Dawson Covenant Church
Pastor Erik Carlson
2756 130th Street
Dawson, MN 56232
History of the Dawson Covenant Church
Many of us only know Dawson Covenant Church as the building and congregation it is today, but our church goes much further back than you or I have lived. Its history started before there were televisions, video games, and many of the other modern amenities that we have today. Many of you have started to read about our church’s humble beginnings in the Pass-It-On newsletters recently but we thought it might be nice for everyone to get a recap of our past as we look forward to our new future!
The Dawson Covenant Church had its first beginnings in 1889. It started as a gathering of 12 friends who wished to get together with fellow Christians as believers in Jesus as their Savior. They first met in the District 25 school house in Maxwell Township. They were guided initially by lay pastor, John Rodman. Although the school house met their needs for a gathering spot, they wished to have a place of their own to worship.
By the end of the following year, their wish had become a reality. On land that had been donated by one of the church members, a church was built. The builders, who were also members of the church, had a daily wage of $1.25. By today's standards, that is only about enough to buy a bottle of pop! At the same time as the church was completed, the congregation also voted to invite 18 other people and consider them charter members of the church. Three years later, this same newly built church was moved to where our current church now resides.
The early years of the church were tough; full-time pastors were hard to come by. Many times the church had to rely on other pastors who would come to preach services once a month. For a few summers, North Park Seminary students were even called so the parishioners could worship with a leader. It was during some of these difficult years that the congregation decided to affiliate themselves with the Evangelical Covenant Church of America. In January, 1901, we became a congregation of Covenanters. In 1904, the congregation moved into its third home. A Methodist church building was purchased and was moved to the current church site. The old church was torn down and the lumber was used to build a parsonage. It looked like it was just in time too since just before Christmas of that same year, a resident pastor came to join the church!
In subsequent years, the church family grew and there was a need for a larger facility so in 1913, the Covenanters built again! This church had a larger auditorium for the congregation to worship in and there were also Sunday School rooms, furnace heat and gas lighting. All the members of the church pitched in to complete the construction of the church and in no time, the church was built and paid for. It was also during these years that the church prospered spiritually with many young people giving their hearts to Christ. What an exciting time! Misfortune came to the newly built church when in 1923, the structure burned. Insurance did little to cover the cost to rebuild but the courageous Covenanters along with sympathetic friends decided to rebuild a more attractive, better equipped church. This was the fifth and current structure that you see today.
Dawson Covenant has not stopped growing and improving though. Many structural improvements were made to make it the church it is today. In 1956 an entry enclosing the front stairs was completed. Rest rooms were added in 1961. A major building project was completed in 1964. This included a new Sunday School addition and furnaces, remodeling the interior of the sanctuary, a pastor’s study above the entry, enlarging and modernizing the kitchen, and the lowering of the ceiling and redecorating the lower auditorium. Some of the work was contracted, but many hours were donated by the congregation.
Other buildings were also built such as the Youth Center in 1968 and the New Parsonage, some of you may remember it as Project Living Hope, which was built in 1987. The church isn't just about structures though either. Dawson Covenant as a community of believers has also flourished. From the start of the church, there has been Sunday School and Ladies Aid but within the past 60 years, Vacation Bible School was started, joint lenten services were established with Providence Valley, Trailblazers and Hi-League programs were started, and Missions became a focus for the church. And this is by no means a comprehensive list!
Dawson Covenant has been places and is certainly going places - won't you join us on our new adventure as we "Open New Doors with Christ" by building a new worship center where we can continue to grow in faith!
Compiled and written by Cindy Iverson Weverka. Information taken from the “Dawson Covenant Church Centennial Booklet 1889-1989”and from “The Dawson Diamond Anniversary Covenanter, 1964.
First Meeting Place, District #25
The First Church
Purchased Church from the Methodists
Church that burned
New church building built
Many improvements were made
Church building today
Built in 2003