On October 14, 2018, Parkland Evangelical Lutheran Church and School began their year-long celebration of 125 years of God’s grace. The church was officially organized late in 1893 and the school began its ﬁrst official year in October 1894.
The celebrations began at the 10 AM communion service with the rededication of the church building after a major refurbishment project in preparation for the 125th anniversary. Later in the service, nine new stained glass windows were also dedicated. Pastor Obenberger preached, while Pastor Gullixson was the celebrant.
The anniversary festival service began at 4 PM. This service pulled features from the four hymnbooks that the congregation has used over the course of the 125 years. Rev. Theodore Gullixson (son of a former pastor) opened the service with the Opening Prayer of Rite 1 in Norwegian. Rev. Peter Faugstad (former pastor) preached, Rev. Steven Sparley and Rev. Glenn Obenberger served as lectors, and Rev. Samuel Gullixson was the officiant.
After the service and group photo in the newly refurbished church sanctuary, the meal was served to 280+ guests with a special anniversary meal prayer spoken by Rev. Frederick Theiste (son of former pastor). Rev. Alexander Ring (former pastor) gave the keynote speech of the evening program. In addition to John Harstad (grandson of former pastor) and Noel Handberg (son of former pastor), several longtime members and recently-welcomed members gave shorter remembrances and encouragements. Greetings were read and shared from various individuals.
Memorabilia was also available for purchase. One such item was a cross made from the wood of the window diffusers that had hung in the church for 48 years, but were recently removed to allow for the installation of the stained glass windows.
The evening closed with a devotion by Pastor Samuel Gullixson. The concluding remarks were as follows:
This anniversary celebration is a celebration of what God has done and is still doing for His people. It is to rejoice in the Father’s work of creation and preservation, and electing His people from eternity; the Son’s work of redeeming the world and His interceding for us still today; and the Holy Spirit’s work of calling us by the Gospel, gathering us together around Word & Sacrament, enlightening us with His gifts, sanctifying us and keeping us in the one true faith.
As we ourselves have been the beneficiaries of His work in previous ages and generations who have commended God’s work to us, so may we, by God’s grace, commend His works to the next ages and generations for another long time.
Rev. Samuel Gullixson
Parkland Lutheran Church & School