CHURCH TIMELINE OF EVENTS
September 11-13, 1867 - Meetings were held in the communities of White Bear Lake, Chippewa and Lake Johanna to begin the process of starting congregations in these communities. Eventually there were over twenty congregations in this parish that had three districts. Reverend Thomas Johsnon organized three of these preaching places which he called "Vor Frelsars Menighed i Pope County, Minnesota" or "The Pope County Congregation." Congregations started within this district included Barsness Lutheran Church, Chippewa (later Rolling Forks) Lutheran Church and West Lake Johanna Lutheran Church.
October 10, 1869 - Reverend Peder Sjurson Reque was installed at the Chippewa Congregation.
March 1, 1869 - A group of Chippewa congregation members begin the process of starting a new congregation which would eventually be called St. Pauli Lutheran Church and be located south of Swift Falls.
1875 - The Chippewa Congregation began looking for land to erect a church building and to have a cemetery. Ole Davidson eventually donated 80 acres in the center of section 26 of Rolling Forks Township. The congregation paid $1 for the deed. Building committee was established that included Peder C. Flaten, Tosten Flaten, Nils Anderson, Ole. S. Olson, Johan Pederson, Peder Erickson, Ole Davidson, Lewis Hendrickson and Hans Olson.
1876 - Construction began on Chippewa Church. Lumber came from the Benson Lumberyard and construction was completed by Andrew Beito. Initial Cost was $1,634.94. The church was originally 32' wide x 50' long x 18' high with a 24' x 24' alter. The cemetery surrounded the church.
1876 - Peder Qverbo was chosen as first song leader and Jens Vrolson chosen as first janitor of congregation.
February 6, 1877 - Area Swift Falls residents met in the Swift Falls school house for the purpose of organizing another congregation right in the village. Residents included J.M Danelz, Oley Thorson, Iver Swenson, Ole O. Dokkebakken, Andrew Nelson, Sander Thompson, Halvor Skarsten Matheisen, Knute Korsmo Evenson, Nils Kjortson and Peder Pederson with Reverend Chirstian Sangestad present and voted as chairman. The name "Den Norske Evangeliske Lutherske Menighed I Swift Falls" (The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Swift Falls) was given to the congregation.
March 21, 1877 - St. Pauli Lutheran Church is organized at the home of Rasmus Olson Svor by members of Chippewa Lutheran Church with Reverend Reque called. The Church voted to remain part of the "synod" and first trustees were nominated which included Hans Olson, Ole Olson Svor and Ole Monson.
April 9, 1877 - The Swift Falls congregation adopts a constitution in the Norwegian language. They voted to become part of the Norwegian-Danish Conference and remained there until 1890.
1880 - The Swift Falls congregation enters into a parish agreement with Lake Hazel Lutheran Church, Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church and Benson Immanuel Lutheran Church.
1882-1885 - Chippewa Church is structurally reinforced with sturdy rafters, plastered walls, a new balcony, and updated chancel to be patterned after West Norway Lake Lutheran Church. Total cost of church in the end was $6,481.
1883 - St. Pauli congregation starts parochial school during the summer, which later under the American Lutheran Conference becomes Vacation Church School and now is known as Vacation Bible School.
1884 - Chippewa congregation negotiates with the wife of former Reverend Reque to purchase her farm on Prestlaken Lake (Preacher's Lake, now known as Lake Linka) for the purpose of a parsonage.
~1889 - Swift Falls Ladies Aid is organized.
1890 - Swift Falls congregation becomes part of the United Church Conference and stays in that conference until 1898.
1896 - Chippewa congregation and White Bear Lake congregation sell joint parsonage on Lake Linka because they each had called their own pastor.
1896 - Three point parish created with St. Pauli Lutheran Church, West Lake Johanna Lutheran Church and Chippewa Lutheran Church.
1897 - St. Pauli Church building constructed.
1897 - With share of sale of the parsonage on Lake Linka, the Chippewa congregation, St. Pauli congregation and West Lake Johanna congregation purchase 80 acres just east of the Chippewa congregations church.
1898 - Chippewa, West Lake Johanna and St. Pauli erect a parsonage on newly acquired land for $2,811.
1898 - The Norwegian Lutheran Congregation of Swift Falls church building is constructed on land donated by J.M. Danelz for $1,025, of which $752 was provided by the "Ladies Aid." The congregation resigns itself from the United Church Conference and remains an independent congregation until 1918.
1900 - St. Pauli installs a 1,200lb bell that would eventually fall and crack in a 1962 wind storm.
1909 - St. Pauli Lutheran Church Women was formally organized, however an unofficial Ladies Aid had been active many years prior.
1917 - The Norwegian Lutheran Church of America Synod (NLCA) was created by the merger of the Hauge, Norwegian and United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (UNLCA) Synods. All three churches eventually belong to this new synod.
1918 - The Swift Falls congregation becomes part of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America Synod.
1922 - Basement was placed under the Swift Falls church.
1926 - Swift Falls congregation votes to have 5 services a year in English, rather than Norwegian.
1928 - Swift Falls congregation decides to have half of their services in English and the other half in Norwegian.
1940 - Reverend J. Magnus Rohne begins the Joint Ladies Aid between the Chippewa, St. Pauli and West Lake Johanna congregations.
December 24, 1940 - Electricity installed at the Chippewa Lutheran Church.
1946 - The Norwegian Lutheran Church of America Synod (NLCA) changed its name to the Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod (ELC).
1946 - Benson Immanuel Lutheran Church withdrew from parish agreement with the Swift Falls Lutheran Church, Lake Hazel Lutheran Church and Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church. Benson Immanuel later merges with another church to form Our Redeemers Lutheran Church in Benson. Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church dissolves to leave only Swift Falls Church and Lake Hazel Church.
1948 - Chippewa Lutheran Church purchases new pews with matching woodwork, altar rail, pulpit and wall paneling.
1949 - The Swift Falls church is lifted from its original location between Swift County Road 26 and the Chippewa River to its current location due to high water table. The land is donated by Orin Dokkebakken. A new basement in placed under the building a few feet are added to the length of the building.
1949 - St. Pauli church is lifted from original location in cemetery to a new basement foundation across the road.
1954 - Chippewa Lutheran Church installs new heating system and new Hammond Electric organ.
1957 - West Lake Johanna Lutheran Church becomes part of the Brooten parish, so Chippewa Lutheran Church and St. Pauli Lutheran Church arrange their own parish agreement.
1958 - Chippewa Lutheran Church changes its name to Rolling Forks Lutheran Church and Altar Guild started.
1959 - Rolling Forks Lutheran Church installs plumbing for the first time.
1960 - The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) Synod merges with the American Lutheran Church Synod (ALC) (first of its name) and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod(UELC) to create the new American Lutheran Church Synod (ALC).
1962-1966 - There are talks of merger and consolidation for area churches from the Willmar ALC office with Reverend Hanson and a Mr. Rau speaking to these congregations.
1965 - Rolling Forks Lutheran Churh completely remodels kitchen, purchases new public speaking system and church is re-painted.
1966 - Proposed agreement to merge the four congregations of Swift Falls Lutheran Church, St. Pauli Lutheran Church, Rolling Forks Lutheran Church and Lake Hazel Lutheran Church under the name Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. All congregations vote to merge except Lake Hazel Lutheran Church. Each church takes turns holding worship services for the merged congregation.
July 1966 - St. Pauli Lutheran Church, Swift Falls Lutheran Church and Rolling Forks Lutheran Church officially merge to become Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.
1974 - Rolling Forks Lutheran Church is lifted and moved to Swift Falls and attached to the Swift Falls Church with a new Narthex being constructed to adjoin the two and new basement under the Rolling Forks church building.
1975 - SOTH builds parsonage adjacent to church.
1988 - The American Lutheran Church Synod (ALC) merges with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and the Association of Evnagelical Lutheran Churches Synod (AELC) to create the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
1988 - The Women of the ELCA (WELCA) is created by the merger of the American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW), The Lutheran Church Women (LCW) and Women in Action for Mission (WAM).
1991 - Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church celebrates 25 years as a single congregation.
1991 - Lutheran Men in Mission (LMM) is organized on the national level through the ELCA.
2012 - SOTH joins in a cooperative parish agreement with Our Redeemers Lutheran Church in Benson to share pastoral services.
2013 - SOTH sells parsonage located at 205 Falcon Ave. in Swift Falls.
2015 - New sound system installed and new carpet is installed in basement section of the Swift Falls Church, also known as the Blue Room. This basement portion is also repainted and linoleum installed in kitchen area.
2015 - Our Redeemers Lutheran Church votes to dissolve cooperative parish agreement with SOTH to share pastoral services.
2016 - Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church celebrates 50 years as a single congregation.
October 14, 2018 - Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church joins in a yolking agreement with East Zion and West Zion to share pastoral services.
Rolling Forks Lutheran Church 2.5 miles north of Swift Falls on Pope County Road 19.
St. Pauli Lutheran Church 2.5 miles south of Swift Falls on Swift County Road 31
Swift Falls Church on the move in 1949.
Swift Falls Church after move in 1949.
Remodeled inside of Swift Falls Church after its move in 1949.
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Rolling Forks Church on left and Swift Falls Church on right with added narthex in between.