The church dates back to 1877, when the first Missionary, L. Jacobson from Stillwater visited a few Baptist families who immigrated from Denmark. With help from Jacobson, these families joined with the Trade Lake Swedish Baptist Church. In 1881, the present Church organized. On Sunday, June 5, 1881 a meeting was held and the church organized with 26 members.
Br. Eckmann was chosen the leader which continued until February 1884 when he passed away due to cold climate and hard labor. Under his leadership, 16 souls were added to the church. The leadership was continued by C. Hanson and J. Welling. M. Nelson was also elected leader for several years.
Missionary O.C. Jensen from Chicago visited and aided the group. Through his preaching, eight were converted and baptized March 5, 1888. They went to the west short of “T” Lake (a small lake a quarter mile northwest of Big Twin Lake) and cut a hole in the thick ice. Missionary Jensen descended into the water by stepladder and each of the candidates did the same. As each candidate was baptized and ascended out of the water, a blanket was thrown around him and he walked up to Mrs. Eckmann’s house to change clothing.
As the services grew in attendance it was hard to find room for all that came, so quite a large vacant house was rented from Brother H.S. Lawdahl for $1.00 a month. This building was used until 1890 when the old Trap Rock school was purchased for $30.25. During these years, all farm work and transportation was done by ox team. Most people walked to the church services.
In 1891, N. Matson was called as Pastor and also preached at several other locations. About this time, a gradual change from oxen to horses began. Brother Mattson brought a good team of horses with him when he arrived in Eureka. Mattson was the first pastor with set wages. The church agreed to give him $200 a year.
One day Brother Mattson was in St. Croix Falls when a drunk man said to him, “Come down to El Salem and preach to us. We need it!” Brother Mattson did not pay much attention at the time, but later decided to go there to look into the situation with Brother Carlson. They found the people of El Salem receptive to the preaching of God’s Word. Four were converted and added to the Eureka Danish Baptist Church on December 10, 1894. El Salem Baptist Church was organized and became the first daughter church.
In the summer of 1893, a beautiful church was erected 2 miles north of Eureka Center (County Rd G & Scrubtown). Christian (Mattson) Bording knew the carpenter trade from Denmark and built the beautiful building. The tools he used the build the church came with him from Denmark. Mattson also had a general store in Scrubtown in an old log building. The first meeting was held at the church on October 28, 1893. A total of 50 were baptized and added to the Church in 8 years.
M. Jensen of Olden, MN took over on January 1, 1900. Steady progress was made. In the following year, a parsonage was built ½ mile south of the church (Ray Little’s Farm). There were large celebrations held every July 4th at the parsonage. A large meal was served and games were played in the front yard.
Around this time, there were also many changes to the church membership. Many sold their property and moved and others moved in. In 1914, the Model T Fords and other makes of cars were purchased by different parties in the community and gradually cars took the place of horses and means of transportation.
In the fall of 1915, J. Bergstrom called to pastor. During his pastorate, several members moved to the Milltown community. In 1917, a church was organized and was called Milltown First Baptist. Rev. Bergstrom divided his time between the two. In 1919, J. Christensen of Humbolt, IA began serving the two churches. He was the first pastor to own a car, however bad weather conditions forced him to use a team of horses and sled during the winter months. For ten years he made the hard and cold trips between the two churches.
In 1922, the old church building located 2 miles north of Eureka was taken down and work on the present church building began. The stain glass windows were removed from the old building and used in the new structure. Chris Bording learned the carpenter trade from his father, Christian Bording. The new church was built by Bording and Mr. Schneewind. Chris Bording built many buildings around the area, including the barn located at 2241 210th Avenue (Orvin Johnson Farm). The new Church building was dedicated September 16, 1923. In 1929 Eureka and Milltown severed their pastor connection, each getting their own. Milltown was the second daughter of the Eureka Danish Baptist Church.
The parsonage on Scrubtown was sold in 1921 when the church decided to move to Eureka. The original house was eventually taken down in the 1970s. For many years, the church rented a house near Cushing for their pastor. This location was not very convenient. Many had the vision of one closer to the Church. In January 1930, the church voted to build a parsonage across the road from the new church at an approximate coast of $3500. This project did not materialize. In 1936 it became a reality. This beautiful building was built across the road on a lot donated by friends. The money was raised by members and much the building was largely done by members who gave their time, thus reducing the cost. The Ladies’ Aid paid the interest on the loan.
Rev. Mickelson was called as pastor in March of 1938. He encouraged us to give more to missions. This commitment has remained with us through the years. One of the members, Elnora Nelson, attended Northwestern Bible School in Minneapolis and went out as a missionary under New Tribes Mission to Paraguay, South America. The church supported her financially and in prayer.
The events of WWII impacted the church by taking two members. A memorial service was held June 2, 1946 at Eureka Baptist Church for Jimmie Anderson and Hilton Peterson, childhood neighbors, that paid the supreme sacrifice for our country. A joint funeral service was held in June of 1945. Jimmie was born in 1926 and graduated from St. Croix Falls. He enlisted into the Navy and was assigned for duty in the Pacific theater of war on a Navy Destroyer. It was with the ill-fated Hull that he lost his life in the typhoon of December 18, 1944. Hilton Peterson was born in 1925 and graduated from Milltown High School. He entered the service of his country in 1944 where he was assigned to the Marine service. It was in the battle for Iwo Jima that he was wounded from which he died February 28, 1945. He was the only child to lifelong members, John and Edna Peterson.
Rev. Evert Chamberlain was called as pastor in August 1950. The church became incorporated under his ministry. The church was called by two names until the time. From that time on the name “First Baptist Church of Eureka” was dropped and the name “Eureka Baptist Church” was used.
Because of the crowded conditions for Sunday School, a building called “the annex” was built on the west side of the parking lot. A garage is located in the front part, with Sunday school rooms in the back.
Pastor Chamberlain and several other of the church members who lived in the St. Croix Falls area realized the need for gospel work in the area of Taylors Falls. Services were conducted in the Community Hall in Taylors Falls. In September 1954, the First Baptist Church of Taylors Falls was organized with 27 members. Pastor Chamberlain served as pastor of both churches for a time. This was the third daughter church.
Dan Thompson became pastor in September 1956. In 1957 the church basement was extended to the north and remodeled, making room for a Sunday School office, nursery, furnace room, and restrooms. The kitchen was enlarged and a Sunday school classroom provided.
Rev. Max Fisk served as pastor from 1962 to 1963. During his ministry, improvements to the church building were continued. The pews were refinished and an oak floor was laid in the auditorium.
During Rev James Cooper’s ministry, a new Lowrey organ was purchased. Rev. Ernest Ruark began his ministry in January 1971. At this time, the walls were paneled and the floor in the basement was carpeted. Ruark left in 1973.
New padded pews were installed in December 1974. In the Fall of 1975, work on a new church entry was done, including a new study for the pastor. Double glass doors open into a sunny foyer with a wide stairway leading to the church auditorium. The old entry was made into a Sunday school room or a room which can also be used during services by parents with small children. A window and speaker system were also added to this room.
Rev. Bjork became pastor in March 1978. He commuted from Plymouth, MN until August when he and his family moved into the parsonage. Their stay in the parsonage was cut short by a fire in December which extensively damaged the interior of the parsonage. The congregation was greatful to God for the protection of the Bjork family. The family stayed with Russell Jensen until a mobile home was purchased to use as a temporary home for them. Pastor Bjork left in February 1980.
The congregation thought it wise to finish renovations to the parsonage before calling a new pastor. The renovation was extensive. About the only things not replaced were the foundation, studding and roof. By means of much volunteer labor, the “new” parsonage was completed free of debt.
Ralph Shepard came to minister in January 1981. A large Centennial celebration was held in June 1981. Members and former pastors reminisced back into time recalling how faithfully God had worked through the 100 years. The annex had been remade into a museum. Historical items were displayed such as early secretarial books, song books and bibles. Many of which were in Danish. Two of the first pulpits were displayed along with beautiful communion set with 2 goblets. Two church families had continuous membership of three to five generations during the 100 years – The John Nelson descendants and the Hans Mattson descendants. All realized the Lord’s blessings had been given in spiritual leadership. Ralph Shepard left in 1988.
In 1989 Karl Helwig became pastor. Pastor Helwig was very active with children’s programs. Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and AWANA were always well attended. Pastor Helwig left in 2006.
Willis Christensen became the pastor in 2008. Pastor Christensen's joyful spirit brought life back into the Church. The church steeple was redone, the church and annex have been painted, windows have been replaced and the parsonage has been redone along with landscaping. Pastor Christenson retired in 2013.
In January of 2017, the Church hired Seth Brickley to Pastor.
We must remember the labors of the struggling pioneers who scarified, labored and worked tirelessly and ceaselessly to found this church and then to dedicate it to the glory of God as they served Him.
We cannot fully tell the history of our church by just recounting dates. Through these past 140 years, hundreds have come to know Christ as Savior. God has used the faithful ministry of our pastors and leaders to prepare many for His service. Knowing it has been only through the faithfulness and mercy of our loving Heavenly Father that we can look back on 140 years as a church; and trusting in His continued guidance and blessing for our future, we humbly and joyfully say TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
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