History of Saude, Jerico, & Redeemer

In the early 1850s, a small group of Norwegian immigrant families from the area of Sauderad in Telemark, Norway, settled in the northern part of Chickasaw County, Iowa. Pastor C. L. Clausen was the first pastor to visit these families in June of 1854, but a congregation was not established there until the arrival of Pastor Ulrik Vilhelm Koren. Koren provided pastoral care at nineteen settlements in southern Minnesota and northeast Iowa. His busy schedule allowed him to visit each settlement about four to six times a year.

As more immigrants came to the area, the pioneer settlers in 1857 decided to form a congregation. It was originally called the Dale Norwegian Congregation, was later renamed the Little Turkey Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, and finally took its current name: Saude Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Soon more immigrants from the Jostedal Valley in Norway settled in the county. Pastor Koren began visiting them in 1864 and helped them organize a congregation in 1867. The congregation was first called the Crowe Creek congregation and was then renamed the Crane Creek Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Pastor Koren served these congregations until 1869, when four area congregations including Saude and Crane Creek called their own pastor. These congregations were member churches of the Norwegian Synod which was established in 1853.

In the 1880s, a controversy erupted in the Norwegian Synod on the doctrine of election. The question was whether sinful man could in any way contribute toward his own salvation. This controversy created such turmoil, that minority groups from the Saude and Crane Creek congregations left the Norwegian Synod and joined the “Anti-Missourian Brotherhood,” later called the United Lutheran Church (now the ELCA). The majority at Saude retained the church building, while the majority at Crane Creek sold the church building to the minority and built a new church in the nearby town of Jerico. This group eventually took the name: Jerico Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In the early years of the 1900s, the election controversy started up again when the major Norwegian Lutheran bodies in America began to discuss a merger. The Saude and Jerico congregations believed that such a union would compromise the Bible’s teaching and did not go along with the merger. In 1923, they officially joined the reorganized Norwegian Synod, now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS). Pastor H. M. Tjernagel started serving the parish at this time. In 1926, he began to publish a church newsletter called “The Assistant Pastor,” which was widely circulated in the area.

Pastor Tjernagel was also dedicated to the Christian education of the youth. After his wife died in childbirth, he built a log cabin in her memory and determined that the new building would work well for a school. He named it the “Strandebarm” after his wife’s childhood home in Norway. A school operated there from 1928-1936, and the building still stands. When his son Neelak succeeded him as pastor, the younger Tjernagel helped the Saude congregation open a school in 1943 which operated until 1979. Recognizing the need for its own school, the Jerico congregation operated one from 1947 to 1982.

Besides opening their own schools in the 1940s, the Jerico and Saude congregations also embarked on a mission effort to establish another congregation in the town of New Hampton. A group consisting of mainly Jerico members began meeting in town for services in 1940. This group adopted a constitution in 1941 and officially formed Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1953, the congregation purchased a church building and moved it to its present location on W. Court Street.

The Redeemer congregation shared a pastor with Trinity Lutheran Church in Calmar from 1966-2018 before forming a three-point parish with the Saude and Jerico congregations. The three congregations remain committed to the historic Christian faith drawn from the Holy Scriptures.

It has been many years since Pastor Koren carried out his mission work among the Norwegian settlers, but his work to spread the Gospel of salvation in this area is still bearing fruit by the grace of God.


Christian Education

The Christian education of children has always been a strong emphasis in our congregations. In 1889, the ambitious goal of 151 days of instruction was set for the year. The most concentrated time of instruction was Norwegian School, which ran the entire month of June. This ended with a special meal and program in the church. In the early part of the twentieth century, plans were made to emphasize Christian education even more.

Strandebarm School

In memory of his wife Anna who died in childbirth, the Rev. H. M. Tjernagel built a log cabin. He named it the “Strandebarm” after Anna’s childhood home in Norway. After its completion, the Rev. Tjernagel made this announcement:

“It is five years since their mother left them. The cabin is a memorial to her and a play house for her little girls. It is their father’s ambition that they may follow after her in the paths of righteousness, and by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, be reunited with her at the right hand of God. A Christian day-school is therefore conducted for her girls, and others who wish to come, in the memorial cabin.”

The school operated from 1928-1936. It still stands next to the parsonage.

Strandebarm Lutheran School Teachers:

1928-29 — Olivia Tjernagel
1929-30 — Jeanette Jordahl
1930-31 — Morris Dale, Nora Leverson
1931-32 — C.O. Kirkpatrick
1933-34 — Bjarne Teigen
1934-35 — Torald Teigen
1935-36 — Wilbur Dorn, Reinhold Dorhmann

Saude Lutheran School

When the Rev. N. S. Tjernagel succeeded his father as pastor, he brought the idea of a school before the Saude & Jerico congregations. A school was opened in 1943 in a rented public school building. The following year, a different building was purchased and moved to a plot on the south end of the town of Saude. The Saude congregation officially took over control of the school in 1947, and it remained in operation until 1979. At that time the schools were consolidated, and all students attended at Jerico. The Saude school building was sold in 1983 and removed from the property.

Saude Lutheran School Teachers:

1943-44 — R. L. Wiechmann
1944-45 — Armin Keibel
1945-46 — LaVine Hagen
1946-47 — Theodore Aaberg
1947-51 — Orla Anderson (Petersen)
1952-55 — Paul Madson
1955-57 — Keith Olmanson
1957-58 — Ernest Geistfeld
1958-60 — Earl Brassow
1960-61 — JoAnn Storlie (Lillo)
1961-62 — Irwin Levorson
1962-63 — Margaret Myrum
1963-65 — Ruth Roberson
1965-66 — Donald Johnson
1966-69 — Norma Bell (Miller)
1969-70 — Linda Thesenvitz (Marozick)
1970-72 — Kathleen Skaaland (Keats)
1972-74 — Lael Bahn
1974-75 — Alona Steffen (Knutson)
1975-77 — Sarah Aaberg
1977-79 — Marie Aaberg

Jerico Lutheran School

Children from both congregations attended the Saude school after it opened in 1943. But by 1947, the Jerico congregation recognized the need to have a school of its own. A building was moved over from Elma to its present location west of the Jerico church. In the spring of 1968, the Jerico and Saude schools began to operate jointly with grades 1-4 at Jerico and grades 5-8 at Saude. The two schools were combined at Jerico in 1979, and the school continued to operate until 1982.

Jerico Lutheran School Teachers:

1947-48 — Theodore Aaberg
1948-51 — Joan Gilbo (Krueger)
1951-52 — Esther Petersen (Faugstad)
1952-53 — Corrine Hoefker (Schoer)
1953-55 — LaVonne Bodirius (Grauer)
1955-57 — Irma Speerschneider
1957-58 — Marshall Handberg
1958-60 — Stanley Holt
1960-61 — Ione Lillegard
1961-62 — Alice Knutson
1962-63 — Kenneth Fossen
1963-65 — Diane Natvig (Skaaland)
1965-67 — Pamela Scheidel (Davis)
1967-70 — Judy Tostenson (Teigen)
1970-72 — Camilla Dashcund
1972-74 — Alona Steffen (Knutson)
1974-75 — Carol Weber (Kraepel)
1975-77 — LaRue Jans (Heyn)
1977-78 — Sarah Aaberg (Mehlberg)
1978-79 — Karen McCreary (Huffman)
1979-81 — Carol Graham
1981-82 — Alona Knutson

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