Area News

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!

Did you know that only five percent of the population donates blood to meet 100 percent of the patient blood needs? Misconceptions are a big reason why more people don’t donate blood, but new donors are always in high demand.

“It’s surprising to hear the reasons why many people think they can’t donate, and most often it’s due to outdated or misunderstood information,” said Donor Recruitment Manager, Travis Dressler. “We encourage anyone who thinks they can’t donate blood to give us a call and find out more. With every donation, we can save up to three lives. Think of the impact we can have if more people were willing and able to give!”

While much more goes into qualifying a donor to safely give blood, there are many common instances when people assume they can’t give blood but generally are not disqualifying. Some of these include taking medication including blood pressure, cholesterol, or anti-depressants, traveling outside the U.S., getting a tattoo or piercing, or having a history of cancer.

Potential donors are encouraged to call Vitalant to find out if they are eligible to donate blood. The next opportunity to give will be Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the Woonsocket Community Center from 12:30-5:30 p.m. Contact Carrie Howard at 770-8997 to make an appointment or call Vitalant at 877-25-VITAL for more information.

To save time, donors can now complete their Fast Track Health History Questionnaire online the day of their donation by visiting or via the Vitalant mobile app. To donate blood, volunteers must be at least 16 years old (16 and 17-year-old donors need a minor donor permit which is available at the blood drive or online) and be in good health.

A new face was seen on Woonsocket’s Main Street on Monday, Aug. 3, as Hegg Insurance welcomed Austin Messmer as a new employee to their business. 

Messmer is a native of Wessington Springs and graduated from Wessington Springs High School in 2015. He went on to college at South Dakota State University in Brookings and graduated from there in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business. 

With previous work experience at Farm Bureau Financial Services, Messmer has been a licensed agent since Nov. 6, 2019. For Hegg Insurance, he will be a producer of all types of property and casualty, crop, life and health insurance.

On a personal note, Messmer is engaged to be married to Kelbi Dean of Artesian, and they are purchasing a home in Sanborn County on the Dean family farm.

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

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