IS HIS STORY LIVED IN US AND THROUGH US
A HUMBLE BEGINNING
In the middle of World War II, Sioux Falls was growing rapidly and in 1943, Pastor Herman Rossow received a call to start a new church. In the middle of a war, there were no buildings available in Sioux Falls to rent or relocate. Eventually, a vacant church in Elk Point, SD, was found that could be purchased and moved to Sioux Falls.
It was a great solution, but the War Production Board (WPB) was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt to regulate the production and allocation of materials and fuel during World War II. They ruled the against this project because the cost would exceed the $1000 limit.
When it seemed all hopes of a new church plant were dashed, an appeal was made in person to the WPB. Moving the Elk Point church was again denied BUT we were granted permission to begin construction of a basement to serve as a church.
Our story began in a humble basement.
NO TIME WASTED
The very next day, May 24, 1944, excavation began, and the basement church was completed in August.
A NAME WITH MEANING
An early quote aptly explains why the name, Memorial, was chosen. “It will be, at least in great part, a memorial of love and mission mindedness of God’s children.”
SO IT BEGAN
The first service on September 3, was attended by 26 people. Sunday School began the next week with 23 children.
By 1945, membership had grown to 86 with 45 Sunday School students.
It didn’t take very long before women’s and men’s groups were formed, and confirmations and baptisms were taking place in our young church family. By 1948, membership had grown to 100.
MOVIN’ ON UP
In 1953, we moved up a story when our sanctuary was built above the current basement. At that time, additional property was also purchased to plan for growth and expansion.
In 1978, the forethought of that earlier leadership to purchase land, offered us the opportunity to add much needed space to our church building and parking areas.
OUTGROWING OUR HOME
In 1991, we realized our current ‘home’ wouldn’t be able to support our steady growth into the future. Seven acres of additional land was purchased on South Western Avenue to be used for future building.
MARKING 50 YEARS
1994, we celebrated 50 years of ministry, however, that celebration was not the end of an era. It was the beginning of a new step in the life of Memorial Lutheran Church. It was that same year we began a capital campaign to raise funds to build on our new property.
IF YOU BUILD IT…HE WILL COME
During the many years of ministry, Memorial had faithful, dedicated pastors and church workers serving alongside our members. While we were beginning to plan and prepare for an eventual move to a new location, our sole pastor, Pastor Tom Gudmundson, accepted a call to another church.
You would think for any normal church, that would have put a stop to building plans. Not so with a church with a name that held the meaning: “A memorial of love and mission mindedness of God’s children.” We heard God’s call for us to be in mission and expand our reach into a new and growing part of Sioux Falls. We were ready to move out in faith to build a church even while in the process of calling a new pastor.
With our part time Vacancy Pastor, our small Staff and the Building Committee, plans to build continued. It reminded us of a line from a famous movie with our own little twist: “If you build it…he will come!”
After 23 months of waiting and building…he came! Pastor Aaron Asmus was installed in August of 1999 and our first church service was held in our new building on October 10th.
Our history is more than just a bunch of dates on a calendar or a list of accomplishments. Our history tells the story of the character of our family called Memorial Lutheran Church.
In our character, we see:
When we made a commitment to build a new facility, it’s beginning and completion didn’t rest on one person or on certain conditions to be met. We built because God placed it on our hearts to build. It was a commitment that came with the mission of reaching people with His love. It was a step…no…a giant leap of faith characteristic of this family of God.
From a tiny group of people meeting in a basement church in 1944 to 738 members by 2007…growth has been built into the fabric of Memorial Lutheran.
With growth came the constant need for additional space. In 2009, our Worship Center.was expanded and The BackYard (Children’s Ministry area) and The Garage (Student Ministry area) opened their doors.
In 2017, our membership neared 1000 and we began the process to call an Associate Pastor of Discipleship. On June 30, 2019, Pastor Doug Slavens was installed as Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Memorial.
Growth is part of who we are! We have come to recognize, as the city of Sioux Falls grows, so does the family of Memorial Lutheran Church
The chief comment we receive from Visitors and New Members is how warm and friendly the people of Memorial are. We do not take that compliment lightly and encourage each person in our church family to be that smiling face to welcome people into the doors of our ‘home’.
MORE WINDOWS THAN DOORS
Church isn’t just about us and what we do inside the doors of this building. We challenge our Memorial family to look through our windows to see those outside our walls who need to know about Jesus.
IS HIS STORY
LIVED IN US AND THROUGH US