finished on Oct. 29, 1892. The new church was 26x33x14 feet, and the cost was $708.73.

An addition was added to the original structure in 1904 and a basement was constructed in 1936. In 1949, another addition was built and the pipe organ was installed. This building served the Stotler congregation for 92 years.

After exploring various possibilities of dealing with the problem of a deteriorating building, a decision was made to purchase property and relocate the church to its present site. The new church was dedicated on July 22, 1984.

Visitors and pastors for the 125th celebration will be Rev. Vernon Lindbloom, Ken Rudeen, Rev. Glen Heikes, Rev. Lloyd Johnson and Rev. Dan Carl.

There will be an informal time of remembering and singing followed by refreshments on Friday. A light supper and fellowship and a program of music on Saturday and a catered anniversary dinner following the Sunday morning service and a reunion service on Sunday afternoon. For reservations for the catered dinner, please call 785-528-3970. The public is welcome to attend all of the services, whether they are a member of the church or not.

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