I had to know what kind of people put the word Bang in a church's name. So I called Julie Winger, administrator of Bang Lutheran Church, Portland, N.D.
Her answer: "Well, first of all it's Bang."
She pronounced it more like "bong," but with a Norwegian flair that I, being of mostly German and Swedish descent, couldn't muster. It turns out that most of the folks who first settled in Portland came from the same Lutheran church in Valders, Norway. They named their new faith community after the one they left behind, but the word Bang remains a mystery.
But Bang was established in 1881. Surely by 2002 some people must have commented on the odd name, maybe even started a campaign to change it? "Oh no," Winger said. "They like it, they wouldn't change it. It's heritage."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers