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By KEITH ANDERSON
Psalm 145 is a Praise Psalm that begins with these words: “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
I’ve been thinking about generations lately as I contemplate the faith and commitment of some early Norwegian immigrants who, upon settling in Ketchikan in the early 1920’s, came together to sing, pray and worship God. These people came from the Old Country and didn’t speak much English. Life was hard, but fishing and logging was what they knew, and what they did well. According to the records, a gathering of Lutherans decided to establish a church which they called First Lutheran Church. The year was 1925.
History tells us that the 1920’s were roaring times across America. Life was good. People were flocking to the United States from across the globe, all in search of a better life. But the good life came to a screeching halt in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed and panic gripped the country.
It was under these circumstances in1930 that the early Norwegians gathered in faith to envision a church building to serve the community. It was no small feat as it was no small building. The first pastor called was both an ordained pastor and an accomplished carpenter. Money was tight during the Great Depression. The women apparently cleaned houses around town collecting funds for materials while the men did the construction. It didn’t take long before the building was complete and worship was held every Sunday thereafter.
Next year, First Lutheran Church will celebrate its 95th anniversary. That’s 5 generations according to some calculations. Imagine all the hymns sung, prayers prayed, sermons preached, babies and adults baptized, Sunday School classes taught and learned, weddings, funerals and more. It's clear that First Lutheran Church has made a huge footprint in the history of Ketchikan. What a commitment of faith and dedication! Truly an example of one generation lauding the works of God to another.
May God bless each of our churches as we worship the Lord and share the faith from one generation to the next.
The Rev. Keith Anderson is pastor of First Lutheran Church.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.