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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The way we were: 1947

Lutheran Air Mission

Norval G. Hegland, pastor of the Lutheran Air Parish, Lemmon, S.D., from 1947 to 1951, talks with Selmer Heen, pastor of American Lutheran Church in Lemmon from 1945 to 1948, near the parish's airplane in 1947.

The air parish was created in July 1947 as a experiment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Board of Home Missions. It served remote areas near Lemmon-originally five congregations in Firesteel, Isabel, Rosebud, Slim Buttes and Morristown. A congregation in Newell was added in 1948. Later the parish expanded to nine congregations spread over 4,000 square miles, including Trail Creek, Stoneville and Miner, N.D.

In addition to traveling between the parishes by air, the resident pastor lived in a trailer to provide permanence at various locations in the territory. After Hegland resigned in 1951 to accept a call as superintendent of missions in Alaska, the 11 congregations were divided into three parishes.


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