St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church of Braham is celebrating 100 years since it began as a vessel of the Gospel for generations of families who have called St. Stephen’s home since 1913.
St. Stephen’s will host an anniversary celebration Aug. 25 with a fellowship meal catered by Randy Sward starting at 11:30 a.m. At 1 p.m. a special invitation is extended to the “Pass, Present, Future, Eternal” celebration to the public. The celebration will feature a meal, music, former pastors of St. Stephen’s and a message from Minnesota’s North District President of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church Don Fondow.
“This anniversary is a testament to the solidity of this church, our church body and the rock-solid foundation upon which we stand, Jesus Christ,” Steve Anderson, pastor at St. Stephen’s, said.
The church held its worship at its original location in downtown Braham until 1971 when work began at the church’s current site at 400 SE Eighth St. A walk-out basement, kitchen and classrooms accommodated the church until an upstairs addition was built in 1977. Since then, St. Stephen’s has witnessed more expansion in the 1980s and the construction of a choir loft and elevator in the 1990s.
Generous gifts have made it possible for the church to continue its expansion, and the church is planning a new kitchen and fellowship space.
“Church is about people, not plaster. Church is where you find love — love for God and love for neighbor — not lumber,” Anderson said.
Anderson has been with St. Stephen’s for five years and celebrated 10 years in ministry in June. He is one of 15 pastors to have influenced the church and he gives credit to St. Stephen’s commitment to sound doctrine and unwavering faith for its long-standing history.
“We want to continue that legacy for those who come after us.” Anderson said. “We want them to be comfortable: comfortable in their beliefs, knowing that we will not waver in our confession; comfortable with their spiritual leadership, who are guided by God’s Word; and comfortable with one another, in a spirit of love, grace and fellowship.”
In a time of ever-evolving change, Anderson asserts the church’s legacy will continue because of its devotion to truth amid changes in social morals and beliefs.
“If a church and its people don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything,” Anderson said. “That is not the case at St. Stephen’s because for 100 years, the truth of Jesus and his Word has been and will always be proclaimed, taught and confessed.”
While Anderson said the church does not know exactly what the future holds, it is confident in knowing who holds its future.
“Yes, this church has had its ups and downs over the years, but the doors are still open, the Gospel is still proclaimed, and lives are changed as a result,” Anderson said.
Worship is held every Sunday at 10 a.m. with Sunday school and adult Bible study to run the length of the traditional school year.
“In a nation where ‘flash in the pan’ churches come and go, and where what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ changes every other year, St. Stephen’s has been in the Braham community for 100 years providing true cradle-to-grave ministry,” Anderson said.
To learn more about St. Stephens Lutheran Church, visit www.ststephensbraham.org or call 320-396-3103.