EARLY HISTORY OF THE LAKE CHELAN LUTHERAN CHURCH

By Helen Bolstad

We came west from Winona, Minnesota in 1944.  We stopped at Govan, Washington to help  my sister and brother-in-law harvest their wheat crop.  From there we came down to the Beebe orchard where we worked in the harvest.  We enjoyed what we saw: all the apple trees loaded with red apples.  My husband worked as a mechanic and I worked in the shed.  When our children grew old enough they all thinned and picked apples.

Our big disappointment upon arrival was there wasn't a Lutheran Church in Chelan.  In fact, very few people at the Beebe Orchard went to church.  When I saw and heard some of the mothers being very hateful to each other and using bad language, I felt sorry for their children.  When we went back to Minnesota for a visit I talked to our Pastor about the situation.  He suggested it would be good for me to start a Sunday School class at my home.  He gave me a package of Concordia Christian material, so when we got back to Beebe, I went to work.  Our children played with the other children and soon they were enjoying studying with us.  We had refreshments which I know they enjoyed!  One of their favorite songs was Jesus Loves Me.  They asked many questions and some were hard to answer but I did the best I knew how.  

One day I got a letter from my sister Hattie in Govan.  She said, "Sis, you've got a Lutheran Minister from Cashmere coming to Chelan!  It's Pastor Robert Oestreick.  He used to be our Pastor at Wilbur and is very good."  Our first Sunday School and Church Service was held in the Eagles Hall above the old Seattle Bank on Wooden Avenue.  Most of our services were held in the afternoon or evening.  We also enjoyed Pastor Theodore Schults who travelled from Waterville and Pastor Edward Kasten from Wenatchee.  We had a small attendance to begin with, but in time started to grow.  Services were held in the old Nazarene Church, the Parish Room of the Episcopal church, and also the Odd Fellows Hall.  

After the three pastors served us for some time, we were sent Vicars.  A Vicar is a student pastor sent out for a year's training.  Our first was David Fry.  The second was Bill Bash and their, Verlyn Kraxberger.  They served with us from 1948 till 1952.  They were young men and well liked by all.  After our Vicars came, our congregation started growing and before long we had more children attending our Sunday School.  

After our last Intern Pastor returned to school in 1952, we got our first pastor, Pastor Glenwood Rachuy.  He stayed about a year.  Pastor Robert Weinman followed in 1953 and the church was built while he was with us.  Our church was dedicated June 6, 1954.  In 1960, Keith Krebs became pastor.  Late the next year, plans were made for the parsonage and the groundbreaking took place in April, 1962.   

Pastor Ronald Tellefson came in 1964.  He was followed by Pastor Russell Hunter, and then in 1974, Pastor John Finstuen.  Now we have Pastor Ralph Moe and we love him.  

After our church was established, more folks joined, and our Sunday School grew to where we had a number of children.  At first the children were all taught in the church basement.  After the parsonage was built, Sunday School was held over there.  In addition to Sunday School, a group of women gathered for Ladies Missionary Meetings once a month.  The gals did a real good job of that.  

Many worked hard at getting this Lutheran Church going.  Carl Wolsborn was one that helped from the start.  He and many others worked at he building of the church and parsonage, for which we are all very thankful.  Earnest Johnson helped us find money with cheap interest rates for the land and buildings.  Our first Church Council members were Henry Harms, Lorena Riddle, Irene Kline, Carl Wolsborn, Ernest Johnson and Alvin Falkenberg.