Celebrate 85 years of history!
In the beginning...
Thanks to the efforts of founding members Niels Petersen and Niels Gran; Pastor M. Christensen from Calgary officiated at our first service in the fall of 1923 held at the Norwegian Lutheran Church. An agreement was reached for him to return once a month to Edmonton for a service.
Over the next year, services were moved to the German Church located at the corner of 108A Avenue and 96 Street, the famous Street of Churches. The Church was rented it for $75.00 a year! Later that year the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (later renamed the Synod of America) decided to dispatch a minister to Edmonton. In September 1924, Pastor A.P. Hansen arrived in Edmonton. Services were now every other week and Pastor Hansen hosted meetings with the young people at his home.
In January 1927 when Pastor Hansen moved away, no one wanted to slow the momentum and Pastor J. Knudsen soon arrived from Calgary to continue monthly services in Edmonton. A decidedly huge success, Pastor Hansen suggest that it was time for Edmonton to be its' own constitution and call for a minister.
The Danish Church Abroad/ Dansk Kirke i Udlandet soon found a match and on May 24th, 1928 Pastor Max Mathiesen arrived from Haderslev, Jylland in Northern Denmark. Pastor Mathiesen quickly went to work building a new altar and tried to make the Church interior resemble a Danish Church as closely as possible.
Soon Thursdays became "Danish Night", which was well attended; full of fellowship and song. This time also marked the first appearance of a choir at Ansgar.
After a couple of years of traveling to neighbouring communities including Lloydminister, Dickson and Ponoka, Pastor Mathiesen was the minister when Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church was officially founded on January 30th, 1930. During the first meeting the Church constitution was formed and voted on; and the first Board of Directors was fromed. The board would include ten members: a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, two deacons, three members-at-large and the Pastor.
The first board meeting was held on March 26th, 1930. Out of this meeting came the notable motion to dedicate the first Sunday in February each year as a commemorative service to the founding of our Church.
More to come on the history of Ansgar...
(Source 60 Years Old A Story of the Danes and the Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church; published 1990)