Luther College hosts a shared worship service in celebration

ELCA Churches of Decorah celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lutheran Congregations in Decorah

The Luther College congregation is hosting a shared worship service to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lutheran congregations in Decorah at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, in the Center for Faith and Life on Luther's campus.

ELCA churches in Decorah, including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church, Decorah Lutheran Church and Luther College Student Congregation, will worship together with a festival setting of Holy Communion.

The Rev. Harold Usgaard, bishop emeritus of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, will serve as guest preacher. William Kuhlman, Luther professor emeritus, will serve as organist. A newly commissioned hymn by Luther faculty Carol Gilbertson and Gregory Peterson will be sung for this festival liturgy.

Congregation members, including children, are welcome to join the Festival Choir, directed by Jennaya Robison, Luther assistant professor of music and conductor of Aurora and Cathedral Choirs. The Festival Choir includes adults and children from all four congregations as well as Luther's Cathedral Choir.

The offering for the worship will honor the immigrant history of our congregations by supporting the Path to Citizenship Fund through congregations in Decorah, as well as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and Lutheran World Relief's assistance in Syria. This will be a special offering apart from regular congregational offerings.

Rehearsal for the Festival Choir will be 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall, with Children's Choir participants joining the rehearsal at 3:15 p.m. Ushers and communion servers will meet for a brief rehearsal at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in the CFL. Clergy vesting for the service to participate in the procession will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the CFL Recital Hall on Sunday, Nov. 10. The color of the day will be red.

There will be no Sunday morning worship service at Good Shepherd, First Lutheran or Decorah Lutheran on Nov. 10.

Usgaard is the assistant to the President for Church Relations for Portico Benefit Service, the ELCA ministry responsible for managing the ELCA benefit program. He served as bishop of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod from 2001-13. Prior to his call as bishop, he served as a pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Minn., Mount Hope Lutheran Church in West Allis, Wis., and at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester, Minn. Usgaard holds degrees from Luther and Luther Seminary and was ordained as a pastor in 1973. He was born and raised in Decorah and currently resides in Rosemount, Minn., with his wife, Lynette. The couple have three grown children.

Reverend Harold Usgaard, bishop emeritus of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod