An aerial view of the original frame Cormorant Lutheran church, probably 1980s.
The entire congregation gathered on the Cormorant Lutheran grounds for
confirmation Sunday, 1900.
Identified as the “first” Cormorant Lutheran Church choir, this 1888 photo shows an “integrated” group of young people, males and females—even though women were not voting member of the congregation at the time.

“150 Years of Grace” is a theme as one of the earlier churches in the lakes area marks a milestone this summer. Festivities are planned July 23-25, 2021.

Cormorant Lutheran, which has evolved from a congregation of pioneer Scandinavian settlers to a large and diverse congregation of longtime members and lake residents who now call Cormorant Lutheran their home church. 

The church was founded as “The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Cormorant Lake” in 1871. A log structure was the first building project—with each family asked to contribute four logs and 100’ of lumber in the winter. The 18’ by 24’ log church was located on land donated by Severt Olson. 

 A remote area at the time, with little public education developed, the church operated a parochial school in 1876—for two months, beginning in October. Teacher salary was $20 monthly. The pastor was paid $72—annually. 

The Rev. A Meland, who is also historically associated as a Lutheran minister in Pelican Rapids, served the Cormorant parish in 1888-1891; and again in 1894-1896. 

A new church building project launched in 1892, but the poor economy stalled construction and it was largely unfinished for a decade. 

Following a number of additions, the congregation proceeded with a building project in 1995, which is the structure we see today. The legacy of the old church was uniquely preserved, by removing the bell tower and installing it on a pad.

Serving Cormorant parish today is the Rev. Wade Dutton, who was called to the lakes area community in 2014. The congregation numbers more than 700. 

A sneak preview of the 150th anniversary festivities: 

Friday, July 23rd 5 pm

Gathering and remembrance at the 1871 organizational site on the Mary Erickson farm followed by a dinner served at Cormorant Lutheran. 

Saturday, July 24th 3 pm 

History memory sharing, Pie and ice cream social, kids choir sings

Sunday, July 25th 10:30a am 

One service outside with Bishop Bill Tesch preaching

Senior choir sings, Dinner served after the service.