Scarville and Center Lutheran Churches


Scarville Synod Lutheran Church


Lime Creek Altar

1860 – The congregation at Lime Creek organized.


October 24 – The Lime Creek Congregation was incorporated and recorded.


The Rev. T. A. Torgerson served the people who lived 6-7 miles southwest of Lime Creek in the area later known as Scarville, Iowa, until this year.


Beginning at this time, services for the group were held at more regular intervals after the Rev. A. M. Torgerson became assistant pastor to his father in 1894.


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

Immanuel Lutheran Church

1901 – Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church was built in Scarville.


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


May 31 – Articles of Incorporation adopted for Immanuel Church.


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

Rev. Emil Hansen

1918 – The Norwegian Synod was reorganized at Lime Creek. A minority of the Immanuel Lutheran Church congregation formed the Scarville church [see Secretary Minutes]. Scarville Evangelical Lutheran Church was formally organized on July 18 with the Rev. Emil Hansen as pastor. The Constitution and Articles of Incorporation adopted on December 30.


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 15. During the winter, the congregation purchased the C. L. Suby house (built in 1907) in Scarville to use for a parsonage.


fall – Congregation opened a Christian Day School. First teacher: Miss Laura Ingebritson.


July 1-2 – The congregation celebrated its tenth anniversary with the Rev. Emil Hansen preaching at the morning festival service.


It was decided to have an equal number of English and Norwegian services.


Christian Day School closed due to lack of children of school age. In May, Pastor Petersen resigned due to ill health.


June 20 – Pastor Petersen recalled and resumed his ministry.

Scarville 25th Anniversary

1944, March 30 – The twenty-fifth anniversary was held, with special festivities in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The parsonage was re-shingled.


The church was re-shingled.


October 10 – Special service held commemorating extensive remodeling of the church.

Rev. Theodore A. Aaberg

1949 – In the spring, an electric organ was purchased and dedicated by Prof. Alfred Fremder of Bethany Lutheran College. Pastor Petersen resigned on June 26. He was succeeded by the Rev. Theodore A. Aaberg the same summer. A bell, manufactured in Norway, was donated by T. S. Brustad and installed during the winter.



The Dorcas Society was formed. The Scarville LYS began joint meetings with the Center LYS.


The parsonage was extensively remodeled.

After 100 Years

1953 – The thirty-fifth anniversary was celebrated on October 18 with the Rev. Justin A. Petersen preaching the sermon. After One Hundred Years published featuring the churches of the ELS.


Church grounds landscaped.


A new front entrance was built. Water was brought to the church from a new well owned jointly with other residents in Scarville. Rest rooms were placed in the church basement in space formerly used for an entrance. A mother’s room was made upstairs.


In the fall the congregation reopened its Christian Day School. The cemetery was enlarged by the gift of additional land by the Dale estate.


New parking lot paved on the north side of the church.


An automatic fire alarm system was installed throughout the building in order to meet requirements of the State Fire Marshal’s office for the Day School. Parking curbs were installed.


A new hot water heating system was installed. The kitchen was extensively remodeled. The church basement was redecorated. Scarville stained-glass


New stained-glass windows were installed in the church. Church aisle was carpeted by the Ladies Aid. Sidewalks outside the church were installed by the Lutheran Youth Society (LYS) under direction of Bert A. Songstad.  Rev. Milton OttoThe fiftieth anniversary was celebrated on July 7. 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.