Blessed by a Rich History
A family of believers grounded in, growing in and reaching out in Christ…
Like many churches in a predominantly rural area, St Matthews Lutheran Church reflects a good measure of the ethnicity and history of its community. Founded at the turn of the century by Finnish pioneers, the congregation has experienced the growth of the Esko community, and today reflects the “melting pot” nature of the area as persons of other nationalities and heritage have moved in.
The story of St. Matthews begins in the late 1800s when Finnish immigrants began settling in Thomson Township. Being God-fearing people, they realized the need for worship together. After initial efforts at organizing a Lutheran congregation, the pioneers sent a call to the Rev. Erick V. Niemi, a minister who had settled in the Village of Thomson in 1900. He accepted the call and the congregation was officially organized on February 1, 1902. Records of the 1902-1918 period in the congregation’s history are sparse and mostly the result of memory.
Official documents were kept at members’ homes during that period and most were burned in the 1918 Thomson Township fire. God’s miraculous power was shown, however, when the fire raged all around the area, but burned to within six inches of the church, leaving the walls untouched!