Spirit of Faith celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Lutheran/Methodist Parish

By Vicki Berg Linke

The Spirit of Faith Lutheran-Methodist Church of Woonsocket celebrated its 50th anniversary of the ecumenical parish during worship service on Aug. 2. The commemoration was held at the church’s parking lot where the members sat in cars or lawn chairs and listened by loudspeaker or FM radio. Fiftieth Anniversary booklets were created for the occasion and distributed. Attendees enjoyed cupcakes and coffee during outdoor fellowship time after the service.

Newly appointed Spirit of Faith minister, Dr. John Anderson, led the service with guest speakers representing the former congregations. Speaking were Connie Farris for Doug Farris, former United Methodist board president; Mark Snedeker, former Bethany Lutheran council vice-president; Wanda Swenson, former Forestburg Lutheran council president; and Jennifer Feistner for Brian Feistner, current Spirit of Faith council president. Pre-recorded video greetings were received from Rev. Jonathan Steiner of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Rev. Rebecca Trefz of the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

This congregation has the distinction of being part of the first ecumenical agreement between Methodist (UMC) and Lutheran (ELCA) congregations in the state of South Dakota when the parish was formed on Aug. 1, 1970. On Reformation Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, members voted to form one congregation and build a new church. The two Woonsocket churches were demolished, Bethany Lutheran on Aug. 29, 2016, and United Methodist on April 27, 2018, to make room for the new church building on the same block along Highway 34.

Groundbreaking for the new church was on May 20, 2018, with the first worship service in the building held on Dec. 23, 2018. Spirit of Faith continues to be a unique congregation and is proving that two faiths can come together. Their mission statement, “saved by grace, gathered in faith, called to serve,” is how they strive to worship and live their faith. Booklets are still available for anyone who wants one and is interested in learning about or becoming part of Spirit of Faith.

…See a photo of the ceremony in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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