This is a love story. It is a true story starring real people who were moved by God's love commitment to a willingness to work for the Kingdom, to move in a spirit of evangelism, to let God's love shine through their lives onto the people who live and work in the Elk River-Big Lake-Monticello-Zimmerman area.
In 1974, members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Elk River, with Rev. Arnold Affeldt as their pastor, saw a potential and a need for a new congregation in this area. In July of that year, the MN North District of our synod agreed and they purchased six acres of land off County Road 15, halfway between Elk River and Big Lake. Pastor Walter Brill of Mandan, ND received the call from the MN North District to become a missionary-at-large and began work towards establishing this new congregation. In December, Pastor Brill, his wife Ruth, and children Andy and Amy moved into our area. Their youngest child, Sarah, was born during their time with us.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held July 9, and the first services were held in an area of open walls and partitions in the midst of the nails, studs and other building materials that the members themselves used to raise that first building with the commitment of their hearts and the labor of their hands. Twenty-two families ministered to one another and invited others to join their fellowship. This block building became a warm and welcoming church.
The time had come to share Christ through every means at their disposal. Fishers of Men was established. There were weekly services and Sunday School as well as Wednesday evening mid-week classes for Grades 3 through 8. In 1979 the first Vacation Bible School was held, using a tent for the overflow participants. The Herald, a monthly newsletter, was published.
Lord of Glory became a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod during the MN North District convention in St. Cloud in April of 1980. Our Sunday School grew larger, we organized a library, had an Easter breakfast, and a Ladies' banquet served by the men. By 1981 we had an active Altar Guild and a Prayer Chain. Suddenly our building was too small! But it was a leap of faith to even contemplate constructing a 5500 square foot sanctuary at a cost of $175,000. The design called for a permanent sanctuary seating 275-300 people and a large narthex/multi-purpose area. The original building would be used for education and fellowship. We considered our own rather meager resources at that point, and we were scared!
Then God stepped in! We were notified that we had received a grant of $85,000 from the synod's "Forward in Remembrance" offering. At the same time we were approved for an LCEF loan of $75,000, giving us $160,000 in immediate construction funds. On April 17, 1983, following the Sunday morning service, the congregation joined in a procession outside for the groundbreaking ceremony. Work began on the building in late April. It continued in heat, cloudy skies, in rain, high winds, and several electrical storms. To beat that summer's heat, much of the work was done in the early morning and late evening. Men, women, and children all gave of their time and skills to raise this large building. The only work done professionally was the lifting and fixing of the large ceiling beams in the sanctuary. Blisters were raised, backs were sore, thumbs were pounded, and work clothes decorated with sawdust, paint, and stain.
The first services were held in the new sanctuary during Holy Week and Easter, 1984.
It was time for Pastor Brill to move on and, in 1989, he accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Virginia, MN.
In October 1990 we installed our second pastor, Monte Meyer of Menno, SD, and welcomed him, his wife Joanne, and daughter Emily. Their son, Peter, was born during their time with us. During Pastor Meyer's years of service, we added a second Sunday morning service and a Wednesday evening service which expanded to a year-round opportunity to worship. The Glory Kids, children in Grades 3-8, began singing in 1994.
Once again we were bursting at the seams, and in 1993 we again began a building program, "Visions of Glory." Pledges were received for construction of a fellowship hall, kitchen, staff offices, and education rooms. In October the building of a 6,000 square foot $250,000 addition was completed.
Deaconess Kathie Oakes (now Ziebarth) was called in January 1995 to focus on Youth and Children's ministry. After her marriage and resignation, Lord of Glory hired a Director of Christian Education, Scott Brown.
In the years 1999-2008 we expanded our ministry by opening up Kids of the Kingdom Preschool with the philosophy that "through the guidance of God, we would provide an outreach ministry for declaring the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, strengthening children and their families, and supporting parents in providing the best possible environment for the healthy growth, development, and nurturing of their children." Our first preschool teacher was Deb Bertilson and later, Robin Kent.
Our third pastor, Mark Halvorson, accepted our call in 2000 after Pastor Meyer accepted a call to the campus ministry at Mankato State University. We welcomed Pastor Mark, his wife Ann, and children Sarah, David, Rachel, Laura, and Emilie. Pastor Halvorson focused on strengthening personal relationships with Christ by encouraging multiple small group Bible studies in homes and at church. Pastor Halvorson accepted a call to King of Kings Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, IA in the spring of 2008.
Our third youth worker, DCE Daniel Meyer, was hired and moved here with his wife Beth in August of 2005. Beth worked as a teacher at Zion Lutheran, Crown. Daniel worked hard to establish relationships and set the foundations which served the young people well as they began their lives as independent young adults. Service projects in the community and surrounding area, as well as servant events outside the state were an important part of his job. He and Beth became parents of a son Caleb during their time here. In 2010, Daniel accepted a call to Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, St. Louis, MO.
For almost 2 years, we were richly blessed with the presence of our interim pastor Dean Mahlum. Driving to work at Lord of Glory from his home an hour away in Waconia MN was sometimes his biggest challenge of the day, particularly during the Minnesota winter blizzards! He worked full-time plus, brought us together more as a congregation with God as its head and was a steadying force during the time of transition. It was a bitter-sweet experience to say good-bye to him as we welcomed our new pastor on June 6, 2010.
We sent out a call on February 28, 2010 to Pastor Martin Mably of Springfield IL. He and his family visited our church the very next Sunday, March 7 and he accepted the call on March 13th! Pastor Mably, his wife Anissa and daughters Enya and Erin are lovers of the outdoors, and Pastor loves fishing, reading and spending time with his family. He is a second-profession pastor, having obtained a B.A. Degree in Music Business in 1992 and following it up with an M.A. In Arts Administration. He was employed by Rochester Civic Music in Rochester, MN from 1994-1998 as the Marketing and Fund Development Coordinator. After working as Director of Youth and Family ministry at his church in Springfield, he entered the seminary in 2003 at Concordia St. Louis, receiving his M. Div. Degree in 2007. He was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and School in Springfield IL on July 8, 2007.
We at Lord of Glory are looking to the future with anticipation and eagerness! As the saying goes, we don’t know the future, but we know Who holds the future! God’s Will Be Done!