Scarville and Center Lutheran Churches

Center Lutheran Church 



Rev. T. A. Torgerson

1866 – The first services among the people who organized North Prairie were conducted by the Rev. T. A. Torgerson. North Prairie Lutheran Church1869 – North Prairie Lutheran Church organized.

1873 - 1913

Eight Pastors served the North Prairie congregation: Rev. J. M. Dahl, 1873-1881; Rev. H. J. Strand, 1881-1883; Rev. E. G. A. Christenson, 1883-1889; Rev. C. N. Petersen, 1889-1890; Rev. G. Smedal, 1890-1894; Rev. R. Malmin, 1894-1899; Rev. A. J. Lee, 1899-1913; and Rev. E. Hansen, 1913-1918.


Plat of the town of Scarville filed when a railroad was planned from Belle Plaine, IA, to Fox Lake, MN.


The Rev. T. A. Torgerson served Norwegian Lutheran churches throughout the region until his death in this year.


The Merger of three Norwegian church bodies, the United Church, the Norwegian Synod, and the Hauge’s Synod into the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.

Rev. Emil Hansen 1918

The North Prairie congregation split with the minority forming Center Church in early spring. Meeting at Lime Creek Lutheran Church to reorganize the Norwegian Synod. Plans were made to proceed with the building of a church on September 13 with the Rev. Emil Hansen as pastor. The official name of the congregation; namely, “The Center Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church,” was chosen on December 10.

Center Constitution 1919

August 17 services for the laying of the cornerstone. In December, the Constitution and Articles of Incorporation was adopted.


Rev. Justin A. Petersen 1925

The Rev. Emil Hansen took a call to Mayville, North Dakota. He was succeeded by the Rev. Justin A. Petersen who was installed on May 3.


The church basement was worked on, and tin was put on the ceiling and walls.


The church bell was purchased by the Young People's Society (also known as Lutheran Youth Society - LYS) and dedicated on September 20.


Church parlors completed.


The Sunday School was started on October 17. Joint arrangement for use of the cemetery worked out between the Center and North Prairie congregations.


The LYS bought a rug for the church.


In March, the Center congregation bought a half share of the parsonage and agreed to help maintain it. The LYS bought lights for the church.


The church was redecorated upstairs. A new oil furnace was purchased.


May – Pastor Petersen resigned due to ill health.


June – Pastor Petersen recalled and resumed his ministry.

Center 25th Anniversary 1944

June 25 – The twenty-fifth anniversary was held, with special festivities in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The parsonage was re-shingled.


The LYS bought an electric clock for the church.


Rev. Theodore A. Aaberg 1949

Pastor Petersen resigned on June 26. He was succeeded by the Rev. Theodore A. Aaberg the same summer.


The Center LYS began joint meetings with the Scarville LYS.


The congregation conducted summer school for the children. Full school days for a period of four weeks.


The parsonage was extensively remodeled.

After 100 Years 1953

The thirty-fifth anniversary was celebrated on October 25. After One Hundred Years published featuring the churches of the ELS.


The large windows of the church were removed, having become rather rotted due to age. They were replaced with smaller ones, together with new colored art glass. The walls were covered with sheetrock, and the entire interior redecorated. New carpet was laid in the chancel and sacristy, paid for by the Ladies Aid.


fall – The Scarville congregation reopened its Christian Day School, and a number of children from the Center congregation attended.


The old oil furnace was replaced by a newer and larger one.


New sash and aluminum storm windows were installed in the basement, and considerable rewiring was done.

Center 25th Anniversary 1968

The congregation, together with the Ladies Aid, undertook the extensive remodeling of the church basement. This included new wiring and lighting, a more efficient system of heat ducts, new ceiling, paneling of the walls, installation of carpeting, and the remodeling of the kitchen. The fiftieth anniversary was celebrated on July 21. Pastor Aaberg accepted the call to the Norseland-Norwegian Grove parish near St. Peter, Minnesota, in August. The Rev. Milton Otto served as interim pastor.


Rev. Paul Haugen 1970

The Rev. Paul Haugen was installed at the Center-Scarville parish.


The parsonage roof was re-shingled by Scarville member Bert Songstad.


Church dedicated in November after the remodeling of the narthex. Rules and Regulations adopted for Center Lutheran Cemetery.Rev.

Carl Wosje 1977

Pastor Haugen took a call to Belview, Minnesota. He was succeeded by the Rev. Carl Wosje who was installed on May 8. The northwest porch of the parsonage was made into a laundry room. Concrete was poured for the east porch.


An organ was donated to the church by the Olson family in memory of Mrs. Clifford Olson. A well was drilled and a new water system and restrooms were installed.

Center 60th Anniversary 1080

In April, a sound system was installed in memory of Mrs. Palmer Olson by Palmer and his son Clifford. A wooden cross was added to sanctuary. The sixtieth anniversary was celebrated. The cornerstone was removed and more items were added to it before it was replaced.


Pastor Wosje took a call to Port Orchard, Washington.


Two fans installed in the church donated in memory of Emil G. Petersen. Steel siding was put on the parsonage and other repairs accomplished.

Rev. John S. Dukleth

1983 – The Rev. John S. Dukleth was ordained and installed at the Center-Scarville parish.


Paint and carpet were added to the church sanctuary. A Minolta copier machine with metal stand was purchased by both Center and Scarville Churches.


An enclosed entry with carpet and window shades was added, as well as a cross to the outside of the church and a dehumidifier for the basement.

Rev. Daniel A. Basel

1989 – Steel siding installed on the church. Pastor Dukleth took a call to Luverne, Minnesota. He was succeeded by the Rev. Daniel A. Basel who was ordained and installed at the Center-Scarville parish.


A television, VCR, and TV cart were purchased for the church. New collection plates and individual communion set began to be used. Center-Scarville church directory published.



New yard light installed at the church.

Rev. Thomas L. Rank

1992 – Pastor Basel took a call to Deschler, Ohio. Church sign installed in front of church.

Center 75th Anniversary

The seventy-fifth anniversary of Center Lutheran Church was celebrated on August 8.


Ceiling fans installed in the basement.


New Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary books received, replacing the old Norwegian Lutheran Hymnary published in 1913. Four new windows installed in parsonage, flooring replaced, and cabinet added.


Two new altar cloths and linens purchased.


New furnace was purchased and installed in the church.


Tiling placed around foundation, sub pump added, and landscaping work done.

Center church sign

2002 – New basement windows and a new water softener were installed. Stainless steel coffee servers and a twelve piece outdoor manger scene were purchased. The church sign was updated. Center-Scarville church directory published.


spring – Center-Scarville Lutheran Church website posted on the Internet.