Our Prairie Pastor --- Bishop Mark Narum --- led the service today that solidified the merger of AUGUSTANA Lutheran Church and CHRIST Lutheran Church.
Both churches were devastated in the 2011 Mouse River flood.
Jennifer Thorgramson walked with them today as the two congregations became one.
(Music: "As I went down to the river to pray...")
The river took their place to pray.
Augustana Lutheran and Christ Lutheran have shared a mission all along, but it was the flood that tied them together.
Augustana voted to close last fall.
(Carter Matson, Augustana Council President) "And then we had to choose who to merge with. We chose Christ Lutheran somewhat because of the fact that they were going through exactly what we did."
So this Sunday marked the final mass for Augustana Lutheran Church.
Bishop Mark Narum delivered the final blessing:
(Bishop Mark Narum, ELCA Western North Dakota Synod) "I declare this congregation to be closed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
...and led the congregation to a new place of worship --- with the Cross, the Bible, and the Christ Candle light.
(Carter Matson, Augustana Council President) "Walking them from our church over to Christ Lutheran gives some continuity and symbolism to what it means for the congregations to merge."
(Carter Matson, Augustana Council President) "It isn't the way that it has to be. But it's taken us two years to come to this point. Initially when the flood happened, we had no other thought than getting back into the church."
Christ Lutheran plans to build a new fellowship hall to make room for the growing membership.
Matson says the plan is to incorporate the stained glass of Augustana into that new addition.
(Carter Matson, Augustana Council President) "You wonder if the decision you make is the right one, but know that there's a Higher Power who watches over us and guides us unbeknownst to us at times that confirms that what we do is probably the right move and I believe that it is."
In Minot, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.
And Derek, it was a beautiful day for a walk, also a nice day to be out at the races.