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Norwegian-Danish Methodism on the Pacific Coast
    by Arlow William Andersen (Volume 19: Page 89)

Many favoring circumstances beckoned Americans westward to the Pacific coast in the second half of the nineteenth century. The prospect of gold, despite declining yields of the precious stuff, still cast its spell. The revival of peacetime pursuits following the Civil War accelerated a migration that even the hostilities had failed to check. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 joined East and West with bonds of iron. The hard times of the 1870’s, while forcing many to stay at home, persuaded other discouraged Midwesterners to take unusual risks in hopes of better for tune. The salubrious climate of California attracted some restless folk. Others, such as the Norwegians, envisioned an area reminiscent of their homeland in the eternal grandeur of the mountains, the mighty salmon-spawning Columbia, the stately forests of Washington, and the flying ocean spray. Opportunities in the West far exceeded those of any European country.

Methodist beginnings in the Far West antedated Norwegian-Danish activity there by many years. Up to the time of the treaty ending the Mexican War in 1848, California was in the hands of Mexico and not open to Protestant missionaries. But a letter published in the Christian Advocate (Chicago) on March 1, 1833 quickened the interest of Methodists in the Oregon country, north of California. The correspondent, G. P. Disosway of Ohio, told of the inhumane practice of the Flathead Indians, who allegedly flattened the skulls of their young. Disosway based his assertion upon the report of William Walker, an Indian trader and a personal friend, who had seen a four-man delegation of Flathead Indians at St. Louis in 1831. The delegation sought a “black robe” [90] (a Roman Catholic priest) to return with them to their tribal home in Oregon. {1}

Generous financial contributions by Christian Advocate readers, plus a stirring appeal by President Wilbur Fisk of Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut), resulted in the overland trek of the Jason Lee party in 1834. Lee elected, however, to settle on the Willamette River rather than in the Flathead country, it being too late in the season, he explained, to ascend the Columbia. With substantial aid and encouragement from Dr. John McLoughlin of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the settlement prospered. Apparently Jason Lee devoted himself more to extolling the virtues of the Willamette Valley for his countrymen back east than he did to Indian missionary endeavors.

The initial achievements of Methodism among the Norwegian and Danish immigrants of the Pacific coast are largely traceable to the unflagging energy and superior organizing ability of Carl J. Larsen. He was born in Hestness, Nordfjord, Norway, in 1849, and eventually emigrated with his parents to Chicago. There he turned to Methodism under the persuasive preaching of the onetime chaplain of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Regiment, Johan Hendrik Johnson of First Church, better known as “Lille” (Little) Johnson. In 1875 Larsen moved to Oakland, California, and joined the American Methodists there. He was urged by the local pastor to con duct services in Scandinavian homes in the community, and in 1878 a Seventh-Day Adventist church became available for rent for services. Larsen was made a local preacher and organized a class of 24 members in 1879. A small Scandinavian Methodist church was built and dedicated in 1880. Under the California Conference, a Swedish pastor, O. Ferrell, served the congregation for the next three years. {2} [91]

In 1880 Larsen joined the California Conference on ministerial probation, abandoning his occupation as a wood carver. He said in his diary, “I also left a salary of $130 a month and received $50 a month for the privilege of preaching the Gospel to my countrymen. {3} In 1881 he completed a missionary tour of the Pacific Northwest and concluded that many Norwegians and Danes would need the services of the church in years to come. In 1882 he was transferred to the Oregon Conference and was assigned to Portland. There, in the same year, he organized a Scandinavian congregation of 15 members. They purchased a lot and built a church in 1883. The local newspaper, the Oregonian, reporting on the dedication service of May 6, 1883, commented on the beauty of the structure, the pulpit and altar made by Larsen himself “with his own deft hands,” the labor furnished by the members, and the fact that no financial assistance was requested or received from the Board of Home Missions and Church Extension. The total cost was $6,000. {4} Larsen, after founding several congregations in Oregon, was appointed in 1884 to Tacoma, Washington, and thus became one of the charter members of the new Puget Sound Conference.

Larsen’s earliest efforts may have been among Scandinavians in general rather than among Norwegians and Danes alone. Andrew Haagensen says that on December 15, 1883, a Norwegian-Danish Methodist congregation was officially formed in Oakland, California. {5} The ten charter members had [92] been active in Larsen’s previous congregation in Oakland. The first pastor, John Jacobsen, had served several congregations in the East. He had been much attracted by the scenery along the railroad right of way, and presently became a California booster. He had departed from Forest City, Iowa, his latest charge, in the month of March, and he viewed the green trees and gorgeous rose bushes beyond the Rockies with genuine awe. “Oh, what a beautiful country it is!” he exclaimed. “How richly it is blessed by the Giver of all good gifts!” He delivered his first sermon in Oakland on April p20, 1884. The Norwegians and Danes bought out the Swedish members, the vanguard of Swedish Methodism on the Pacific coast, and changed the name of the church from “Scandinavian” to “Norwegian-Danish.” {6}

Several other western churches had their beginnings during the 1880’s. During Larsen’s pastorate in Portland he visited Tacoma occasionally, and he established a class there in April, 1884. In September he was appointed to the new Tacoma congregation; he was succeeded in Portland by C. N. Hauge, who was transferred from the Norwegian-Danish Conference of the Middle West. With Larsen, the Tacoma membership soon increased to the point where they were able to build a church on the main street, Tacoma Avenue, in 1885. In the period 1885-89 new opportunities presented themselves in Albina and Astoria in Oregon; La Center, Port Townsend, Spokane Falls (later Spokane), and Rockford Circuit in Washington; and Moscow, Blame, and Bear Creek in Idaho.

In 1887 Carl Frederick Eltzholtz, who was of Danish birth, was named to succeed John Jacobsen in the Oakland charge. From Oakland, in 1888, he addressed his ministerial friends in the Middle West somewhat wistfully as follows: “Our [93] countrymen are found scattered by the hundreds in many places throughout this great state, which has such a glorious future. But I am the only Norwegian-Danish preacher sent by our church to these people. We need at least two more men for this state. As I send my brotherly greetings I ask that you, when you see the sun setting in the West, will re member your humble brother roaming about on the faraway coast of the western sea.” Eltzholtz was to succumb to the balmy atmosphere and optimistic spirit of the bear flag state. In the spring of 1889 he sought to enlighten his friends back east on many topics, such as California’s educational system, climate, irrigation, artesian wells, big trees, fruits, wool, honey, land values, and of course church affairs. {7}

New advances were made in the years 1889 and 1890. O. Christophersen organized a congregation in Eureka, California. Eltzholtz, in Oakland, began to conduct meetings in San Francisco on Sunday afternoons as early as 1888. Grebert Andersen, another Dane, took Eltzholtz’ place in 1890. Eltzholtz was transferred back east to the Norwegian-Danish Conference. Andersen, first attracted to Methodism by Buriel Smith in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1879, had recently graduated from the Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Apparently the San Francisco mission was discontinued after 1890, until one M. J. Waage began to preach, primarily to sailors, in a downtown hall in 1893. These were the modest beginnings of what was later the Central Church. {8}

Occasional contributions of Eltzholtz to Den christelige talsmand testify to his effectiveness as a pastor in Oakland. In a letter of July 1, 1889 he referred to the remarkably successful evangelistic efforts of a former Norwegian actress, Mrs. Frederikke Nielsen, in his own church. God had always [94] blessed the labors of women in his vineyard, he said, and he believed that Mrs. Nielsen, criticized in some quarters for her showmanship, was deserving of confidence. On a later occasion he chose to dispel certain rumors about his plans. Some friends in the East had been misled, he wrote, by well-intentioned folk who pretended to know his mind. They had said that he wished to locate (that is, temporarily to discontinue his membership in the conference), that he wanted to turn farmer, that he wanted to give up the ministry, because he had become a member of a syndicate established for the founding of a city. They had spread rumors that he had be come disgusted with California, that his health was declining, and that he was even spitting blood. He punctured the rumors with scorn. He admitted that he had contemplated taking a year off from the ministry, but now he was fully decided on continuing in it. {9}

In Washington, which was about to achieve statehood, certain towns and cities saw the beginning of Methodist activity among the Norwegians in 1889. Through the efforts of C. J. Larsen, the presiding elder, a congregation came into being in Spokane. First to be appointed there was Egert M. Stangeland. At Rockford, near Spokane, J. C. Paulsen was appointed. For an interval, until Seattle eclipsed other settlements on Puget Sound, work was carried on at Port Town send, where J. S. Andersen began to hold meetings. In Seattle itself, C. J. Larsen organized the membership in the same year, 1889. The first meetings were held in a tent on property bought by the members. Larsen also visited Fairhaven, where a quarterly conference was held in 1890. Appointments for 1890 included a minister for the South Bend circuit as well. The pastor, Carl Ericksen, reported in Vidnesbyrdet (The Testimony), the new Pacific coast publication, that “the Northern Pacific Railway has donated to our Norwegian Methodist church three lots to a value of $1300, and there [95] is plenty of room on which to build both church and parson age.” {10}

The first issue of Vidnesbyrdet, the official journal of Norwegian-Danish Methodism on the Pacific coast, was dated September 15, 1889. Originally a semimonthly emanating from Portland, Oregon, it was edited by John Jacobsen and John L. Eriksen, with C. N. Hauge as manager. As C. J. Larsen said in the Talsmand, Vidnesbyrdet was issued in the interests of the Norwegian-Danish Mission, and all profits were to be allocated to retired ministers and their families. Eriksen resigned in 1890, leaving Jacobsen as sole editor. Both Jacobsen and Hauge, the manager, served without remuneration. In fact, Jacobsen gave generously of his personal funds to keep the infant paper alive. At one time the Tract Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church appropriated $450 toward expenses. Under Stangeland, Vidnesbyrdet was published weekly. In the fall of 1891 Haagensen, editor of the Talsmand, noted that Vidnesbyrd et had grown from eight pages to twelve, and he congratulated Stangeland. By 1892 Vidnesbyrdet had a budget of $4,168. In 1895 it was necessary to raise $270 among the pastors to reimburse the editor for his expenditures. The editor usually served a church be cause of the shortage of pastors. {11}

Others who doubled in preaching and editing were Peter Martin Hansen, Martinus Nelson, and Christian Jørgen Heckner. Martin Hansen, as he was generally known, had listened to sermons by O. P. Petersen and Christian Willerup in Norway and had joined the Methodists there, in Sarpsborg, in 1857. He had relieved Petersen, founder of Methodism in Norway, as director of the work in Norway in 1871. He was Norway’s first delegate to a general conference, traveling to Cincinnati in 1880 for that purpose. By his own re quest, Hansen remained in the United States after the [96] Cincinnati conference, taking the First Church (Chicago) pulpit of J. H. (“Lille”) Johnson, who went to Norway. Hansen, after serving Brooklyn’s Bethelship Church (1883- 88), returned to his native land. In 1891 he came to the United States once more, to be transferred to the Norwegian-Danish Mission and appointed to Seattle. As editor of Vidnesbyrdet after 1893, he was also pastor of Portland Second Church. C. August Peterson, himself a ministerial leader on the Pacific coast, was attracted to Methodism through the influence of Martin Hansen. {12}

Martinus Nelson, another editor of Vidnesbyrdet, had given his best to the Utah Mission. In the Western Conference he served Portland, Eureka, and Oakland, successively, with some detriment to his health. After he had been granted a supernumerary relationship, or leave of absence, his health improved and he resumed his preaching. {13} Christian Heckner, like Hansen, had joined the Methodists in Norway in 1874 and had gone to Chicago in 1881. In 1883 he was appointed to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In the West he was to edit Vidnesbyrdet and its successor, Sambaandet, for a total of twenty-two years. {14}

In 1904 O. O. Twede was elected editor of Vidnesbyrdet and did conspicuous work in that position until 1917, when he requested retirement. During his regime the Methodist Book Concern subsidized the paper to the extent of $1,200 annually. F. A. Scarvie became Twede’s successor, 1917-20, and H. P. Nelsen thereafter, until the merger of Vidnesbyrdet with Den kristelige talsmand and Østens missionær [97] (The Missionary of the East) into the new Evangelisk tidende (Evangelical News) in January, 1922. {15}

The General Conference of 1888 authorized the organization of the work on the Pacific coast into the Northwest Norwegian-Danish Mission. At its first meeting in Portland in 1889, Bishop Theodore Bowmann met with nine pastors. Bishop W. X. Ninde had appointed C. J. Larsen superintendent of the mission in 1888. Larsen reported to the Portland meeting that the mission numbered ten churches with about 375 members, including those on probation, and seven Sun day schools. The mission touched the states of Oregon and Washington and the northern part of Idaho. Appointments of 1889 were to provide for twelve preaching points. By 1890 Larsen was able to count fourteen churches. {16}

At the third annual meeting in Seattle in 1891, the effects of hard times in the country were seen in some churches, while progress was reported in others. The Spokane congregation lost 18 members, because they had to seek employment elsewhere. Vidnesbyrdet had increased its circulation. An interesting diversion from the usual conference routine was John L. Eriksen’s statement that Methodist doctrine did not coincide with his views and that he wished to withdraw from the Northwest Mission. Only a few months before, Eriksen had suggested, in a letter to the Talsmand, a joint meeting of Norwegian-Danish pastors from both sides of the Atlantic on the occasion of the World’s Fair to be held in Chicago in 1893. The meeting never took place. Eriksen joined the Unitarians. {17}

The 1891 conference concerned itself largely with [98] administrative plans. It was known that Martinus Nelson, presiding elder for the work in Utah Territory, favored union with the Northwest Mission, as an alternative to absorption by the American church. Pastors in California and Montana also desired to unite with their ministerial brethren of the Northwest. Consequently, the General Conference of 1892 was petitioned to that effect.

At Portland, in 1892, the Western Norwegian-Danish Mission Conference was formed. Bishop J. M. Walden, who pre sided, recommended that type of organization, since as a mission conference it would enjoy all the powers of an annual conference, except that of electing delegates to the quadrennial General Conference. The conference reported a total of 567 members in full connection, with 77 additional on trial. There were twenty-five church buildings, fourteen parson-ages, and twenty-five Sunday schools with 677 pupils. {18}

Utah pastorates demanded a great deal of evangelical fervor, pedagogical enthusiasm, and physical exertion. From Levan, P. N. Melby wrote that he had spent Christmas of 1893 with C. C. Mørk in Richfield and had conducted services there at 6 and 11 A.M., and a “gospel service” in the evening. On his way home he stopped off at Santaquin to hold a meeting. Upon his return to Levan he at once resumed his work with the day school, from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., with many pupils. On Sunday evenings he preached to the young folk of his congregation in English. {19}

Sources for the period 1894-1907 are rather meager, but there are evidences of growth during the 1890’s. {20} In 1895 the Mission Conference gave way to the Western Norwegian-Danish Conference. While Norwegian-Danish Methodist work in Utah was diminishing, encouraging reports were coming from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kalispell, and [99] Butte. Central Church in San Francisco was organized by C. J. Larsen in 1895, with 17 members. The usual steps toward congregational independence were completed: a hall rented, a lot purchased, then a permanent sanctuary de signed to seat 300 worshipers. When Larsen presented to the annual conference of 1895 the problem of Los Angeles’ need for a church, $200 was appropriated for that purpose. The tangible result was Bethany Church, which grew from only 6 members in 1895 to 62 in 1901. Westside Church of Kalispell, Montana, originated in 1895, as did the Scandinavian Church of Butte. Yet the Norwegian-Danish mission to the immigrants in the copper state operated on but a small scale. Only four pastors, apparently the full number, attended the annual Montana district preachers’ meetings of 1895 and 1896 in Great Falls and Butte, respectively. {21}

In 1897 Bishop C. C. McCabe made known that he would like to have a mission opened in Alaska. He inquired of the dependable C. J. Larsen, then presiding elder of the California district, whether he would go. Referring to the gold seekers, McCabe said: “Most of the people will be disappointed, or sick, and some will die. They will need the Gospel. {22} The intrepid Larsen left San Francisco for Seattle and boarded the steamer “City of Seattle” on October 6, 1897, bound for Juneau. It was Sunday on board and Bishop P. T. Rowe, returning to his work in Alaska, preached in the morning. Larsen preached in the evening. Nearly all the passengers attended the services. Larsen thought that the climate and the physical features of southeastern Alaska, as he observed them, resembled those of southern Norway.

The “City of Seattle” first touched at Ketchikan, 700 miles [100] from Seattle. There a population of some 400 depended mainly upon salmon canneries for a living. Juneau, said Larsen, had a population of about 900. He found the people very friendly. After two weeks he departed for Skagway, a town situated between the mountains. Skagway grew from a colony of a dozen tents to a city of 10,000 almost overnight. At that time, Larsen explained, it was the most wretched and godless town on earth. It was the entry to White Pass, so eagerly sought by the treasure seekers. “Soapy” Smith and his gang of outlaws maneuvered along the trail of the pass.

Since other Protestant denominations were active at Skagway, Larsen decided to proceed to Dyea, the gateway to Chilkoot Pass, leading to Lake Bennet. The town lay seven miles from Skagway by water. On November 10 Larsen left Skagway for Dyea in a rowboat; he endured a cold and stormy ride of three hours. There being no wharf at Dyea, the owner of the rowboat carried his passengers ashore. That night Larsen slept in a log cabin that had three tiers of bunks.

The second day in Dyea (November 11, 1897) Larsen se cured two lots for a church and one for a parsonage. He built a shack, 10 feet by 12, of boards, tarpaper, and batting. When he arrived he found two hundred tents and a few log cabins. New arrivals streamed in by the thousands. Larsen pitched his “gospel tent,” furnished by Bishop McCabe, and began regular services, preaching to a procession, as he said, because all but a few businessmen were bound for dreamlands of fortune and stayed only a few days in Dyea. The tent soon became too cold for services, whereupon Larsen built a chapel, which was dedicated in December, 1897.

Among those who stopped at Dyea, in preparation for reaching Dawson via Chilkoot Pass, were some Methodists. Despite their interest in the attractions of gold, Larsen found them kind and helpful. But the arrival of his son Alfred in December pleased him most. The excitement of gaining sudden wealth was coupled with deep tragedy when a snowslide in Chilkoot Pass snuffed out the lives of 56 men. Of these, 24 were buried in Dyea, and the remaining bodies were sent [101] to their homes. Larsen observed, “It was indeed a solemn day as we went from grave to grave singing ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ and ‘Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Over 800 were present at the mass funeral, which evidently had only a temporary sobering effect. Dyea soon became as wicked as Skagway. Larsen once officiated at the funeral of two gamblers who had shot each other. An epidemic of spinal meningitis during the winter of 1897-98 kept him busy visiting the sick and burying the dead.

Eventually, on June 29, 1898, Larsen and his son arrived at Dawson. They found a population of 20,000, dwelling mostly in tents. Fortunately the cosmopolitan city was kept under control through strict law enforcement by the Northwest Mounted Police. The Larsens departed in July by way of the Yukon River. They negotiated the treacherous White Horse Rapids without a guide, but they prayed a lot with their eyes open! It took a long five minutes to make the passage. At Rampart City, Larsen stayed and preached for several weeks. Finally, he left for Seattle from Unalaska on September 25, 1898, having traveled 11,290 miles, 1,670 of which were by rowboat and 150 on foot. Upon returning to California Larsen was appointed by Bishop McCabe to serve Juneau, the place which was considered the most promising for permanent work. He departed from San Francisco with his family on November 14, 1898. In January of 1899 he organized a congregation of 18 members in Juneau. So ends Larsen’s account of his Alaska venture. His only son Alfred was to die in that far country. It is reported that Raymond Robins, later associated with settlement-house work in Chicago and with the Progressive Republican movement, was converted in Alaska by Larsen’s preaching. In any event, Robins found other values than gold in his three years in the North. He came to respect Christianity as he saw it tested under conditions of strain in certain men of the gold rush. {23} [102]

At the close of the nineteenth century, Norwegian-Danish Methodism was serving twenty-three congregations, large and small, on the Pacific coast. They were organized into four districts: California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana-Idaho. Work was just commencing in some places; in others retrenchment was found to be advisable. In 1902 the conference disposed of the properties in Vollmer, Troy, and Bear Creek, all in the vicinity of Blame, Idaho. Nevertheless, Vidnesbyrdet was able to report a general increase of 15 per cent in lay membership for the church year 1903-04. No doubt some of the increase took place at the expense of churches back east. As H. P. Nelsen put it in a letter of 1904 to the Talsmand, when the Ballard Church choir sang at the annual conference he was reminded of Chicago because some of the lead voices had been in the choir of Chicago First Church twenty years before. In 1905 C. August Peterson began preaching services on Vashon Island while he was pastor of Seattle First Church. A church was built on the island in 1907. {24}

P. N. Melby, pastor in San Francisco, told the story of the earthquake and fire of Wednesday, April 18, 1906:

Wednesday at 5:13 A.M. [wrote Melby] will signify sorrow in the history of the state and the nation as well. The 42 seconds of actual earthquake were a terrifying experience, beginning with a noisy rumble. High and low areas moved in wavelike motion. Buildings bowed to each other across the streets, as if bidding farewell to their inhabitants, many of whom were thrown from their beds. On Valencia Avenue the earth sank eight feet. Only the fourth story of the Valencia Hotel remained above ground. People were carried from the ruins. The city hall, which is said to have taken 20 years to build, was destroyed in 20 seconds. {25} [103]

To the destruction of the quake were added the ravages of fire. Thousands of those trapped in the ruins were devoured by it. Many begged soldiers and police to shoot them, to spare them from a more horrible death. Some believed that the day of judgment had come. On Thursday, the day after the quake, the business section lay in ashes behind a wall of fire a mile long. Sunshine gave way to darkness. Martial law required that all liquor be destroyed, and 3,500 licenses were revoked. Friday morning it was announced that the fire had been checked only three blocks from Melby’s home, from which he and his wife had fled. Fifty churches, among them the Norwegian-Danish Methodist, were consumed. The congregation then sought housing. The church property was valued at $6,000 and was insured for only $1,150. Melby was convinced that, although fund-raising would be difficult for a time, God had presented to him and his parishioners a great future in San Francisco.

The year 1907 brought a shortage of ministers. Listed in the conference minutes of that year were the names of twenty-one pastors in full connection. Reporting for the Rocky Mountain district, N. L. Hansen said there were fifteen preaching points but only six preachers. He himself served Kalispell in addition to his administrative duties. He inquired whether the work could not be accelerated. Would it not be possible, he asked, to support a seminary connected with one of the American theological institutions? He deplored the departure from the conference of some candidates for the ministry. {26}

That the foreign-language church had a relationship to American institutions of higher learning is indicated by C. Lyng Hansen’s membership on the board of trustees of Puget Sound University at Tacoma, and C. J. Larsen’s on the board of Willamette University at Salem, Oregon. They were elected as representatives by the annual conference. The shortage of ministerial candidates was again noted in 1911 when C. August Peterson, on the conference floor, expressed [104] the hope that young men would take training both in English and in Dano-Norwegian, and that Puget Sound, Willamette, and the University of California would assist in the process by furnishing instruction in the Scandinavian languages. {27}

Norwegians on the Pacific coast felt the impact of the heavier immigration of Europeans in 1907. C. Lyng Hansen reported for the Pacific coast district that during the year nearly 40,000 Norwegians and Danes had arrived in America. He saw a great future for his own district, believing that the immigrants would feel more at home in the foreign-language churches, and not because of the language attraction alone. He reported a 12 per cent increase in membership for the year. But certain pulpits remained empty. In 1913 the Pacific coast district and the Rocky Mountain district were united so that one district superintendent might be freed for pastoral work. {28}

When in 1911 H. P. Nelsen interpreted the stages of Norwegian-Danish Methodism in the West. he stated that the Mission Society of the American church had carried the responsibility at first. Then came poor times and serious difficulties for the church. In the third stage, in the 1890’s, it was necessary to salvage what had nearly been destroyed. Many people had lost both money and religion. Some churches were compelled to close. Nelsen deplored the attitude of the younger people, who would attend a Sunday evening youth meeting but leave almost in a body when the evening church service began. He proposed a more aggressive evangelism. He felt inclined, he said, to pray with John Wesley, “Give us a recurrence of the Revival without the extravagance, if it may be so; if not, give us the Revival with the extravagance.” {29}

The World War of 1914-18 intensified American prejudice against “foreigners” and the use of “unpatriotic” tongues, thus [105] contributing to a decline in foreign-language churches. It is clear, however, that for Norwegian-Danish Methodism the struggle to maintain the work at peak strength had already started before the war. Reports at the annual conference of 1917 gave striking evidence of diminished activity in the Far West, if the number of preaching points and other data may serve as criteria. One finds only three places mentioned that were not listed in 1900, namely Cove, Washington; Helena, Montana; and Tokay, California. Nineteen preaching points listed in 1900 were not to be found in the reports of 1917. At least two others, Missoula and Anaconda, Montana, had come and gone in the interval. In 1900 there were forty-four preaching points mentioned, in 1917 only twenty five. {30}

From the standpoint of active membership, the Western Norwegian-Danish Conference more than held its own in the period 1895-1917. While in 1895 the conference claimed 628 members, in 1917 there were 938, including 154 nonresidents. The number of church buildings declined, of course, with the decrease in preaching points, from thirty in 1895 to twenty-five in 1917. An indication of greater physical comfort for ministers and their families was an increase in the number of parsonages, from 7 to 25. No minister, it would seem, lacked a parsonage in 1917, there being only twenty-three men appointed in that year. The twenty-seven pastors of 1895 were not so fortunate.

Both district superintendents spoke cheerfully of the year 1917. For the California district, Martinus Nelson announced that among his 200 members $8,305 had been raised for various purposes, an average of $41 per member. For the Pacific district, C. J. Larsen pointed out that many young men were in the army but that membership had mounted nevertheless. The Pacific coast, he said, was yet in its childhood, with people moving about restlessly, some into the country and others to Alaska.

Like the American people in general, those of Norwegian [106] and Danish descent saw the First World War as a study in black and white. The German invasion of Belgium in 1914, the unrestricted submarine warfare of 1915 and 1917, the jingoistic utterances of the Kaiser, combined with a natural tendency to sympathize with Great Britain, all worked in a single direction.

The Western Conference, in its session of 1917, sent a pledge of loyalty to President Woodrow Wilson. And in 1918 a touching resolution of dedication, rather ornately phrased, followed:

One hundred and eighty-eight young men, noble peers, the choicest of our young manhood from our own congregations, saw the gleam on the mountain peaks of service, the opportunity for heroic deeds, and courageously rallied to the colors.

Inspired by the deeds of our forefathers, remembering the 15th Wisconsin Regiment and the grand history of our beloved republic, beholding a bleeding Belgium, a devastated France. . . . they went to stake their lives, their all, following the “Star Spangled Banner,” bringing honor to America, blessing to man kind, and Glory to God.

We do here and now dedicate ourselves to the cause of freedom and Christian democracy. {31}

In the absence of Bishop W. O. Shepard, because of the death of his son, C. J. Larsen was unanimously elected chairman of the annual conference of 1918. In his review of the activities for the year in the Pacific district, Larsen remarked, “Although we are discouraged over the fact that the world is writing its history in blood, we are thankful to God be cause we are a part of a nation that is fighting unselfishly for the triumph of righteousness and freedom in the world.” Patriotic meetings had been held through the district, he said, adding, “Patriotism is not dependent on birthplace but on principles and spirit.” Speaking for the conference rather than for the district alone, he announced that $620 had been collected for the war fund and that some of the 188 men in service had given their lives. On a more religious note he [107] concluded, “The Centenary drive is well organized. Some things the government cannot do. {32}

Larsen’s district report in 1919 re-emphasized wartime handicaps:

The demands of the military; the flu, which closed our churches for several months; the Centenary collections; and the church-press agitation concerning the dissolution of foreign-speaking conferences have added to the difficulty of the work. We are not attempting to build a Norway or a Denmark in this country. There are things that are greater than language, and they are the salvation of souls and love to God and our fellow men. We are not competing with the English-speaking churches. We are one with them in everything except language. {33}

Financially, the churches encountered both ups and downs in 1921-22. Larsen complained of a slump in Centenary contributions (a commemoration of one hundred years of American Methodist missionary endeavor) for the Pacific district. On the other hand, Martinus Nelson was pleased to report for his California district that the quota had been topped and that membership had increased by 30 per cent. The same district improved in Centenary giving in 1922 and continued its membership gains. The organization of four districts in 1922 (California, Oregon, Rocky Mountain, and Washing ton) suggests either an anticipation of continued growth or a more convenient distribution of labor. District superintendents, as before, carried pastoral responsibilities. {34}

Membership gains could have been better, in the opinions of Larsen and of Melvin L. Olson of Los Angeles. Larsen said that the greatest problem involved the young people, [108] most of whom preferred the English language in worship services. “Today, outside of the pulpit,” he conceded, “nearly all our ministerial work is conducted in English.” Melvin Olson cited a weakness of a different sort. Noting that many members were received by transfer from eastern churches, he deplored the fact that others sought freedom from their former church obligations. “Many who at one time were active in the East have cooled off out here,” he declared. It was not without reason, therefore, that F. A. Scarvie inquired, “Would it be advantageous for our work out here to dissolve our conference and go over to the Americans?” Abraham Vereide, more skilled in the use of the English language, had an answer: “We have hardly begun, although we are 34 years old on the coast. If we can’t do it in one language we can carry on in another.” {35}

C. J. Larsen’s retirement in 1922 was a milestone in the history of Norwegian-Danish Methodism on the Pacific coast. Vereide and C. August Peterson, Larsen’s venerable colleague, framed a fitting tribute to the seventy-three-year-old veteran. They recounted his forty-two years of active service. They saw him as a young man standing on the conference floor in Portland in 1889. At that time, they said, the work had been going on for seven years, and for the first two years he was alone. They retraced his hazardous mission in Alaska during the gold rush. “You are an artist,” they stated, “and may you take all the experiences of your long working day and paint from them a beautiful picture.” The Pacific Christian Advocate, an organ of American Methodism, also commented generously upon Larsen’s artistry, as well as “remarkable genius, combining exceptional ability as an evangelist and missionary with qualities as a leader and administrator.” His fine paintings of outdoor scenes, the Advocate mentioned, were to be found in luxurious homes [109] throughout the Northwest. He was credited with carving a seal of the state of California from wood representing the different kinds of trees in the state. It was displayed above the main gate of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, and then was placed in the museum of Golden State Park in San Francisco. For the twenty church structures built by Larsen, beginning with the one in Oakland, he was his own architect. In 1923 Willamette University conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of divinity. {36}

The achievements of the Western Conference are reflected in statistics as well as in personalities. The statistician’s report of 1907 indicates that nine churches had a combined membership of 752. The number of congregations rose rap idly, reaching twenty-four in 1919, but membership had risen to only 954. The peak number of churches was twenty-six, in 1928. The number of members probably never exceeded 1,300. Final statistics, for 1988, gave nineteen churches and 1,178 members. The conference dissolved in 1939. {37}

Sunday school and Epworth League (the young people’s organization) enrollments illustrate a similar rise and fall, with Sunday schools holding their own more successfully. The eighteen schools of 1907 with their 731 pupils grew to twenty-four schools in 1930 with 1,543 children and young people. In 1938 the number had fallen to seventeen schools and 1,150 pupils.

No Epworth League statistics are available for the earlier years, but by 1911 there were 514 members. The year 1924 marks the maximum in Epworth League strength, with a membership of 878. It declined to 519 by 1988. The number of chapters appears to have varied from twelve to fifteen. [110] Two Epworth League institutes were held every summer, one for the California district at Mount Hermon and the other for the Pacific Northwest district at Cove, Vashon Island, Washington. Originally Abraham Vereide purchased the Vashon Island tract for Seattle First Church. It was incorporated in 1918 as the Beulah Park Camp Meeting Association, for the benefit of all the churches. {38}

To some extent Epworth League energies were directed toward sailors’ missions, with pastors guiding the work. The variety of services offered may be observed from the report of Robert P. Petersen, superintendent of the California district. He announced that Andrew Odegaard had visited hundreds of sailors on ships anchored at San Francisco and in hospitals there and in Oakland. Odegaard had secured employment for some, had helped others to obtain citizenship papers, had taken care of their money, and had brought them into contact with the church, which was equipped with a fine reading room. Many attended prayer meetings and Sunday services. There was some teaching of the English language also. {39}

Frederick Engebretsen briefed the conference on the historical background of missionary work among seamen in San Francisco. Pastors in port cities, he said, were more or less preoccupied with sailors from the beginning. The San Francisco church was the first to request a full-time man for that purpose, and C. N. Hauge assumed the responsibility there in 1920. Three ministers and three laymen followed, each for a year or two, until in 1929 Engebretsen himself became the seamen’s pastor. {40}

For his work in the San Pedro Mission, on the coast south of Los Angeles, Engebretsen was awarded the Order of St. Olaf by King Haakon VII of Norway. That the work was reaching major proportions is revealed in Engebretsen’s report of 1935. He observed that Scandinavian vessels were [111] arriving in larger numbers. During that year 869 Norwegian and over 400 Swedish or Danish ships had anchored at San Pedro. Scandinavian seamen in the American merchant marine also received help. By 1986, plans for a parsonage were under way. “This is a place,” said Engebretsen, “where you will have a large congregation one Sunday and an entirely different one the next, both as to size and personnel; hence, the support must come largely from outside the local church.” {41}

Similar in purpose to the seamen’s mission was the Beth-any Home for Women in Los Angeles. Under O. A. Doblough a building several blocks from the church was rented in 1918. It provided a Christian environment for numerous Scandinavian servant girls. Miss Gyda Sollem donated her services as matron. In 1921 many applicants were turned away. The girls’ club of the church operated the home, which in 1922 provided shelter and comfort to 150 women. {42}

In the years 1924-30 more serious consideration was given to the possibility of expanding the Scandinavian Mission into Canada. Vereide, speaking for his Oregon-Washington district in 1924, explored the prospects of ministering in British Columbia, where C. N. Hauge had begun the work as early as 1903. Until 1923, pastors from the Western Norwegian-Danish Conference had been supported by the Canadian Methodist Church. Then the Scandinavians were invited to join the English churches, but they voted overwhelmingly to seek affiliation with the Norwegian-Danish organization. Thus the work became a mission, with episcopal approval. Said Vereide: “The work has prospered both in Vancouver and in Matsquie. I counted 42 newcomers one Sunday night on the front seats during my recent visit. Work has also be gun at Westminster and three other centers.” {43} [112]

Norwegian-Danish financial support of the Canadian venture proved to be impracticable. Melvin Olson reported in 1925 that the Wesleyan Methodists, then incorporated in the United Church of Canada, were supervising the work in British Columbia. In line with Olson’s suggestion, a conference committee recommended discontinuance of monetary sup port, partly because the United Church was able to assume responsibility and partly because of the difficulty of administering work across the international border. The Canadian church did aid the mission financially but depended upon men of the Norwegian-Danish connection to serve the immigrants. F. A. Scarvie took up the challenge in 1926. {44}

Opportunities for more effective missionary work in Canada took on a new complexion temporarily in 1928, when the Canadian church agreed to erect a building costing $75,000, of which the Norwegian-Danish Conference would raise $10,000. The proposal originated with the Norwegian-Danish organization. One reads of the pastoral work of Chr. Martinsen and Hegbarth Elvigen in 1928-29 in the Vancouver Mission, but little activity is mentioned after that date. The United Church of Canada authorized Martinsen to investigate conditions among the Scandinavians of Alberta, but no mission was established there. {45}

An incidental factor in connection with Canadian missions was that many immigrants in Canada had the United States as their ultimate destination. Under the national origins quota established by Congress in 1924, they had to wait a year or more before entering the country. According to the law, 2 per cent of the number of nationals of a given country resident in the United States in 1890 might enter annually after 1924. Obviously, the peoples of northern Europe were more favored by the quota than the nationals of southern and eastern Europe. When there were rumors of proposals to [113] change the law, Scandinavian Americans felt uneasy. The Western Conference registered its concern in a resolution to the effect that “the present quotas be retained after July 1, 1927.” The conference feared discrimination against northern and western Europeans. {46}

Methodist successes among Norwegian and Danish immigrants and their descendants on the Pacific coast gradually declined in the 1930’s, a decade of economic depression. Gone was some of the earlier optimism that had been encouraged by the heavy concentration of Scandinavian population. {47} Vanished also were the years of maximum monetary contributions as, for example, in 1927 when the Western Conference ranked first in all Methodism in World Service giving. {48} Indicative of a shrinking constituency was the sale of church property in Tokay in 1938. “For years,” said David C. Hassel, “we have been unable to do any work here. The old members have moved away, and our church has failed to reach the new people who have moved in.” Many of the later arrivals were Spanish-speaking people. At Tokay the Bethany Old People’s Home and forty acres of land purchased by the conference in 1913 were sold. At the annual meeting in San Francisco in 1939 the Western Norwegian-Danish Conference, with Bishop James C. Baker presiding, was dissolved. The once foreign-speaking congregations were transferred to the American conferences within whose bounds they were located. {49} [114]

To add a personal word to this bit of immigrant history: My parents were attracted to Methodism during a revival in 1885 in Drammen, when they were single and seventeen. Soon after arriving in this country, Father decided to enter the ministry. Blessed and burdened with a large family, he and Mother toiled in smaller congregations, most of them in Wisconsin. At length he received more remunerative appointments, including the editorship of Den kristelige talsmand and of its successor Evangelisk tidende. A number of the names mentioned above represent distinctive personalities whom we came to know as they called at our home and spoke in our churches in the Middle West.

It is not easy to re-create the warm and intimate fellow ship shared by this small company of immigrant Methodists. Like converts everywhere, they possessed an enthusiasm and a zeal that defy verbal description. Through their hymns, many of them taken over from Lutheranism, one catches something of their spirit. From the open windows on a Sun day morning the casual passer-by might hear the stately “Kirken den er et gammelt hus” or the stimulating “Stem i en sang, Guds Israel.” The Sunday evening service and the week-night class meetings and prayer meetings found the worshipers joining heartily in “Kan du synge den nye sang en?” or “Hvor deilig det er at møtes naar enne man vandrer frem.” On the Sundays when the district superintendent made his quarterly visits they gathered at the altar rail for holy communion to the strains of “Jeg er idag min Jesu gjest. {50}

Baptisms, confirmations, and funerals had their special hymns. Christmas tree festivals (juletræ fester) brought forth the joyous “Jeg er saa glad hver julekveld” and many others. Easter Sunday was the day for singing “Paaskemorgen sluk ker sorgen.” Spirits were lifted when, several times every [115] year, the pastor led in the graveside singing of “O tænk naar engang samles skal de frelstes menighed.” It was not uncommon on the following Sunday for the pastor to announce the singing of “Helgen her og helgen hisset er vi i Guds menighed” or perhaps “Tænk naar engang hver taage er forsvunden." {51}

Almost without fail, on special occasions like rallies, anniversaries, and the closing service of the annual conference session, people would sing, with all organ stops open, “Den himmeiske lovsang.” With the passage of years, newer and younger voices stumbled increasingly over the words while older members took their places among “Den store hvide flok.” {52}

Beginning with Carl J. Larsen’s organization of a Scandinavian congregation in Oakland in 1880, Methodist progress in the West was insured by strong personal leadership and by a steady influx of immigrants and easterners. Larsen and his colleagues, together with a loyal core of anonymous layfolk, witnessed the expansion of the original rather independent efforts into a mission conference and, later, the establishment of a fully recognized annual conference within the Methodist Episcopal Church. For a period of years the arrival of immigrants directly from Norway and Denmark stimulated the growth of the mission in the West. Eventually, however, charter members passed on, not always to be replaced by their second-generation sons and daughters, who tended to favor the English language and American ways. Norwegian-Danish Methodism on the Pacific coast, never formidable in numerical strength, nevertheless fulfilled an indispensable purpose, gaining recruits among the unaffiliated, preserving the faith for those who were committed, and preparing its members, and sometimes entire congregations, for participation in the broader activities of American Methodism.


<1> For the contents of this and the following paragraph the author is indebted to Ray Allen Billington, Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier, 515-517 (New York, 1949).
<2> Martin T. Larson, ed., Memorial Journal of Western Norwegian-Danish Methodism, 3, 17 (Portland, Oregon, 1944); this is a paper-bound booklet in the possession of the author. See also Martinus Nelson, “Fortieth Anniversary of the Norwegian-Danish Work on the Pacific Coast,” in Western Norwegian-Danish Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Journal and Yearbook, 27 (Seattle, 1934); Frederick Engebretsen, “Dr. C. J. Larsen-1849-1934,” in Journal and Yearbook, 22 (1935). This publication, in English, succeeded Forhandlings protokol for den vestlige norsk-danske aarskonferense (Seattle) in 1920. Both are filed in the library of Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Illinois.
<3> Larson, Memorial Journal, 4.
<4> Larson, Memorial Journal, 24; Andrew Haagensen, Den norsk-danske methodismes historie, 171 (Chicago, 1894).
<5> Historie, 168. Haagensen may be in error in referring (page 171) to the Port land congregation of 1882 as Norwegian-Danish, rather than Scandinavian. Several denominations, including the Reformed faiths and the Swedenborgians, had ministered in a limited way to the Scandinavian element. The first Scandinavian Lutheran church on the Pacific coast was organized in San Francisco in 1870. See Kenneth Bjork, “Hvistendahl’s Mission to San Francisco, 1870-75,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 16:9-11 (Northfield, 1950).
<6> Den christelige talsmand (The Christian Advocate-Chicago), May 28, 1884. The letter was written from Oakland, California. See also Haagensen, Historie, 168. Den christelige talsmand was the official weekly paper of the Norwegian Danish Conference in the Middle West. The spelling of the name was changed from Christelige to Kristelige in January, 1904. A file of this periodical is in Garrett Biblical Institute.
<7> This letter, dated September 15, is in Protokol over forhandhingerne ved den norsk-danske aarskonference af den Methodist Episcopale kirken, 40 (Chicago, 1888). See also “California,” in Den christelige talsmand, March 19, 26, and April 9, 1889. The Protokol is deposited in Garrett Biblical Institute.
<8> Haagensen, Historie, 170; Protokol over forhandlingerne, 9 (1890); Arne O. Nilsen, Central Methodist Church: A History (San Francisco, 1945). The latter is a golden anniversary booklet prepared by the pastor.
<9> Den christelige talsmand, July 23, October 15, 1889. The second article was entitled, “Behold How Great a Forest a Little Fire Can Ignite!”
<10> Larson, Memorial Journal, 27, 29, 30, 32, 33. The communities of Fairhaven and New Whatcom were officially merged under the name of Bellingham in 1903.
<11> Den christelige talsmand, October 29, 1889, November 3, 1891; H. P. Nelsen, in Martin T. Larson, Memorial Journal, 9. C. J. Larsen’s letter was from Seattle, October 11, 1889.
<12> Vidnesbyrdet (Portland, Oregon), December 26, 1895; C. August Peterson, “Mindeord. Peter Martin Hansen” (Memorial to Peter Martin Hansen), in Forhandlings protokol, 24 (Seattle, 1908). The files of Vidnesbyrdet have disappeared; a few copies were made available to the writer through friends. Thus it is necessary to rely largely upon Martin T. Larson’s brief but valuable Memorial Journal for a resumé of the work that took place around the turn of the century.
<13> Martinus Nelson, after his recovery, moved to Fresno County, California, where he supplied the Swedish Methodist Church of Kingsburg. He was elected mayor of Kingsburg but continued to preach at Pasadena and San Pedro. He retired in 1921 and died in 1939. See the obituary by Melvin L. Olson in Evangelisk tidende (Chicago), November 9, 1939.
<14> See F. A. Scarvie, “Christian J. Heckner,” in Journal and Yearbook, 38 (1929). Heckner was born in Porsgrund, Norway, in 1857 and died in Seattle in 1929. After he retired in 1914 he was a member of Emmanuel Church, Seattle.
<15> H. P. Nelsen, in Larson, Memorial Journal, 10. He deplored the merger. Den kristelige talsmand had been published in Chicago since 1876, and Østens missionær in Jersey City, New Jersey, since 1911. C. J. Larsen, superintendent of the Pacific district, reported that Vidnesbyrdet had five thousand readers in 1919; see Forhandlings protokol, 21 (1919).
<16> See Hangensen, Historie, 174-176; a historical summary in Journal and Yearbook, 21 (1917); Den christelige talsmand, September 23, 1890. Larsen’s letter was written from Seattle, September 11.
<17> Hangensen, Historie, 181; Den christelige talsmand, March 24, 1891. John L. Eriksen later became editor of Superior (Wisconsin) tidende. In the judgment of Carl W. Schevenius, who was pastor in Superior and in Duluth, Minnesota, and saw Eriksen frequently, the latter remained more Methodist than Unitarian.
<18> Haagensen Historie, 185.
<19> P. N. Melby to Egert M. Stangeland, editor of Vidnesbyrdet, January 17, 1893; from an undated clipping in the possession of the author.
<20> Haagensen’s account ends with the year 1894. Conference reports and minutes are available only for the years 1907-38, and the Journal and Yearbook for 1909-10 and 1912-16 is missing from the bound collection. See ante, footnote 12.
<21> Larson, Memorial Journal, 19, 21, 38; Arne O. Nilsen, Golden Anniversary (San Francisco, 1945); Raymond S. Werner, Golden Jubilee (Los Angeles, 1946); Minutes of the Montana district, P. N. Melby, secretary-an unpublished record filed in Garrett Biblical Institute. The present writer has copies of the Nilsen and Werner booklets. Arne O. Nilsen has been pastor of Central Church, San Francisco, since 1944.
<22> C. J. Larsen, “The Beginning of the Methodist Episcopal Mission in Alaska,” an article printed in English in Evangelisk tidende, October 25, November 1, 1923.
<23> Abraham Vereide and C. August Peterson, “To Rev. C. J. Larsen,” in Journal and Yearbook, 38 (1922); Engebretsen, in Journal and Yearbook, 22 (1985). Raymond Robins was born in 1873. He became head of the Northwestern University Settlement and was a member of the Chicago board of education. He ran for United States Senator from Illinois in 1914 and was chairman of the national convention of the Progressive Republican party in 1916. He disappeared mysteriously in the 1920’s. See Claude G. Bowers, Beveridge and the Progressive Era, 450, 488n (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1922); Who’s Who in America, 1916-17, 9: 2085 (Chicago, 1917).
<24> Larson, Memorial Journal, 29, 82; Den kristelige talsmand, October 13, 1904. One of Nelsen’s successors in Ballard, Lars Christian Knudsen, wrote to Carl A. Andersen, editor of Talsmand: “Our congregation here in Ballard consists in reality of friends who have moved in from the East, such as Calumet, Chicago, Milwaukee, Racine, and Manistee. So far about a third of the congregation I have served as pastor previously”; Den kristelige talsmand, February 10, 1916.
<25> “Den kristelige talsmand, June 7, 1906.
<26> Forhandlings protokol, 18 (1907).
<27> Forhandlings protokol, 10 (1908), 16 (1911).
<28> Forhandlings protokol, 14 (1907); Den kristelige talsmand, October 9, 1913. Following the General Conference of 1908, the title “district superintendent” replaced that of “presiding elder.”
<29> H. P. Nelsen, February 2, 1911, from Portland, in Den kristelige talsmand, February 16, 1911.
<30> Forhandlings protokol for the years 1912-16 is not available.
<31> Forhandlings protokol, 7 (1917), 15 (1918). The resolution carried no signatures.
<32> Forhandlings protokol, 5 (1918); Vidnesbyrdet, quoted in Den kristelige talsmand, October 24, 1918. The Methodist Centenary, authorized by the general conference of 1916, observed the beginning of foreign missionary work with a financial drive beginning at the close of the First World War. See Raymond J. Wade, in Ralph E. Diffendorfer, ed., World Service of the Methodist Episcopal Church, v (Chicago, 1923).
<33> Forhandlings protokol, 20 (1919). A sign of changing needs was the shift from Teutonic to Roman type in the conference minutes of 1911.
<34> Journal and Yearbook, 19 (1921), 20, 35 (1922). Robert P. Petersen, superintendent, reported that 141 per cent of the Centenary quota had been paid in the California district in 1922 and that there had been a membership gain of 44 persons.
<35> Journal and Yearbook, 24 (1921), 36 (1923); Den kristelige talsmand, June 23, 1921; Evangelisk tidende, May 17, 1923. Vereide spoke as superintendent of the Washington district. During the First World War he was a Y.M.C.A. worker at Fort Lawton, Warden, and Camp Lewis, in addition to continuing as pastor in Seattle; Den kristelige talsmand, June 27, 1918.
<36> Vereide and Peterson, in Journal and Yearbook, 38 (1922); article from Pacific Christian Advocate (Portland, Oregon), reprinted in Evangelisk tidende, October 12, 1922. See also Evangelisk tidende, July 5, 1923. Larsen lived in Port land after his retirement; he died in 1934. See a memorial to him by C. August Peterson in Evangelisk tidende, June 28, 1934.
<37> The 1907 edition of Forhandlings protokol was the earliest accessible to this writer. See p. 26. The statistician’s reports of the late 1920’s are difficult to read. because of the marginless binding. In 1924 there were 1,257 members reported; Forhandlings protokol, 45 (1924).
<38> Larson, Memorial Journal, 12.
<39> Journal and Yearbook, 27 (1924).
<40> Journal and Yearbook, 24 (1931).
<41> Golden Jubilee: Bethany Methodist Church, 1896-1946, 30, 36 (Los Angeles, 1946); Journal and Yearbook, 17 (1935). Engebretsen served as Norwegian vice consul for many years.
<42> Larson, Memorial Journal, 20; Golden Jubilee, 18, 19, 21.
<43> Journal and Yearbook, 22 (1924). Hauge served four years; he was succeeded by Ole Heggen (1907-11) and E. L. Nanthrup (1911-19); Larson, Memorial Journal, 31, 39.
<44> Olson was superintendent for the Pacific northwest district. See Journal and Yearbook, 26 (1925), and Olson’s report in Journal and Yearbook, 31 (1926).
<45> Olson’s report in Journal and Yearbook, 22 (1928); David C. Hassel, in Journal and Yearbook, 26 (1929); Chr. Martinsen, “Lidt fra Canada” (A Little from Canada), in Evangelisk tidende, January 28, 1930.
<46> Journal and Yearbook, 39 (1926); Hassel’s report, in Journal and Yearbook, 26 (1929).
<47> Melvin Olson referred to the “prime opportunity” of Seattle First Church in 1925. Seattle, he said, had twenty thousand Norwegians and ten thousand Danes and was destined to become the greatest metropolis of the Pacific North west. He estimated a population of a hundred thousand Norwegians and Danes in Washington; report of the district superintendent in Journal and Yearbook, 26 (1925).
<48> The conference had given $4.46 per capita to World Service and $49.80 per capita for all purposes; Journal and Yearbook, 13 (1927); World Service, successor to the Centenary movement, was designed to meet the increased need of home and foreign missions. It began in the 1920’s and continues to the present day.
<49> Journal and Yearbook, 33 (1920), 15 (1938); Larson, Memorial Journal, 22. For an announcement of the original purchase of the Tokay property see Den kristelige talsmand, October 9, 1913.
<50> Free translations of the titles of these hymns are, respectively, “The Church Is an Old House” (usually sung in English as “Built on a Rock the Church Doth Stand); “Join in a Song, God’s Israel”; “Can You Sing the New Song?”; “How Lovely It Is to Meet as One Journeys On Alone”; “Today I Am the Guest of My Jesus.”
<51> Translations are: “I Am So Happy Every Christmas Eve”; “Easter Morning Dispels the Sorrow”; “Oh, Think of When the Congregation of the Redeemed Shall One Time Gather”; “Saints Here and Saints Beyond Are We in God’s Congregation”; “Oh, Think of the Time When Every Tear Is Gone.”
<52> “The Heavenly Song of Praise.” and “The Great White Host.”

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