It was a milestone quietly celebrated by its parishioners, but one rarely seen in today’s world.
Taylor’s Church of the Good Shepherd commemorated its 90th anniversary on Aug. 28, the exact day in 1932 that it opened its doors for the first time.
The building of the church, though, comes with a story and one born from tragedy.
“Otto Hoffstrom, the owner of a sawmill, was crossing the river with his four daughters,” opened Rev. Christopher Samsom in explaining its roots.
“When coming off the ferry, he put the car into reverse instead of forward when he got to the other side of the river. The vehicle landed in the water.”
“While he was able to swim to safety, his daughters were not.” Lost were Lillian, Agnes, Florence, and Olga. During a deep period of grief, Rev. Samsom said Hoffstrom turned to God in prayer.
“In thanksgiving for his daughters’ lives, and as a mark of what that time meant for him, he donated the wood and $500 to build the church you see here today.”
The structure took all of 18 days to build and other than the addition of a basement and indoor plumbing, it’s remained true to its history.
“It was consecrated on Aug. 28, 1932, by Bishop George Rix of Caledonia. It was Bishop Rix who suggested the name…that the souls of his daughters would be trusted to a good shepherd.”
“A little-known fact, most of the people who attended the church in 1932 were young children,” added Rev. Samsom.
As part of the landmark day, the church service included a thanksgiving Eucharist, an event that commemorates the Last Supper. The day also featured the dedication of two stained-glass dove light boxes that now hang at the front of the church.
As it moves into its 10th decade, and out from under a pandemic, Rev. Samsom is optimistic the small church at the foot of the north Taylor Hill will remain a part of the area’s history for years to come.
“It’s a testament that god’s faithfulness has preserved this community and we hope will continue to preserve it for another 90 years.”
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