I grew up in a small country church in rural Crooks, SD. This is the church in which my parents were married (by Gramps), my grandpa was a pastor, I was baptized (by Gramps), I had my first communion, I was confirmed, and I got married (with my Gramps officiating). I know everyone has sentimental feelings towards their childhood churches, but my feelings towards West Nidaros Lutheran Church run very deep. The gold and white color scheme of the interior are traditional for Norwegian churches.
The Nid River (or River Nid or Nidelva) is a river in Norway. When the Norwegian settlers decided to homestead near Sioux Falls, they decided to settle along the Big Sioux River. This river reminded them of home. West Nidaros is the church on the west side of the Big Sioux and East Nidaros is on the east side. When I was little I did not realize there were other types of churches in the world. I thought all churches served lefse and egg coffee after church services. I thought every pastor made Norwegian jokes during their sermons. Obviously I was wrong, but I am pretty sure there are not enough of these churches in the world.
When I moved away from home, I had to join a new church. I was always active at West Nidaros, and I was nervous about becoming acquainted with a new congregation. Without much thought I joined the church that my husband attended while he was growing up. It is a large Lutheran church in our small town. The building is big, but the congregation is small. For some reason that I could not put my finger on, I did not feel like this was the perfect fit for me.
My grandpa, the one who is a Lutheran minister, is also an avid hunter. In his younger years he traveled up this way to hunt with his friends. He had one friend in particular who he truly admired: Vernon. He and Vernon would attend church together at Norway Lutheran church. This church looks like a scaled down version of West Nidaros, except Norway is built in the middle of a cemetery about twenty miles away from the nearest town. Gramps bugged me for several months to attend Norway and visit some of his friends from years past. One day, I finally decided to try it out, and I was so pleasantly surprised I almost could not believe it. I felt like I was at home!
Two years later, I am still not a member of Norway, but I attend there almost every Sunday. Our pastor recently had shoulder surgery, so today we had one of our congregants perform the service and deliver the message. Her sermon was beautiful. She spoke of the same “at home” feeling I had when I first stepped inside the door of that little, country church. God works in such awesome ways! As I walked out of the church today, the sun was peeking out and melting some of the first snow. At that moment I knew this is where I was supposed to be.
From The Displaced City Girl: Have a blessed week!