Valley Grove History: 1957-1973

Written by Kay Hope
April 8, 1976 for the Nerstrand Bicentennial

Pastor T. H. Rossing served through 1957, and it was then decided that each of the congregations, Valley Grove and Grace Lutheran Churches hire their own pastors. After the resignation of Pastor Rossing in November 1957, Reverend 0. M. Hanson of Northfield was hired and served faithfully until August of 1961, when the Reverend David Lovaas, a retired missionary pastor accepted the call at Valley Grove for the period of one year, September 1961 to September 1962. Pastor Carlyle Holte was called for pastoral duties and began September 23, 1962 and was forced to resign his ministerial duties in July of 1964 because of major eye surgery. Reverend Omar Otterness agreed to serve as in- terim pastor from August 1964 to March 1967. Both Reverend Holte and Reverend Otterness are professors at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. Reverend Wallace Hustad of the Twin Cities was called to serve from April 1967 through June, 1969. Once again Valley Grove had to find a new pastor to serve the country church of rural Nerstrand. The Reverend Jacob Enderson of Northfield, served us faithfully and graciously from 1969 until the final days of the Valley G,’Tove congregation was called to a close in April 1973.

An important meeting held on April 17, 1972, at the Valley Grove Church decided the final question as to what should become of the lovely church on the hill, that had served many people through the long years of history. The few remaining members of the congregation voted to transfer the new church and grounds to the Society for the Preservation of the Valley Grove Church and to transfer the old church, or guild hall as it was known, and adjoining grounds to the Valley Grove-Grace Cemetery Association.

The Society was formed solely for the purpose of preserving and maintaining the new church as it now stands. The Society for the Preservation of Valley Grove Church is a non-profit organization formed by interested persons in the Valley Grove community and surrounding area, and welcomes equally interested persons to the organization for the up-keep and well-being of the church. All functions held at the church are done in accordance with the church records and constitution, and to be used in the same way as the congregation used the church in decades past. The Corporation was filed according to the laws of the State of Minnesota in June 1973. Also in the year 1973, both churches in the country were nominated to the National Registry of Historical Sites and Places, because of the landscape design in proportion to the buildings, architectural design, and because the churches stand today as they were built before the turn of the century. The Churches will not receive any monies or grants for restoration purposes until both parties agree to preserving the churches for future use and generations to come. The old stone church is now owned by the Valley Grove-Grace Cemetery Association.

Linda Wagenbach, Secretary
10400 Jekins Trail, Nerstrad, MN 55053