One thing about all of us at Lutheran Church of the Cross is that we are proud of our history and love to share it with all of you!
The American Lutheran Church purchased 9.24 acres on 13th Avenue East in West Fargo. Although an “ecumenical park,” with the sites for the development of several churches was originally planned, the Roman Catholic Diocese purchased 11 acres right next to the ALC site.
Three of the reasons for beginning a new congregation in West Fargo were:
- To provide a word and sacrament ministry to the people of West Fargo
- To grow in membership and stewardship response and relieve some of the worship space constraints experienced at that time by Faith Lutheran Church in West Fargo
- To develop a model of ecumenical relationships with the neighbor Roman Catholic parish
A steering committee from Faith Lutheran Church was asked to work with Reverend Harold Everson, the area Service and Mission Director, in planning for the new congregation.
This committee talked with Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church about the possibility ofecumenical sharing on the adjacent land.
Foss Associates was employed to do a feasibility study of possible ways in which facility and program could be shared.
Pastor Chris Hallanger began work on November 1, 1980.
We held our first worship service on December 7, 1980 in the Eastwood Elementary School gymnasium.
We officially incorporated as a new congregation of the American Lutheran Church on April 26, 1981.
In September 1981 we began worshipping in the West Fargo High School auditorium. That month we also concluded the feasibility study with Foss Associates.
We broke ground for our church building on May 16, 1982. Curtis Construction of Fargo built this building with 4,080 square feet of floor space. Our first worship service in this building was on September 12, 1982. Dedication Sunday was October 10, 1982.
Our neighbors at Holy Cross Catholic Church moved into their building in February 1983, with dedication in June 6, 1983.
January 18, 1987, Church Unity Sunday, the two parishes joined in dedicating the ecumenical bell tower that physically connects the two facilities. The bell tower was built with funds donated by the community that shares their ecumenical goals.
Pastor Hallanger resigned his call on October 31, 1987 to accept another call in Northwood, North Dakota.
A call was extended to Pastor Robert Possehl in the spring of 1988 when he was serving in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. He accepted the call and was installed on May 22, 1988.
Educational space was a critical need for both congregations. Committees from both churches began meeting to identify the needs and recommend possible solutions. A common fellowship and education hall was planned.
The Cross Way Center was dedicated October 27, 1991. The first functional shared space offers the members of both parishes the opportunity to come together as one community before and after services at each worship occasion. Cross Way Center endeavors to meet the fellowship and educational needs by providing over 10,000 square feet, including 17 classrooms to be utilized by both congregations.
Interim pastors Pastor Art Johnson, Pastor Elmo Anderson, and Pastor Dave Petty served the church from 1993-1996.
A call was extended to Pastor Bill Thompson and was accepted. He officially began his duties on Sunday, September 9, 1996.
Stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary.
During the January 2001 annual meeting of LCC, a building committee was formed to start the planning process of expanding our sanctuary. Formal ground breaking ceremony for the expansion of LCC was held April 8, 2001. Form dedication of the LCC building expansion held September 30, 2001.
A call was extended to Pastor Joel Baranko to serve as Pastor transitioning into the Lead Pastor position as Pastor Bill announced his retirement plans for 2014.
In December 2013, the congregation purchased the Holy Cross Catholic Church facility connected with LCC.
Pastor Bill retired in May of 2014. In June we joyfully extended a call to Pastor Laura Henrik. In July Pastor Joel was installed officially as Lead Pastor, and Pastor Laura was installed as Associate Pastor. Remodeling plans were revealed for the former Holy Cross facility in October.
LCC expanded its ministry into the former Holy Cross facility in July, and renovations to the sanctuary, offices, nursery, and narthex were completed.
Our Stained Glass Windows
The newly expanded sanctuary of Lutheran Church of the Cross comes to life with the addition of two beautiful windows. The windows, which are a combination of stained glass and hand-painted glass, were given by the former North LaMoure Lutheran Church, located near Litchville, North Dakota.
A brief history of the windows
Told by Clara (Rocksvold) Smedshammer
The windows were purchased in 1915 from a Minneapolis company and shipped by train to Hastings, North Dakota. Clara’s father, Per Rocksvold, and Christopher Smedshammer (the uncle of Clara’s future husband, Jacob Smedshammer), drove their horse-drawn hay wagons about seven miles to Hastings where they loaded the windows and brought them to their home in North LaMoure Lutheran Church.
Per was quite well-known in the area for his team of Belgrian Percheran horses named Fly and Dan. Clara would have been 10 years old at the time. Today, Clara is 96 years old and is likely the oldest living person of the former North LaMoure Lutheran Church. According to Clara, the windows were purchased by the Young Ladies Aide Society for $500. In 1951 some restoration work was done on the windows.
Historic windows find a new home
Pastor Bill Thompson learned of these windows from Pastor Randy Schlect, assistant to the Bishop, after inquiring about historical church artifacts that may be available for our new sanctuary. Pastor Bill, David Hetland of Hetland Ltd. and Terry Lee, member of LCC, met with Curtis Smedshammer and inspected the windows. It was recommended and agreed upon that these windows be incorporated into our new sanctuary.
David Hetland recommended Michael Orchard Studio for the restoration of the windows. Michael removed the stained glass panels and took them to his studio in Fargo where they were cleaned, re-leaded, re-banded and reinforced with crossbeams. With the help of Roers’ Construction, Pastor Bill, Paul Anderson, Bobcat and Michael Orchard removed and transported the windows that now grace our sanctuary.
Michael is of the opinion that there is probably no one of this old-world skill still painting windows today. In addition to the beautiful stained glass, these windows also display some of the finest glass painting every applied to church stained glass windows.