West Holden Ladies Aid
The first "Ladies Aid" at West Holden was part of the Mt. Morris Holden Aid. The women at Mt. Morris organized on November 16, 1886. In Norwegian ir was called "Holden Kvindeforening". The Ladies Aid met one day each month. Transportation was by horse and buggy, and the day at Ladies Aid was usually the only day of the house many women had, so their monthly meeting was an all day event.
In 1906, the women at West Holden established their own Ladies Aid. Their first regular meeting was held at Mrs. Soren Sorenson's house. Mrs. Dena (Elof) Olson was elected the first President. The women would take turns hosting the event and serve a large noon lunch. After some years, it was decided to make the lunch a potluck. The hostess would make the coffee and have a little extra food on hand in case there was a shortage. The other women would bring a salad or hot dish or some sort of dessert.
The meeting would consist of a devotion led by the Pastor, some singing by the members and sometimes a short program of readings or instrumental music. The would close with the Lord's Prayer and sing the Doxology. The women made quilts and aprons and shirts for the needy families and for missions.
According to the Ladies Aid history, in the 1930's and 40's money was sent to the Indian Mission and Old People's Homes in Wittenberg, the Lutheran Welfare Society in Milwaukee, the Girls Home of Minneapolis, Seamen's and Jewish Missions, for remembrance at Christmas or Easter for the aged, fruit or money for the convalescing, local church budget at times, and other necessities as they deemed fit.
The women in Wild Rose met in 1934 and decided to make a Lutheran Ladies Aid in town so they would not have to travel so far to attend the Aid meetings. The women belonged to West Holden, Mt. Morris and some German Lutheran churches. The women socialized, studied, and worked together to earn money. At the end of each year, the proceeds from any fund raisers were divided among the members to go to their respective churches.
While the Wild Rose Circle was together, there was a separate circle of the Ladies Aid meeting in the West Holden neighborhood at the same time. In 1960, the Wild Rose circle took the name of the Joy Lewis Circle in honor of Joy Lewis, the missionary they were supporting at Pastor Halvorson's encouragement. They now are called simply the Joy Circle. The West Holden area circle is now called the Grace Circle.
The Women have always been a critical part of the congregation's progress. When a missionary needed support, the women gathered together to raise the funds. If there was a large church project of some sort, the women strongly supported it, and in some cases, took responsibility for the whole thing. They have supported the students attending Confirmation Camp for many years. They have made quilts and soap and boxes of clothing and school kits and layette kits to send overseas. Each October we celebrate with a "Blanket Sunday" and drape the altar rail and backs of the pews with quilts made the previous year. Even for the Centennial celebration the women raised the $5000 in that fund for the whole congregation's enjoyment.
Mt. Morris Ladies Aid
The Mt. Morris Holden Lutheran Church Women began in the year of 1886. The first meeting was held at the parsonage of Pastor and Mrs. A.L. Dahl. There were 15 ladies present. It was decided to meet once a month and charge dues of 5 cents a week to be used for church purchases. Dues were later changed to 10 cents a month.
Because of the distance to be traveled by horse and buggy, a decision was made to divide into two districts. They were called the North and South Ladies Aid. Later, both districts were again divided, as the membership grew, and an East and a West Aid were added .
In the beginning, there were no rules as to what should be served for lunch at the monthly meetings. Probably the Aid members tried to outdo each other. In 1912, the pastor's wife Mrs.Bakken, proposed a lunch of sandwiches, cake, hot dish, pickles and coffee. Anyone exceeding that menu had to pay a fine.
However, lunch wasn't the only purpose of Aid meetings. There are records kept by the South Aid from the years 1923 to 1928 that tells the pastor ,or his wife, usually led the program with Bible readings and prayer. Hymns were sung, and sometimes, musical numbers or readings were given by some of the ladies. After program, some sewing or quilting projects to be sold operating expenses was carried on until lunchtime.
In August of 1926, the women voted to join the Women' Missionary Federation. At that meeting, there were 11 regular members attending and 64 visitors. The collection was 4.15. Ice cream socials and oyster or Norwegian suppers were held yearly.
In 1932, the 4 Aids combined again to leave only a North and a South Aid.
IN 1898, new windows and pews were installed. The ladies Aid donated $555.66 towards that project. A beautiful pipe organ was also purchased that year.
In 1909, a new altar was purchased and paid for by the Ladies Aid. The Dorcas Society donated the altar painting. The pulpit was a gift from Mrs.Breta Thorstad.
In 1915, a basement. North and South wings, and a beautiful new stain glass windows were added.
In 1940, we helped to enlarge the basement by excavating the part of out church under the chancel, making a new kitchen and restrooms. The men did the digging with horses and scoops. Two electric ranges replaced the old gas burners, used fot the preparing oyster and luetfisk suppers, and a refrigerator was added.
At a meeting at Olga Graichen's home in 1946, we voted to help start a Sunday School instead of the Friday Parachial School Previously taught by the pastor or a Catechist. Mrs.J.B Johnson was chosen as the first superintendent. Members continue today to guide and train up the children in the way that they should go, so that when that they are old they will not depart from it.
Prayer meetings were begun once a month when Pastor Halvorson was here for anyone who needed or requested them. We now have telephone "Prayer Chains".
In 1967, are congregation began studying, " The Bethel Series", which was lead by Pastor Ries. He taught leaders, who then taught congregational classes.
Pastor Carm started a prayer group that we call Pray-ers. We continue this to the present, meeting once a month to bring the needs of the congregation, nation and world the One who answers Prayers.
HOLDEN LUTHERAN PARISH