The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Two celebrations and a funeral

When my home church closed, we celebrated a life well lived

Saying goodbye isn't easy. When your family has such long and deep connections to a congregation as ours did to North Prairie Lutheran near Lake Mills, Iowa, the farewell is sad.

At the July 18 closing service for North Prairie, I reflected on our family's history in that congregation, going back to my grandfather, S.O. Solomonson, in the 1800s. This beautiful, little, white-frame church atop a hill overlooking lush Iowa farmlands created the setting for our family's baptisms, confirmations, anniversaries and funerals. My family and I have served North Prairie in many capacities through the years.

Only three years ago in that church, we celebrated my father's life and grieved his death. Now the grounds surrounding it cradle his body and those of dozens of other relatives.

So the event designed to both celebrate 135 years of ministry and officially close its doors collapsed all those years to form the emotional roller coaster I found myself riding. The event also became a family reunion.

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