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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • St. Paul Luthern Church preparing for 100 year anniversary with interior renovations

  • Members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Montevideo who were on vacation may return to a surprise this Sunday. As part of a series of projects to prepare the church for their 100 year anniversary in two years, the interior is being renovated with all new paint.
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  • Members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Montevideo who were on vacation may return to a surprise this Sunday. As part of a series of projects to prepare the church for their 100 year anniversary in two years, the interior is being renovated with all new paint.
    “Anywhere that has paint is going to have a new coat,” said Rev. Christopher Lieske. The walls, the ceilings, the window frames, and even the mural behind the altar will be cleaned and restored.
    The walls inside of the sanctuary, and the ceiling between the wooden panels are being changed from brown to white. The frames around the stained glass windows are being painted a light brown. Both changes are intended to make the colors of the windows stand out, and make the lighting of the sanctuary glow. “It will certainly create a visual effect, brightening the church,” said Lieske.
    “It’s a happy change, very uplifting,” added Jim Stathopolous, whose team has been contracted for the renovation work. Stathopolous learned the art of church renovation from his father in Greece, before traveling to the United States to continue the craft.
    “[The paint] has been the same longer than I have been here,” said Lieske. “It’s been around 40 years”
    The board of trustees put together the proposal for work, and the church decided together to move forward.
    “There were cracks starting to show from aging and that needed repairing,” said Glenn Coon of the church’s board of trustees. “These renovations should prepare us for another 40 years.”
    Another 40 years for a church that has kept records of their already long history.
    Officially, the church was organized in March of 1916. In those days, it was called St. Paul German Lutheran Church. The reverend was O. C. Wolff, who had been serving St. John’s of Sparta since 1898, and was given permission to serve St. Paul as well. The mission field around Montevideo was covered by Henry Vetter.
    Services were held in a rental location at 210 South Fifth Street at first, but in 1919 a church was purchased from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church for $3,000. That building still stands as a historic monument at the Historic Chippewa Village in Montevideo. It was replaced in 1951 when the congregations current church building was constructed. At one point, “They were holding Sunday School in a house across the street,” said Lieske. Today, the church has a Growth Center attached to it, and even houses a Lutheran school for preschool and kindergarten.
    With the 100 year anniversary coming up fast, the current renovations may be just one of many projects the church takes on in celebration, and in preparation for the future. A committee has been formed by the church to decide what else might be coming. So far, plans are underway to bring together former clergy of the congregation for the 100 year anniversary.
    Page 2 of 2 - With a visitor’s perspective, Stathopolous said he has noticed more beauty besides the architecture of the church. Coming from humble beginnings, the church has a baptized congregation of 400 members, and can seat 250 comfortably in the sanctuary.
    “What is most admirable here is the love of the people who want to have a new interior for the house of God,” he said. “I see the people of this community are very active in their love of God, and it makes me happy to see an active (Lutheran) school.”
    Work should be wrapping up by the end of this week. Last Sunday, the congregation held worship in the basement to allow work to continue right away on Monday.
    “They’ve been an efficient crew,” said Lieske. “We’re grateful for the work they are doing.”

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