South Bend Celebrating 125 Years of Ministry

SOUTH BEND, IN (February 19, 2013) – The South Bend Evangelical Covenant Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary March 9-10.

A catered banquet and program will be begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the church. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth ages seven to 17 – children under six are free. The reservation deadline is February 25.

Sunday worship is at 9:45 a.m. A brunch will follow.

A group of seventeen Swedish immigrants formed the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission Church on March 14, 1888, and became a member of the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant of America denomination. A Ladies’ Aid Society, Sunday school, and Young People’s Society were organized shortly thereafter.

The congregation built the first church in 1889 and called E. M. Carlson as their first regular pastor in 1890.

The congregation soon outgrew its building, so it purchased a church from the Mizpah Congregation in 1917.

In 1926, the Young People’s Society presented the church with a large altar mural, “The Ascension of Christ,” by Covenant artist Warner Sallman, whose best known work was the famous Head of Christ painting.

The name of the church was changed to the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Bend in 1941. Two members, Edward Bergman and Bernard Peterson, died while serving in World War II, and an organ was purchased in their memory in 1944.

The congregation relocated to its present building on East Edison Road in 1959, and the Sallman mural was moved to a prominent place in the church narthex. An addition was built in 1987 to provide more classroom space and greater accessibility.

The church actively supports denominational ministries and missionaries in Africa and Mexico. During the past 50 years the congregation has hosted a Boy Scout troop, the Mental Health Association’s Christmas Party, a Celebrate Recovery group, as well as supporting a car show benefiting local agencies and piano recitals for a local piano teachers’ association.

The congregation endeavors to live out its mission statement: Inviting any and all to join us on a journey of discipleship.

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