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Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

ELCA — Roseville, Minnesota — Established 1957

50 Years

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Anniversary Memories

Memories of Prince of Peace — 50 Years

Prince of Peace Logo Following are messages to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, as provided by attendees to the church's 50th Anniversary Dinner on October 14, 2007.

I was the 1st person—baby—baptized at Prince of Peace.

—Dede Carr

Memories of the Old Barn on the lower west edge of the property needed to be torn down—Lars and a good friend did the work—saved the lumber to build each of them a garage fro their new homes on Edgewater St. in Shoreview. Still Standing.  A huge project—well worth the effort.

—Lars Overskei

Lars was Head User (first) — and recalls Sundays’ going to the school to open the doors to check that everything was in order for our Sunday morning service.  As Teacher, Coach, and Athletic Director he had keys and knowledge of what needed to be done to have a smooth running worship service.

—Arlowene Overskei

I am taking my children as guests in appreciation for how they supported us in the beginnings of P. of P.

—Emogene Bragstad (Jacobsen)

So many memories for both Bob and I.  Bob was baptized here, we both were confirmed, then married and celebrated the baptisms of our first two children at PoP.  One of the more unusual memories occurred in approximately 1976 on a trip to the All Lutheran Youth Gathering in New Orleans.  Pastor Gary Benson and Solveig Borlaug drove two 15 passenger vans.  On our way back, we stopped to see the Great Arch in St. Louis.  Before even getting out to the van, Bob’s contact lens inverted in his eye and got lodged deep in his eye socket.  I rode in the ambulance with Bob - Pastor Gary followed behind in the van and Solveig and the rest of the group stayed at the arch.  The hospital staff removed Bob’s contact and we made it back before the last ride to the top of the arch.  Prince of Peace was a great place to grow up and will always be home in our hearts.

—Robert and Marlene Carr

Our two daughters weddings—Lisa and Jon Lane on July 26, 1987.  Just had their 20th Anniversary.  Debra and Dan Martin on August 5, 1990.  Just had their 17th Anniversary. Children’s baptisms and confirmations.

—John and Rieta Kopas

The week we returned from our honeymoon (August 1957), Bob Bragstad was at our door and invited us to Prince of Peace.  We came and POP became our first church home.  We fondly remember the warm hospitality of the Bragstads and the interesting — even exciting — Bible studies led by John Victor Halvorson.

—Dick and Barbara Peterson

Our production of the Christmas Carol play and the dinner before.  1980’s Mrs. Hagander’s choir.

— Karrie Fox

Youth trip to Denver, Co.  I was “Mary” one year in the Christmas program.

— Gretchen Grenter

The marriage of our two daughter: Karrie and Doug on October 26, 1991.  Gretchen and Jim on July 11, 1992.  The Baptisms of our grandchildren, Trevor Fox on August 29, 1993, Melonie Fox and Leah Grenter on the same Sunday, December 1, 1996.

— Deanna and Jerry Rowe

Insert form March 2, 1986 Prince of Peace bulletin.

Thanks to Bob Melbye for his God given handiwork in building us a credence table to be used in our worship.  The material was given by the Confirmation Class of 1985; and by a friend of the congregation in honor of a member.

— Robert Melbye, Charter member

I have many treasured memories of growing up at Prince of Peace in the 1960’s.

  • Planting the evergreens on the hill with my father Ken Dirkzwager and other church members.
  • Luther League events
  • Junior Choir
  • Confirmation classes with Pastor Bragstad
  • VBS
  • Memories of seeing my mom, Marian Dirkzwager, work on weddings with the wedding committee.
  • My husband’s and my wedding at Prince of Peace October 15, 1977.

Pastor Bragstad was the soul of diplomacy.  A woman came to him in distress, crying and telling him that she was dying.  She told Pastor that she had a dog and cat.  “What is God’s policy on animals in heaven?  I don’t want to go to heaven unless they will be there someday."

Pastor replied, “God is such a loving God, he certainly will have your pets go to heaven too.”

— Janelle Lande

Prince of Peace—my church home for almost 40 years —

  • so many talented members who give generously of time and talents
  • I have been blessed by singing in choir under so many talented directors and with many talented musicians
  • many memorable Bible Studies

A memory from one of Dr. Rollie Martinson — ”A Christian Community" — A place to know and be known, A place to love and be loved, A place to forgive and be forgiven.”

I pray that Prince of Peace will continue to be such a place.

— Maria Larson

As far as I know, I am the only member of Prince of Peace who has sung under the direction of every choir director and still an active member of our present Chancel Choir.

— Mazie Niebeling

I enjoyed my years working in the church office.  It was a great way to get to know so many of the Prince of Peace members.  It was great when the copy machine and folding machines worked as they were suppose to.  I enjoyed our weekly staff meetings.

Adult Ed classes were/are always a great learning experience.

— Linda Olson

On the trip to St. Louis for the 2000 National Lutheran Youth Gathering we went to a dance on the top floor of a downtown hotel.  Hanging out with Alex, Jesse, and Karl was a great time.  The next day we won an obstacle race in the Convention Center.  The whole trip was great!

— Erik Olson

In 1983 or 84 the Youth Choirs performed 100% Chance of Rain.  At the end when animals exited the Arc, a number of babies and pre-schoolers came out with the “Big Kids” dressed as bunnies.  Our daughter, Anna, was one of the bunnies—she wasn’t walking yet.  She was carried by Tricia and Angela Simmering from her babysitting family.

—Jim and Liz Ericksen

We have very special memories of our sons’ confirmations at Prince of Peace.  Our oldest is pictured with a red stole showing symbols of memories for him and a second son actually preached at his confirmation!  We were surprised as he spoke with authority about the Gospel working in his life.  Many beautiful wonderful people at Prince of Peace.

—Val and Paul Swenson

My best memory is of the circle I belonged to.  Phyllis and Barbara Bernards were in the circle and I made lasting friendships.

—Marge Selden

Parking Lot Sweeper.  Did a lot of ushering.

—Ron Selden

I remember the “Sunday School House” being so cold in the winter that I could see my breath.

Don Oberdorfer, as my Sunday School teacher, was the closest the Lutheran Church had to “Fire and Brimstone” — and I still Love the man dearly to this day!

—Jim Carr

I remember our first break-in.  The gold cross on the altar was stolen!  Pastor Bragstad said afterward—”Guess what? It wasn’t gold!”

At camp Lyria was teaching a class, she said: “Tell me what Jesus means to you?” No one spoke, so she said “sing hymn #40 (I Love to tell the Story).”  We all sang, and she said: “what a bunch of liars you are.”  We had to agree!


One of my earliest memories here was the Saturday when the men (and my dad too) put up the paneling behind the altar to form the cross.  This was also the first time I had seen a Skill Saw.

—Rev. Roger Claxton

Our family moved to Roseville in August, 1960.  We moved into our home on a Thursday.  On Friday a.m. Pastor Bragstad was at our front door.  We sat on unpacked boxes.  He invited the five of us to visit PoP.  On Sunday A.M. we attended the service. We never visited another church and have been loyal members since then.

—Mae Bush

Adult Ed on Sept. 16, 2007—Filling a white board four times with a list of everything we are thankful for after 50 years as God’s people.

—Barry Brahier

When Halvor Nelson built the symbol in a large version for the sign that now stands outside.  He built it in the workshop of a company on Lexington Ave and then had to move it down to church once it was complete.  He moved it on a Saturday and it just so happened it was during the “Slice of Shoreview” parade and the sculpture ended up traveling through a bit of the parade.  I also remember that they started the “official” building of the sign after a church service and the children carried bricks down to the site of the sign.

Going on a retreat that Pastor Tim lead regarding simplifying your life.  At the retreat Lryria Doerring wanted to have a picture of herself sliding down the hill in an inner tube so we had her sit in the inner tube and got her picture.

Another memory is when we did the display of the ripples we each make on the world.  During the service we were handed a cut out drop of water and wrote one thing we had done that week to make a difference on someone’s life and then they were all posted in the hallway so we could see the impact the congregation made in the world that week.


3 years ago (2004) there was a knock on our door and Pastor Anita needed help as her car had broken down.  She walked in though our door and a few months later we were members of PoP.

Our daughter’s baptism at PoP in August 2006.

—Asitha and Natasha Sandanayake

I remember the good Bible studies lead by John Victor Halverson

We remember the good Bible studies we had at the Bragstad house.  Emmie was the best fire starter I’ve ever known.

—Don and Myrt Hambelton

Special Bible studies in the back room where I felt really loved and learned how special Jesus was going to be in my life.  Pastor Eaves and the whole youth group bowing in prayer.  Also, coming back to my own church to be married in 1978.

—Cindy Hambleton (Ortman)

I had my first cigarette in the church parking lot.  Luckily I got sick!

—Barb Lundeen

“Dish towel”, Cherub choir robes, and Mrs. Ronarude


I remember that every other year Eileen Claxton was my Sunday School teacher. Eileen moved up 2 grades every two years so she could teach Karen’s class, and then, Roger’s.  Roger and I were in the same grade - thus, Eileen was my teacher three times!

—Sara Bush Drinane

When painting gym ceiling on scaffolding some one said to me that this is as close to heaven your going to get, Jim.

—Jim Goepfert

Two particular good memories:

The multigenerational music service, where young, old, and those in between gathered, sang, and acted—all in praise of our Lord.  Great experience.

The baptism of our son was a wonderfully poignant moment, where the congregation as a whole welcomed our son into the Christian family.  The conclusion of everyone singing “Jesus Loves Me” is quite appropriate.

—Damien Riehl

When I lived in Salt Lake City, I attended Our Saviors Lutheran.  A wonderful, warm, friendly church.  This was especially important in this city.  One Sunday, the minister said a pastor form MN was visiting and that we should meet.  Pastor Benson told us about his church back in Roseville and said if we ever moved back to MN, to check it out.  He said it was wonderful, warm and friendly church which it turned out to be!  I’ve been a member here ever since I returned.

—Marvel Jordon

While assembling our 50th Photo directory, I came across a photo of our family joining Prince of Peace on New Member Sunday.  The photo captures my second-grade age daughter Geneva, running full stride to come to the front of the church and be welcomed. The smile of joy on her face is clear and tangible as she raced to join her new family in Christ.  I treasure our belonging and the love and security our church adds to our life.

—Barb Lyman

We got married and danced in the gym.

—Faith and Bob

Finding and marrying my husband.


Probably the funniest and most embarrassing memory is about me and Don Birkeland in an Adult Ed. session one Sunday about 20 years ago.  It involved two adults acting like little kids—we almost broke the pew.  You’ll have to ask Don or me how that happened!

—Karlind Moller

Having a Christmas tea for all the women of the church.  It was neat to see all the different cups people brought and the stories that went with each cup.  The best part was seeing and hearing two women act out the story “A Cup of Christmas Tea.”

—Liz Lauterbach

My most memorable times at Prince of Peace are centered around the youth group, especially and the trips out to Wyoming to provide service to members of the Wine River Reservation and later to Denver and Fort Collins, CO.  Both of those experiences out West provided a strong foundation for me in respect to faith and my responsibility to give service to those in need.

—Heather Jordan

Tues. morning breakfasts with the youth before school—for bible study and breakfast.  And Betty Nuyhus' pancake recipe which Judy and I still enjoy.

Pastor Bragstad’s funeral—When president John Kuphal started the service by saying “Praise God!” (this was a positive note to celebrate his life)

Pastor Bragstad saying “The church is a good place to fish from.”

—Eldon Eddy

Meeting with the computer/website committee and seeing the evolution of the church website.  It is amazing to see the difference it has made!

—Raun Lauterbach

After visiting several churches in the area, I decided to join Prince of Peace—because of the friendliness of the people—and especially the music program.  I joined—but was singing in the choir before that happened.  I think that was in 1979(?).

—Roger Hintze

My first experience at PoP was joining the choir in singing the Messiah for the Christmas concert.  Kay Johnson (and indeed the whole choir) were so kind and welcoming to me—a very rusty alto– that I decided to become a member.

—Bonita Eliason

We remember our 2 daughters weddings performed by Pastor Formo. (We see he is here tonight!) Lisa and Jon's 20th Anniversary was this year.  Debbie and Dan—17th Anniversary this year.

Pastor Sponheim concluding one of his sermons with the words “He is in you, let him work.”

The many Gathering services although informal, had a special feel to them.  Small but close, informal but inspiring.

—Bill Johnson

When I had by pass surgery, Pastor Tim Nelson called the hospital to say Anne Haugan was calling the whole congregation to pray for me.  Vern, my husband, told Tim “We usually don’t call everyone when someone is sick.  Ask her to call only the choir and her circle.”  Tim called back a few minutes later and said, “Its too late! The calls are already being made!”  In the end, we were thankful for all the congregation prayers.

—Birgitta Rice

Having the honor and privilege to represent Prince of Peace during visits to our sister congregation in Bomalang'ombe Tanzania—those have been so special.

But the best memories are the joys and blessings of meeting Caryn at Prince of Peace and getting married at Prince of Peace!

—Jim Josephson

I really appreciate the warmth and fellowship with the members of the P of P family. Coming from a large Chicago church, “Holy Name Cathedral” where most people were so busy with professions—myself included—it is wonderful to find a community church with people who find time for church activities.  I am thankful for the friendship and worship.

—Kenneth Thomas

So many!

Senior choir, singing in Contemporary Worship, Bell Choir, Council, call committees, wonderful people, getting married here, Summer Wednesday services, Bomalong’ombe Tanzania!

—Caryn Josephson

My dad remembers when he and Halvor Nelson used to change the light bulbs in the first sanctuary—no one else would climb the old rickety ladders to do it!

—Carl (Bill) Storm

Luther League and fun games there...playing “Wink—um” with Pastor Bragstad leading us.

Sunday School in the pews with many classes in the pews altogether.

My sister, Linda, and I sang a duet every summer for special music.  We were the “Storm girls.”

—Christine (Storm) Anderson

Being in my sisters wedding as the flower girl.


I have so many memories—Melissa crying in VBS at age 3 and refusing to sing in Sunday School– Liz Ericksen told me not to worry that she’d sing when she was ready.  Now she sings and directs children’s choir.  Weddings and dances for Bob and Faith, Melissa and Ryan, and Roy and me (no dance).  Activities with the youth group and attending youth gatherings in Atlanta (with Melissa) and San Antonio (with Sarabeth).  Many choir activities—so much fun over the years.  We moved to Indy a year ago—This church will always be a special place in my life.

My dad’s last pastoral act was to baptize Margaret (with Pastor Vern) in a beautiful outdoor service in July 1998.

—Cathy Sneen Canfield

I’m thankful for the mentors who encouraged me (this scarred little rabbit just off the farm) and then gave praise that made me feel I had something to offer.  And with the help of the Lord and of course those mentors was able to chair many events, etc. Thank you all.

Mentoring is an important ministry

— anonymous

When I was 10 years old my family became charter members of PoP.  I remember going to Sunday School in an old white house that was on the church property.  And I remember my teachers, Mrs. Holmgren and Mrs. Halverson.  But best of all was Pastor Robert Bragstad who confirmed me and brought me to “finally” understand who “Jesus” really was.  I thank the Lord for PoP for giving me the most blessed Christian education ever.  Years later my Mother’s funeral was from PoP and it was a great praise to the Lord as she was one of his best servants.  And Bob Witt sang her favorite song “Amazing Grace.”  To this day I can still here him sing that song. I thank the Lord for my up bringing in the church.

—In Christ Linda Storm Welin

I believe I was the first woman (age 22 fresh out of college) on the church council. As they went around to vote, I cast my “yes” vote.  “No” I was told, you can’t vote.”  I said , “Why?” “Because you are a woman.”  I was to take notes and be the secretary.  I was upset.  My mother said I couldn’t quit because I’d made a commitment.  Ok, I said, I won’t quit but I’m not signing up for year 2.

—Christine (Storm) Anderson

During the summer we love to go as a family to Family Camp on the Presbyterian Clearwater National Forest.  The weekend is always so special because we get “Quality Time” with each other and get to share them with other PoP Parishioners. It is a great way grow in our Faith and Love for each other.  We feel very blessed that POP offers this to busy families.  Families come in all shapes and sizes so everyone is welcome.

—Jon, Amy, Jacob, and Michael Lentsch

  • Men’s group retreats (Lutheran Brotherhood)
  • Book Nook—book sales on Sunday morning.  Called the Book Pedlar by Don Hambelton
  • Putting up the crosses on the east lawn for Easter and sunrise service
  • Getting stuck in the mud one spring in the parking lot and being pulled out by Carl Landholm

—Paul Thompson

I have wonderful memories of summer camps—outlaw Ranch with Kari (Mortenson) Theisen and Karin (Tatley), made some new friends, Wilderness Canoe Base with Debbie Teig as a leader and sleeping in a tent like sardines when it was raining and our sleeping bags were soaking wet and the boys like Ralph Sponheim talked about slugs.  It was a lot of fun canoeing, though, and portaging).  Also, I loved Junior Choir with miss Ronnerud.  Kari (Mortenson) and I were in it together.

—Kirstin Thompson

Pastor Bragstad was a Navy Chaplain and could relate to the WWII and Korean war veterans.  He loved trees and enjoyed their presence on the church grounds.  As Council chair, a new pastor was called and he came on a motorcycle.  Welcoming Pastor Gary was unique.

—Curtis Norenberg

In 1968 when I came to Prince of Peace and began subbing in the office we were in a room (partially still here), then moved next door to a smaller room and finally to the current location, which is still too small for an office (machines getting bigger and more numerous).  Somehow the work always got finished.

—Ardella Norenberg

6AM Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday out side on the Hill.  In front w/3 crosses on the hill.

—Claude Bragstad

Luther League on Wed. nights.  All the high school age kids came for fellowship, hayrides, and service projects!  Also vividly remember planting the pine trees east of the church on a Sat. morning with several church Families.  Mostly, I remember the solid Christian people at this church. Thank you!

—Kay Overskei Halvorson

So many wonderful memories: Bible School, Cherub Choir, Confirmation Classes with Pastor Bragstad… taking notes on Sunday sermon, memorizing the catechism; the books of the bible.  Youth group, friends, a place that feels like “home.”

—Mary (Overskei) Gazich

Had many of wonderful fond memories here at PoP. (It’s like coming home).  The Choir—The fellowship Dinner—All of the tremendous Time with the Bragstads—Gary and Sarah Besser—Gordy and Dee Johnson—These were the most precious time of our lives and I praise the Lord for being a part of Prince of Peace.

—Bob Witt

Pastor Gary Benson at a talent show singing “Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of Life.”

—Jerene Mortenson

In March of 1993, my parents (James and Barbra Lauterbach) relocated to WI taking us children into the unknown.  We were all very sad to leave our family and friends here, in town.  A couple of weeks later, we came back to celebrate Easter Sunday with my grandparents.  That Sunday, Pastor Ron Olsen called the children up for his “children’s sermon.”  Anxiously , I walked up to the front, and he said “Hey Em” as though I had never left.  I still feel his warmth when I think of that story.

—Emily Lauterbach

When Rub Botnen quit making Communion and Baptism cloths, I was asked if I would be interested in taking it over.  Well I did.  I could sew in the evenings, not knowing I would have 5 grandchildren that would be baptized with the towels I made.

—Phyllis Bernards

I remember Jim Goepfert making coffee for the fellowship time between service—which I hear he’s still doing faithfully!  The caffeine boost was much appreciated by the interim pastor!

—Bob Linstrand

Thank you for the Love, Support, and Fellowship in Music, My Marriage, Our Youngest’s Baptism, our Oldest’s Marriage, After 9/11/01 and Music!

—Roy Canfield

I learned recently form my sister Barbara that Dad couldn’t carry a tune.  I always sat next to Dad in church and sang along.  No wonder I’m not in the choir now!

—Karen Carr

Meeting my wonderful wife for the first time after an August Wed. night outdoor service.

—Bill Thornton

Fifty wonderful years full of beautiful memories.  I couldn’t pick one year over another.  We had a great time raising a wonderful family at Prince of Peace.

—Lois Carr

My most memorable moment is the first day my husband and I attended Prince of Peace.  We had been “Church shopping” for quite some time, looking for a church to make our home and become members.  Pastor Rogness was preaching that day, and it was the best sermon we’d ever heard.  It was interesting, relevant, and he spoke with no notes!  We knew right away this was where we belonged.

—Paige Riehl

Doing bulletins on the mimeograph and folding them for Sunday Service.  Also, did the typing. Taught 3rd grade Sunday school class.

—Gladys Stratmoen

My favorite memory is one that was only discovered several years ago… I’ve always loved the Camp Wapo retreats and lived every moment to its fullest while there—even at night.  I remember being part of the group that snuck out at night… And my husband remembers being part of the group that raided the rooms while we were out!!!

—Heather Thornton

I remember Pastor Bragstad coming to our house before the front step was placed. He told us we had gone to PoP long enough to join.  We told him Paul wasn’t Lutheran.  So we joined a new members class and Paul became Lutheran and has been active since about ‘59 or ‘60.

—Carol Thompson

Summer 2002. The Jr. and Sr. High youth made their first trip to Bay Lake Camp.  We built a sport storage shed on the beach and a deck on the Dining Hall.  As we prepared to leave the island I found the youth sitting on the lawn staring at the deck.  I heard one of them say, “Can you believe we built that.  This was the best trip ever.”  All of them returned for a number of years - “Building is the best.”

—Audrey Fairchild-Ehm

Thank God for the Prince of Peace Responders and all their generous kind acts.


I have many special memories of growing up in a warm, caring church family.  Special memories include cherub choir, summer bible school, confirmation with Pastor Bragstad, Junior league and going on hayrides, bowling, etc.  Many fond memories are still with me many years later!

—Carol Overskei Baranauckus

In 4th grade, my mom told me “you better sing solo loudly, your mic could go out and no one would hear your!”  I said “That will never happen!”  And it did—at the Christmas program for my solo only.  And the congregation heard me.  Thanks to my mom.


  • Wonderful monthly meetings of the ALCW (Women's Org.) - full of educational programs, inspiration and fellowship.
  • Annual Talent Shows and Root Beer Floats Events to raise funds to support a St. Paul Inner City Street Chaplain.
  • Garden Small Interest Group - hoeing each other's gardens
  • Adult Education with a variety of excellent resource persons and a packed gymnasium of those attending.

Anne Haugan