Church in the Grove, 1025 Highway 29 South East, Benson, Minnesota

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Church in the Grove

Franklin Lake Covenant Church
Church in the Grove
Address: 1025 Highway 29 Highway SE
Benson, Minnesota
Swift County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1887
Moved from Location: Murdock Minnesota
Historic Function: Religious/Place of worship
Current Function: Religious/Place of worship
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Wood

Benson Swift County

In the early 1870's a group of Swedish pioneers settled in this community. They came from various states and from southern Minnesota. The following were some of the pioneers to settle here, Carl Young, Carl Johnson, August Johnson, Andrew Johnson, Axel Anderson, John Mellgren, John Post, L.P. Larson, Edwin Danielson, Jonas Anderson, August Hoaknson and Beckman families.

The Frank Lake congregation had its origin in 1877 when C.M. Youngquist visited this community. Church services were held in various homes and the school house.

On January 12, 1884, a committee met to work out a constitution for the purpose of organizing a church congregation. The group became the "Swedish Evangelical Mission Church of Frank Lake, Murdock, Minnesota."

On September 4, 1887, it was decided to build a church in Kerkhoven Township, Swift County.

The Frank Lake church has been noted throughout the years for its contributions in music. The Reverend Nils Frykman, who served the church as pastor from 1890 to 1905 wrote in his autobiography, that many of his hymns were written as he traveled from parish to parish with his horse and buggy. He purchased the church's first organ.

In June 1900, lightening struck the church and it was destroyed by fire. The only item saved was the church organ which was taken out through a window by Ernest Johnson. The church was rebuilt in the Fall.

In 1910 during the ministry of Reverend Theodore Steinert, the congregation purchased four acres from John Wass. A parsonage was built there in the summer of 1911. This continued to serve as the home of the pastors for many years until it was sold in 1976.[1]

The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the early pioneers commemorated the early songs of the church with the recording of "Midsommars Fest" in 1965 under the direction of Esther Forsell Johnson. She remembers: "The idea of recreating a Midsommar Festival came when I heard the song "Sjung Den igen" (Sing it Again) sung by a non-Swedish television star. I thought the youth of our community could also learn the songs. Thus, the Frank Lake Swedish chorus was born.

Dusty old hymnals were found in the attic and songs were chosen. The young people loved the lilt and rhythm of the music and the difficult mastery of the vowels and consonants of a foreign language. The words were written phonetically and taught by rote. The meaning of each line was carefully learned."[1]

Memories of the Frank Lake area pioneer days have been preserved by Mrs. Marnie Falk with her paintings, Dr. Vernie Swenson with her book, "Small Kettles" (a private printing because names were unchanged).[1]

The 100th anniversary of the church was celebrated on August 5, 1984. In 1985 the church was closed because there were no longer enough members of the congregation. Dennis and Marie Johnson who were members of the Hillcrest Cemetery Association, placed an ad on Craigslist in 2012 listing the church for sale for $1. Kathy Weckwerth purchased and moved the church to the family farm in Benson Minnesota. The church was moved by Thein movers on August 14, 2012. It was renovated and renamed The Church in the Grove and is home to Kathy's Best Life Ministries.


Memories and stories

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Moving the Church

Church for Sale

A New Life

Best Life Ministries

Church in the Grove

Nils Frykman

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