Dear friends in Christ,
Throughout the year I’ve been sharing stories about Trinity’s history as I’ve been finding them. Lately I’ve become very interested in Trinity’s second pastor, Pastor John Krueger. Pastor Krueger’s time of service in this region is fascinating.
Pastor Krueger was initially sent to serve in Great Bend, North Dakota (first called Town Berlin), where he was ordained in November of 1976. In the spring of 1877, Trinity’s first pastor, Pastor Winkler, departed to serve elsewhere and Trinity, along with St. John’s at Elizabeth and Immanuel of Friberg called Pastor Krueger to serve them. He agreed as long as he was allowed to also continue to serve at Great Bend. He moved to Elizabeth while he served now four congregations.
Particularly during Pastor Kruger’s time of service, the parish became a great blessing to the church at large. Pastor Krueger became involved in establishing a large number of preaching stations and congregations.
Pastor Krueger would see all manner of people traveling to the northwest part of the state as he traveled between Elizabeth and Fergus Falls, and it led him to approach his congregations with the thought that they ought to deliver the means of grace to brethren in the faith who were coming to the region. The members of these congregations had recently been in the same position, and out of love for the Lord and conviction of the mission of His church they granted Pastor Krueger permission to travel about.
The names of many places have changed a bit in the last 140 years, and so I’ve been on a hunt to try to figure out exactly which places Pastor Krueger traveled to bring the means of grace to weary settlers. Here’s a list of some of the places he went: Pelican Rapids, Detroit Lakes, Sabin, Moorhead, Fargo, Ada, Crookston, Fisher, Hawley, Barnesville, Manston, Goose River, Hillsboro, Loon Lake, Western Township, Campbell, even as far as up near Winnipeg.
In some cases, these efforts resulted in congregations that are still around today. While I suspect there are quite a few more, Trinity in Sabin, Grace in Fargo, and St. John’s in Green Meadow all can trace connection to Pastor Krueger’s missionary work.
By the early 1880s, more pastors were being sent to this region to serve these parishes that Pastor Krueger had helped to organize. In 1881, Great Bend received a new pastor, but Pastor Krueger was still serving Western Township, Campbell, and Manston. So, for a time, this man may have been pastor of six churches! I wonder when he slept?
In the course of reading about Pastor Krueger I learned about the congregation at Western Township, called Emmanuel. Western Township is located south and west of Fergus Falls. There is still a cemetery there today just west of highway 15, though the congregation is long closed. I believe Manston was located between Barnesville and Breckenridge west of Rothsay, but I cannot find any indication of a congregation having been located there. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church remains located in Campbell (served by Pastor Palach). Trinity in Great Bend is still active today. And this year, Immanuel Friberg, St. John’s Elizabeth, and we at Trinity are all celebrating our 150th Anniversary.
Pastor Krueger accepted a call in 1884 that took him from this region to Michigan. What a blessing that this tireless worker was to the church! I have to imagine Pastor Krueger would be overwhelmed to see the long-lasting effects of his labor for the Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!
Peace in Christ,