Minnesota County Histories
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Zions Congregation of Bandon
The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
Chapter XL
p. 1263-1264

In the early days of the "homesteaders" several Scandinavian settlers took homesteads and settled in Bandon township and vicinity, where they built homes and tilled the soil in order to provide for themselves and their families, but they were not satisfled with home alone. They felt the need of forming a congregation with the view of building a church in order that the Lutheran religion might be preached to them and their children.

And so on March 25, 1886, they held a meeting in schoolhouse No. 66, known as the Nestande schoolhouse, and organized Zions Evangelical Lutheran congregation. Among the first members of the congregation were: Hans Gumpolen, Tollef Pederson, Peder Sather, John Nestande, Rasolf Olson, J. M. Lunde, Ole Lee and others.

During the early days of the congregation services, which were dutifully attended, were held at the homes of members and largely at schoolhouse No. 66. Soon, however, the members felt that they must have a church wherein to worship, so a subscription was taken up to raise money for the purpose and as this succeeded well the church was built in the summer of 1891, during the pastorate of O. A. Ostby, by Contractor Engen, on lots donated by John Nestande and situated on the west side of the road opposite the Nestande farmstead. The church and adjoining graveyard were dedicated in 1901 at the time of Rev.E. H. Midthös' pastorate.

In 1886 the congregation decided to call as pastor Rev. M. G. Hanson, of the Hauges Synod, now president of same. He accepted the call tendered him and served as pastor until 1887, when he resigned. Then O. A. Ostby was called as pastor and at his resignation in 1892, C. O. Rosing, who remained until 1896, became pastor. In 1896 and 1897 J. S. Sneve served as pastor and from 1897 to 1898 O. C. Farseth, E. H. Midthö, during whose pastorate the congregation joined the "United Church," served as minister from 1898 until 1902, when Rev. Thomas Hanson, the present pastor, was called as minister.

According to records Emilie Gumpolen was the first child baptized in Zions congregation, and Oline Pederson the first child to be baptized in the church after its completion. Knut Gunderson and Asborg Vasjö are on record as the first couple married in the church. Mrs. Gurine C. P. Sather was one of the first to be buried from the church and laid to rest in Zions cemetery.

Many have been baptized, confirmed, and married in Zions church. The work of Zions congregation has not been in vain, and the younger generation owe much to the pioneer members who founded the congregation largely perhaps for their benefit. The congregation now has a Ladies' Aid which has given hundreds and thousands of dollars to missions and poor people and the church. It is still working faithfully for the same purpose as formerly, that of raising money and exercising influence to do good.

The membership is about 105 and has thus increased considerably since 1886, when the congregation was formed. Many of the pioneer members of the congregation are dead and buried in Zions cemetery, but many of them are still zealously working for the good of Zions congregation, for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls.

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