15
Sep

Prairie Churches


(choir)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound (Tom Isern)
All these steeples,
the vertical spikes in our prairie horizons. They look like
exclamation points, but I think maybe
they’re question marks. Where did all these
churches come from? Who built them, and
where did those people go to? And what does it mean,
when every other material expression of who
those people were is gone, but the steeples remain? They’re expressions
of faith I’m sure, but I think maybe more
than one kind of faith. And that leaves us to
contemplate not only what we can learn about
these prairie chuhes, but what we can learn from them. …was blind but now I see. (woman) Production funding
for “Prairie Churches” is provided by grants from… and by… [piano plays softly] (Loretta Bernhoft) My father was
baptized, confirmed, married, and buried through this church. This has been where
I was baptized, confirmed, married, and expect
to be buried from. Vikur Lutheran Church
was founded by immigrants from Iceland,
and it’s 125 years old. It unfortunately, these days is
used quite often for funerals. We don’t have a lot of
baptisms and weddings anymore, again, because of rural
declining population, but we have some
dedicated people who want to make sure that we keep
the building in good shape. [acoustic guitar plays] As we were working on the
kneeling rail for the altar, we needed to take off the pad
and preserve the fabric so we could resow
a new kneeling pad, and when we pulled the old
kneeling pad away, we learned that for over 100 years people
have been kneeling on straw. There are times when you’re
doing projects like this that it really takes you back to what
our ancestors had to work with and how they struggled to do
the best they can with what they had and obviously
did a beautiful job. When the settlers came and
first set down their roots here, their main social activity
or event was a gathering
for worship services. So the church was the focus
of their social life as well as their spiritual life. And we’ve really come
full circle because we don’t have a school anymore. We’ve lost a lot of the
businesses that used to be here, so really, now our church
is once again not only our spiritual life,
but our social life because that’s
where we see people. If we only see them once a week,
we see them in church. So that remains a a very strong
part of our community, and maybe that’s part of
the reason we would hate to see the churches close,
because then we may all go in different directions
to worship, and that would further
break those ties of the small rural community which
we don’t want to see happening. [choir sings
a wordless melody] (Tom Isern) I think
for most people who are caring for country churches,
they’re doing it as an homage. They had ancestors or
predecessors in the community that they thk should be
remembered, and that church is the material remembrance
from those people. But I have to say in some cases
it is just pure cussed stubbornness that
has kept them going! There have been a family
or a couple of families that say, we’re not gonna
let the place die. Many times with a church
that’s completely lost its constituency, it does come
down to one or a very few, and a person can do that
when you think about it because these churches
have lost cash value, and people will buy
a country church and say, I’m going to see
that it stays around. Often they don’t
have the means to do the rehabilitation
themselves, but you can stop
a wrecking ball yourself. Rehabilitating and maintaining
a country church has a lot of investment in terms
of sweat equity involved. It doesn’t necessarily require
enormous outlays of cash, and the groups that you
see trying to restore and maintain rural churches, you don’t find them conducting
massive capital campaigns. They rely heavily on volunteers,
and they scrounge materials. It’s really pretty heartening
what people can accomplish, and if you can keep a church
tight– you know the basics for keeping a building together. It’s the roof
and the foundation. If you can keep those essentials
together, you can basically put the church
into safekeeping. Well, I’ve had a hand myself
in helping to preserve some of the prairie churches
in North Dakota, and I’d have to say that’s
a point of pride, and I think it’s worth doing,
not just because of the purposes of the people
immediately involved with that particular church but
because we hold these in trust. Of course, I’m a believer in the
future of the northern plains, and I actually believe there
will be a realized purpose for these buildings
if nothing else because they make
a place a place. (man)
We pray in Jesus’ name, Ame.
You may be seated. I have no doubt that large
numbers of prairie churches can be saved, but it depends
on people believing there’s some reason
to save them. It’s not a matter
of shortage of resources. It’s a matter of
shortage of faith. The prairie churches
are just a symbol of the way things are
on the northern plains in that we have more history
than we have people and taking care of our history, in particular
our material history then, it sufferers just from
the lack of available people. It’s a logistical problem. I happen to have faith
things will work out better in the future,
and if we gamble some resources on making
that happen, have we lost
that much? Won’t we feel the
better for having done it in the present anyway? Let’s invest a little faith. [piano plays
“Faith of our Fathers”] This church was closed
in 1984 over Christmas service. I was the youngest member
of the congregation. In 1995, we had an auction sale. I bought a lot of the
furnishings in here– the pews, the altar,
the baptism font. I used my own money. I was single at that time, and it was close to about
$4000 I spent on furnishings. They decided, well,
if you’re serious about buying the furnishings, maybe
you want to buy the church? So I bought the church from
the cemetery association, and we kept it. I got married probably
within 2 months after that, so my wife had inherited
this little project too, and she was very
supportive of that. It gets difficult sometimes,
the financial part of it. It’s a big building. It’s a lot of work sometimes, and too, as a farmer trying to
save time to work on the church, do your farming,
it’s hard to manage sometimes. It means a lot to our family. This church was organized
over at my farm with my great grandparents. We were there at the beginning
and also at the very end. We’d kept it, not just
for our family, but for other families to use and to visit. Usually, once a year,
we had a Christmas service or a summer service. We’ve had baptisms,
we’ve had a wedding. We do get a handful
of visitors every year saying that
“I was baptized here.” “I was married here.”
“I had my confirmation here.” So it’s a nice thing
to see that they like it, and they appreciate it. There is a lot of memories
inside these walls. There’s a lot of memories. This has been
a very rewarding project. I enjoy it.
I enjoy seeing the church. I enjoy driving by it. Even when you’re working
out in the field, it’s nice
to see the church there. This is where I can see
for miles away and say okay, there’s the church,
I know where I’m at. This is my lighthouse
on the prairie. [piano plays
“How Great Thou Art”] [orchestra plays] (woman)
Hallelujah (Gerald Paliwor)
Every time you’re driving along
and you see a church that looks very familiar if you
check into the history of it, a lot of the times,
you’ll find the name Father Philip Ruh associated
with that church. He was a very motivated
individual, as you might guess by the design of the building
and the adjacent grotto, and as well, he’s credited
with over 40 works in Canada. He was a self-taught architect. He didn’t have any formal
training in architecture. He was just very well read,
and as I mentioned, he was obviously a very
motivated individual because you look at some of his works
and you imagine that, how would you even go about
designing a place like this? Well he was,
like I say, obviously a quite an intelligent fellow. Now, he was originally
a Roman Catholic priest from Alsace-Lorraine,
but due to the shortage of Ukrainian Catholic
missionaries in Canada, he was asked to convert
to the Eastern rite. So he was sent to the
Ukraine for several years, where he learned the language, then he migrated to Canada. How he ended up in Cook’s Creek,
the faithful of the area had heard of Father Ruh’s
prowess as an architect and had petitioned to have him
come to Cook’s Creek to help build a new church. The Bishop sent him
out here to have a look. His exact words were, “What
a God forsaken place this is!” He wrote back to the Bishop,
are you sure this is what you want me to do,
and the Bishop replied yes, this is where you will serve. So he said it was not his will
that he be in Cook’s Creek, but it is “The Will” that
I be here so I shall serve. Now, the interesting thing is–
that was in 1930 that he arrived, and they
started building the church, and he was the resident priest
until 1962 when he passed away. So we presume the place kind of
grew on him a little bit. Some considered him quite gruff
and quite forward and abrupt, but if you look at any project
of great scale, usually the person that’s
driving the project has to be a very
take-charge individual. So for some he might have been
a little on the rough side. Imagine trying to get a group
of volunteers moving in a direction on a project,
not only such a large project, but for such a long time–
we’re talking 22 years. If you talk to the old-timers
of the area, like my father, and even today, I was talking
with him and he was telling stories of when he was
14 years old, helping to build the church, and how Father Ruh
would be pitching in, and his hands, Father Ruh’s
hands, were much rougher than any of the other laborers
because he was always, always a very hands-on laborer. He didn’t supervise
the job just. He also was involved
with the pitching and the throwing of whatever
materials were required. He had his lighter moments
as well, and he, well, to put it bluntly, had some of
the best moonshine in the area! [laughs]
And he was known for it! So quite a character when
you get right down to it. It started in 1930, and
there literally was no work to be found in The Depression. They would donate their labor
to the church, and that was how
the church was constructed. Another interesting note was
there was no machinery allowed in the building of the church,
not even a cement mixer. So when you look at everything
in the church and imagine how could that be built by hand? Well, that’s exactly
how it was built. Father Ruh was
very strict that it be built by the hand of man
for the Glory of God. So that was your “hammer
and a nail, shovel, and a pail” was the tools of the trade. There was a lot of innovative
thinking when the structure was being built
how to make it look like marble, and the pillars outside
and all that, and a lot of it was
local materials they were able to come up with and some very clever work
in the design of it. He realized not to overstep
your bounds ’cause in his own writings,
it was “slow and sure,” better than “speedy
and bankrupt,” especially at that time when resources
were strained, moneywise. And manpowerwise, he worked
with what was available, and he raised what was needed
by whatever means, be it dances, bingo’s–
you name it. He raised funds, and he built
as the funds were available. He said there would be
no debt incurred in the building of the church,
and they never did. Now, it took 22 years to build. It was completed in 1952,
then it was consecrated in 1954 and dedicated
to the Blessed Virgin Mary. (woman) Ave Maria gratia plena, Maria gratia
plena, Maria
gratia plena. Ave ave Dominus. Dominus te-cum. Benedicta tu
in mulieribus. Et benedictus. Et benedictus
fructus ventris, Ventris tui Iesus. Ave Maria. [piano plays] (Rolf Berg) This has been
our home all our life. My wife and I both
have attended this church. We were both baptized here
just a couple weeks apart and both went
to Sunday school here, were confirmed
in the same class, and my hope and prayer is that it can continue running
in the years ahead. This church is the
Viking Lutheran Church. We had the dedication
of this building in 1909. At that time, we were considered
the biggest rural church, Norwegian Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, between Minneapolis
and the West Coast. I think anytime we have
people come here and tour, they can’t believe
the windows that are here, and the rare thing about them is how they got here
without any problem. When you stop and think
about that, you marvel at what these people have
done here and the work that they’ve done
to build this church. Most of the material came on
train and was carted by horses! And these picture windows, and
all the things in this church were brought here
on wagon boxes. [orchestra plays
“the Hallelujah Chorus”] I went to Bismarck, and I went
up to the historical society, and I said, I’d like to have
you see something in Maddock. I’ll never forget that day
’cause Lou Hefernil walked in, and he looked up
at the chandelier and looked at that window
and looked at that window. He said “Rolf, you don’t know
what you’ve got here, do you?” I says “Lou, that’s
why you’re here.” Well he said, “The chandelier
and the windows,” he said, “I’m considering
they’re more valuable than the rest of the building
you have here. The value on them
is unbelievable.” So in 1979, we were listed on
The National Registry. One thing I notice
about our rural churches, the membership of these churches
are more permanent. They want
to keep what they’ve got. The people all feel a part
of the building itself, and I think that’s why
the building is still here and maintained as such because they’re very proud
of the architecture, the stained-glass windows, and
then the fact that many of them, it’s their grandpa and grandmas
that have done this work. And so all they’re doing
is continuing, not because they feel
they have to, but because they want to
continue the heritage that was here
down through the years. [orchestra plays
“the Hallelujah Chorus”] [pipe organ plays
“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”] (Ronald Ramsay) Buildings are
total sensory experiences. Too often because
architecture involves objects, we tend to think of them
as exclusively visual things. They’re not. Next time we go
to a religious service, start to pay attention
to all 5 of your senses. Don’t just look at the building,
but listen to it, smell it, and there are even instances
where we taste buildings, especially churches that,
old masonry churches, that begin to develop rising
damp, and you walk in and you can almost
taste the mildew in it. Coming to church
and attending a service is a multisensory experience. When people began
arriving here in the middle of
the 19th century, they were bringing a certain
expectation about what a church
was supposed to look like, came with a kind of
architectural baggage of the motherland, and whether
you built that in wood
or masonry or tin or stucco didn’t really
matter very much. It was the form. You can read a building
from the outside, what’s going on on the inside,
and in many instances, you can probably
predict who’s inside. Certainly the Scandinavian
churches have a kind of
sparseness to them. I think if
you go back
to the history of the Scandinavian
immigration, many of the people who came,
especially from Norway, were Hauge Lutherans,
and Hauge Lutheranism was a Lutheranism of
deprivation. It was learning how to find
sanctity in having less rather than having more. And so all these Hauge Lutherans
came here and built churches that were lean and spare and
stripped of ornamentation because from their theological
perspective, ornament was sin. A pair of towers, either identical
or mismatched, probably a pretty good
indication that Roman Catholics
are in there. Coming from Eastern Europe, most of the Eastern churches
took as their pattern the Orthodox pattern
of Eastern Christianity with domes
of one sort or another that were not nearly
as prominent in the West. And so here we have
another ethnic group bringing an expectation
with them of what a church is supposed to look like. It’s supposed to look
like the ones back home. The building is,
after all, a glove, and the hand that’s
in the glove are the people and the
liturgical practice. The glove is going to take its form from the hand, and it’s important as a people that we keep certain examples to remind us of where
we’ve come from and how far
we’ve come and how far perhaps
we have yet to go. When you look at the building
like this, where at the time, there were maybe 50 or
60 people in the community, somebody had a lot of vision to build something like that. I’m sure some of them must’ve
called them, I don’t know, maybe “crazy”
to build such a big place that would hold 500 people when
there’s only 50 or 60 people. But it’s often filled up. Our church is Saint Joachim
Chevaliers De La Broquerie. It was completed in 1901. The bricks were manufactured
just outside of town here. I know that the wood
was made, cut, and sawed by the first pioneers, so
we’re very proud of our church. You can see the architecture is something that
we’re very proud of. I don’t know how they did it,
you know, when there wasn’t as many people to maintain
a place like this. It must’ve been difficult. Now it’s quite costly
just to heat it. I remember when I was a kid,
they didn’t heat the church like all week
in the wintertime. It was just wood furnaces, and the wood was supplied
by the parishioners. In some places I’ve seen
some beautiful churches that they said ah, it’s not
worth fixing, it’s too old, so they let it go, and then
they have to tear it down and build something else, and
I think it’s something lost. We’re lucky that
we still have our church. It’s part of our culture,
of our heritage so it’s nice to keep
those things. If you throw away this,
you throw away part of history. [pipe organ plays “Jesu,
Joy of Man’s Desiring] (Burt Imhoff)
We have people come here
from all over the world, and they can’t figure out
what this art is doing out here in the middle of nowhere. Did he donate pictures to
churches in Saskatchewan? Definitely. A lot of churches
he did for free of charge. My grandfather originally
came from Germany. From Germany, he immigrated
to Reading, Pennsylvania. From Reading, Pennsylvania,
at his late 40’s, he moved up here
to St. Walburg, Saskatchewan. He came up here on a hunting
trip with some people he knew, and there was inexpensive land
up here at that time, so he bought land, and he liked
the area, and he moved up here. They moved in 1914. He hired other people to work
his land and to break it because he wasn’t a farmer. He was an artist,
and that’s all he did. He decorated a lot of churches. He was trained in
art schools in Holland, Dusseldorf
in Germany. Most of his work was done in the States, in the Dakotas and mostly around Pennsylvania. The list we have of all the
churches he did was over 90, but obviously, he did a lot
more than that because there are some churches that he did
that we haven’t got lists of. We’re at the Imhoff studio,
the working gallery of my husband’s grandfather
Berthold Von Imhoff. He started all these paintings
in charcoal first, and then he would put
3 coats of oil. And he also only painted
by the north light because he also had
to mix his own colors. Couldn’t buy the colors
that he used at that time. That’s why all the windows
in this studio are on the north side, and he could get
the true colors that way. When they would contact him to
do a church, he had numerous amounts
of small paintings, like you see them all
around the side over here. He’d take those with him,
and they would pick out what they wanted in a church, and then he would paint it
in life size. All the pictures that he did were done right
in this building, and then they were taken
down to the church and then put up,
unless it was a curved area like over an altar or
a curved dome or something, then the canvases were put up,
and they were painted right in the building right there. Even though they lived
up here in Saskatchewan, they would go back
to the States and do projects. When they did the large church
in Reading, Pennsylvania, they moved down there. We’re in the St. Peter the
Apostle Roman Catholic Church. This is undoubtedly
Berthold Imhoff’s masterpiece. At the top of the ceiling here are 224 life-sized figures
processing towards the altar. In the sanctuary,
we see St. Paul preaching to the people
of the East and St. Peter preaching
to the peoples of the West. Berthold received a commission
from St. Peter’s Church to paint this procession
of Saints, and he did this at his studio at
St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, and put the paintings
on a train, and he and his son Carl came down here
and installed the paintings in approximately the mid 1920’s. When he moved up here, yeah,
he was well off, but everything
he made in churches, he would put back
in his canvases. He painted when
he didn’t have commissions. All the ones you see
in here today, he just painted to paint–
no sale for him– He never did sell a picture. He never painted
a picture to sell. It was just churches that
he was commissioned to do. In the United States,
he did very well. Everything he had, he paid for with the work of his artwork. Much of the
work he did in the churches in Saskatchewan, often they were donated. It was important to him
that they had something that reminded them maybe of their
homeland ’cause a lot of these were European people, and
the churches were decorated beautifully there, and
so he would give them a gift that way, a reminder
of their homeland. And also even in worship,
the art helped them because it drew them
to thinking of things that were say,
removed from everyday life. A decoration from
the Pope came in 1937. He was knighted
with the Knighthood of Saint Gregory the Great. It was befitting that knighthood
was bestowed on him because Saint Gregory the Great was noted for his charity. He used his wealth
to the good of everybody. When he died,
he was not well off at all. He was in fact very poor, so for helping
with Mrs. Imhoff, his wife gave
a painting to the undertaker because there was no money. He was a very spiritual person, and I wouldn’t say so much
religious as very faithful. He had a faith, and
he had a goodness in him. I mean, he had to have
to have given so much, not only in his artwork
but in other charity too. Like if somebody was hard up,
he would help them out, and that was not known
until after he died. (choir)
Faith of
our fathers, living still, in spite
of dungeon, fire, and sword. Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy Whene’er we hear that glorious Word! Faith of
our fathers, holy faith. We will be true to thee till death. [resonant clanging
of a churchbell] (man)
Let us pray. Most high God in the heavens
cannot contain, we give you thanks for the gifts
of those who have built and maintain this
house of prayer. We used to have a membership
that was very large here. (man)
You made all things. (John Boen)
We have a picture down
in the basement of one of the special occasions up here. That photo is
approximately 3 feet long to cover
the number of people here, and they were all
church members. And now when we took one
about 10 years ago, that’s about 10
by 12 inches square. We are struggling to
keep the church going. It has been here
for 134 years, so we’ll try and make it
go for a few more. I believe my great grandfather
was a member of this church. I’ve been a member
here all my life. Betty and I were married here, and our 2 daughters
were married here. [piano plays softly] It’s had many good happy events, but it’ll be a shame
to board up the windows. I hope it doesn’t
happen in my day. [violin plays softly] (Sheldon Green)
Saints Peter and Paul Church in Strasburg, North Dakota, really is symbolic of
the immigrant experience. Yes, they came to the New World,
and they came to start fresh, but they also came
as people of faith just like they had been
in the Ukraine. They did not leave that behind. The Strasburg church
was built in 1909 to 1911 at a cost of $45,000,
so at that time that was the finest building
for miles around. The feeling among
the German Catholics was only the best house for God,
and so there was this tradition that the church was the finest
that they could possibly build. We’re going to spare no expense. In fact, there was
a real feeling that we must sacrifice personally,
or our family must, in order to build
this magnificent house. When Saints Peter and Paul
Church was being built, not everyone was 100% behind donating their own labor
to build the church. Some of them thought just
if I pay the money, I can stay at home and farm. And so there were several
vocal farmers that said, why should I give up my time
to build this church when my work is needed at home? And it wasn’t more than
a few days after that that severe hailstorms swept
through the area, and the hail decimated crops
far and wide. Generally they destroyed the
fields of the people who were vocal about not wanting to give
their labor to the church. The people who had sent laborers
in or sent sons or fathers in to work on the church, somehow
their crops were spared. And so the following day,
the work site at the church was swelled
with all these farmers wanting to come in and work. Apparently, they didn’t want
to run the risk of hail again. As soon as the building
was finished, a lot of the parishioners
started donating statuary art in honor of an immigrant
or a family member. Quickly the church filled. There’s something
like a dozen angels. There’s 10 statues to saints. There’s the glass windows. Most of these were given
in the name of someone that was being honored
or recalled. There was a priest
in Strasburg in the 1980’s that wanted to remove
the high altar, and during the congregational
meeting when this was put out, there was a voice from the back
said, “If that altar moves, your backside will be
filled with buckshot!” And so the diocese moved that
priest to a different church. The parishioners in Strasburg
wanted to maintain that link with their European past and
honoring the pioneers that came. They didn’t want
to touch anything. Over and over and over again,
the people who are most familiar with these
rural heritage gems, are the least impressed by them
because they’re so used to them. They’ve seen them all their
lives, and they seem to have an impression that it’s
the same way all over. They’re everywhere, so why
should we save this one? It takes someone
who’s not from the area to say no, this is
really special. You guys really have
to do something with this. The Manitoba Prairie Churches
Project has 2 principle funders. It’s the Thomas Sill
Foundation of Winnipeg and the Kaplan Fund
out of New York City. Being with the Manitoba Culture
Heritage and Tourism Historic
Resources Branch, we often help
people when they come to us to try and organize
a project to save something. I got a call from the
Kaplan Fund in New York City, and they were funding
a prairie churches program in Saskatchewan
and North Dakota. It was like a cross-border
northern plains thing that they were doing, and they
were saying well, do you have any interest
in churches in Manitoba? Oh, do we have an
interest in churches? We probably
have the best variety of
country churches on the
whole continent. You have to
come see them. Here we’ve got Mennonites
and Poles and Icelanders. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful
variety, and the churches are part of that cultural
landscape which again, sadly, is
disappearing. And if you are fortunate
enough to drive around and see some of these,
you’ll see what I mean. They’re all different. Some are just
spectacular churches, and I don’t know who
the architects were. Some of them look
like Turkish mosques. Some of them look like simple
little gable roofs with a teeny-weeny little dome where
the mammas and the grandmas and the grandpas and the
grandkids all came to help out. We’ve got quite a few
churches that are preserved. There is a couple of
churches not far from here that haven’t been used as
churches since the mid ’60’s, and they’re just
now religious landmarks. The people who used to go there
or have family buried there, they go back, and they cut
the grass and paint the church every 10 years and roof it,
and it hasn’t been used like for 30 years as a church,
but it’s this wonderful landmark in the countryside attesting to the settlers
and what once was here. So even though it’s only
used once a year or not at all doesn’t mean you can’t
save it as a landmark. So every little one’s a big
success because it was part of the cultural landscape,
and it would be really, really sad to have what used
to be a landscape dotted with grain elevators and
churches and domes poking up over the tree line than to
have nothing on the landscape. So things like this are
very important to preserve. [choir sings] (Dot Connolly)
We were sitting
at the restaurant, a bunch of women and myself, and somebody came in and sad vandals have broken
into the church. We walked through the doo,
and as you walk in, there’s a large red carpe. In the center of the carpet, the cross lay on the floor
smashed in 2. There was cigarette butts, and there were pop cans
and beer cans. The icons on the wall as
you go into the iconostas were stabbed in the heart. The people felt such
a feeling of sadness. It was just overwhelming
to think here’s another thing
that is lost, another part of the community, sort of the final nail
in the coffin. I had my granddaughter with me, and she said Grandma,
why don’t you fix it up? Why don’t you patch the roo, paint the walls,
and patch up the cracks? And I thought what
do we have to lose? We still all figured
that there was no way, but we thought,
well, we’ll try. And so we
tried one step and the next step
and the next step. The first thing to do
was the basement which was
the biggest project. We got quotes that that
was going to be $80,000. Well, how could we get $80,000? But we wrote to the governmen,
Hugh Packland in Winnipeg with the Winnipeg Foundation
and the Kaplan Fund, which of all is the
Welch’s grapefruit people out of New York City. Well, I would go
and find these people, and then I’d come back
in the community and say the Welch’s grapefruit
people out of New York City want to put some money
into our church. And people would just
shake their head. “Why are you putting money
into that old church when there’s
so much else to do?” “Why don’t you fix the roads?” So the first year they
thought we were crazy. The 2nd year they were
pretty sure we were crazy. We’re going into our 5th year, and the local people are
starting to think that ths is something pretty fantastc
that the community did. This church now is
coming alive once again. That first service that we had was an amazing thing to happe. The old people who were sure
that they had lost their church, that they would never have
a service in that church again, they came,
and in the center, they put a picture
of the Madonna, and people come up the carpt
on their knees to kiss that picture. And there were the old people,
the local men, the big macho men
that you see in the coffee shop
every morning, on their knees
with tears in their eyes coming to kiss that pictue
because they thought that they would never
see that happen. [woman sings,
with piano accompaniment] Our Father Which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our debts As we forgive our debtor And lead us not
into temptation But deliver us from evil For Thine is the kingdom And the power And the glory forever, Amen. (choir)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. [choir hums
the melody] (woman) Production funding
for “Prairie Churches” is provided by grants from… …and by
the members of… To order
a DVD…

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17 Comments

  • Tom Porter says:

    A beautiful production in every way. It was a privilege to be part of it along with members of the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus.

  • محمد العولقي says:

    alhmd llah anny muslim

  • Danny Zadrazil says:

    are these churches listed here listed in the order that they appear?? please let me know, and if not, could they be listed that way?? do you have pictures of these churches individually ??

  • willibu says:

    A wonderful documentary.

  • Hisham Touma says:

    check out
    NazarethChurches com !!

  • aj71792 says:

    I love this show!

  • Sis. Marshana Thurman says:

    Please visit THE CHURCH OF CHRIST in your community while you still have the chance.
    GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR YOU:
    HEAR the Gospel-Acts-15:7
    BELIEVE the Gospel-Acts-15:7
    REPENT of Sins-2 Peter-3:9
    CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Son of God-Matthew-10:32-33
    BAPTISM into Christ-Mark-16:15-16
    MUST LIVE FAITHFUL TILL DEATH-Revelation-2:10

  • oldtimeway1 says:

    A very fine program, but too bad the editor didn't stop and actually do his/her job. Several churches going by the same name?? WHich is which? Particularly love that UCC building with the Catholic altar.
    God doesn't dwell in a temple built by hands, but in the hearts of men, but some interesting buildings where "the church" meets.

  • Julia Winkler says:

    I suppose you're correct and I am a very blunt person always have been, and while every bit of what I said is true and I think deserved but I will remove that post.
    Suffice it to say I think that its one pitiful way to find peace, when it has brought everything but that to so many.

  • Jolene Ehret says:

    This is just beautiful. Part of my heritage. My parents went to churches like this. I remember Glueckstal church somewhere between Dawson and Napoleon, ND. Grandparents buried there.. I went there a couple time as a child, and funerals too. It wasn't a fancy church..

  • Dianne Mannheimer says:

    Amazing that this was done. It reminds me of the Abbey in Richardton, ND.

  • Francis Mausley says:

    Lovely presentation… Lovely… "The wisdom in raising up such buildings is that at a given hour, the people should know it is time to meet, and all should gather together, and, harmoniously attuned one to another, engage in prayer; with the result that out of this coming together, unity and affection shall grow and flourish in the human heart. ~ Baha'i Quote

  • Robert Severtson says:

    I believe we need to keep our children to learn about Jesus n respect n Love each other. I Love Churches! I'm a Viking Lutheran baptized n confirmed. Rolf Berg say's it on here.

  • Geek37 says:

    The voice of Plains Folks Essay.

    Thank you for your work, Tom.

  • Jimmy Hunsucker says:

    In the name of the Christian Doctrine of "Divine providence, " the settlers murdered the Indian and took their land. Especially the Union Army and Yankees. So i'm sure the Churches and worship services were the main gathering places.

  • runlarryrun77 says:

    I'm English, never been to the US, nor do I consider myself a Christian, but I feel an almost overwhelming spiritual connection to these northern prairie Churches. This programme was very interesting & very well put together. Thank you for posting.

  • Josephine Oaks-Courtney says:

    The music soothes me!

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