We are in the process of having the original Norwegian early church congregational minutes translated to provide as historical documents for your reading and viewing pleasure. Keep checking back.
Historical information about interments is being collected and can be viewed here. Every effort has been made to insert information correctly, although errors will undoubtedly be found. Please contact us with additional information, corrections and pictures.
The following article was found in an 1890 publication for the leaders and pastors of the synod. It was accidentally located and is a much appreciated piece of South New Hope's history.
From Kirketidende (The Church News) 1890,
Pages 613-14 (Translated by Don Berg)
Sunday, the 17th of August, was a true festival day for the old New Hope congregation, Portage Co., Wis., in that the cornerstone for its new church was laid. Prof. J. Ylvisaker, the congregation’s previous pastor, who had participated in the discussion meeting held a couple days earlier, gladdened the congregation now too with his presence; likewise, Pastor A. J. Andersen from Iola, Wis.
The fest was opened with prayer and singing of a hymn. The service was officiated by Prof. J. Ylvisaker. Next, a talk was given by Pastor A. J. Andersen. He reminded the congregation of God’s amazing dealings with it, that by God’s grace it had been preserved for the truth and blessed by God, so it now with thanks to Him could lay the cornerstone for its new church building.
The festival sermon was given by Prof. Ylvisaker, on Isa. 28:16: “Behold, I am laying as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, which is well based.”
On the basis of these words of the Lord, he focused on the true foundation for God’s congregation, Who laid it, namely the Lord, Who by means of His Spirit must build on the foundation that house, that congregation against which the gates of hell shall not prevail—and Who that true foundation is, namely Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, our Savior. He is the chief cornerstone, Who is tested, Who is precious in the eyes of God, the believers and blessed, Who is well-founded, a stone that remains unshakeable, even if everything (else) fails, and the one who builds on Him shall not be put to shame.
After the reading aloud of the history of the congregation, Prof. Ylvisaker laid the cornerstone in the Name of the Holy Trinity. The following documents were laid in the cornerstone: the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s Small Catechism, the congregation’s Constitution and History, the Synodical Administration, the Synod Report for 1889, “Redegjorelse” (Declaration/Explanation), 3 issues of Kirketidende (The Norwegian Synod’s publication), 2 issues of Børneblad (Children’s Magazine), and one issue of “Amerika” (a Norwegian-language newspaper).
Five families, totaling 27 souls, were then accepted into the congregation. Pastor O. K. Ramberg on that occasion spoke on the words of Peter to the Savior: “Look, we have left everything and followed you; what then shall we have?” and the Savior’s answer: “Everyone who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of my Name, shall receive a hundred fold again and inherit eternal life.” (Matt. 19:29)
At the conclusion of the worship service, the large gathering proceeded to the cemetery surrounding the church, which was then dedicated by Prof. Ylvisaker as a resting place for the bodies of the deceased.
The foundation on which I build
Is Christ and His Death;
In the shadows of Jesus’ pain
Is the soul’s sweet rest.
There I have found Life.
I myself am worth nothing.
What Jesus has given me
Makes me so precious before God.
Thus the congregation sang and confessed on this, its festive day. May the Lord grant the congregation grace to hold fast to this confession always from the heart. May the Lord also, according to the grand and powerful testimonies which were heard on this occasion as well as at the discussion meeting just held, lead forth many who thus far in their blindness have been building on hay and straw, to build in spirit and truth on the tested cornerstone, Jesus Christ and Him alone. May it happen for Christ’s sake! Amen.
Don Berg also wrote:A further note about Prof. Ylvisaker. In Who’s Who among Pastors in all the Norwegian Lutheran Synods in America, 1843-1927, there are several Ylvisakers pictured and listed. The one most likely to have been at the cornerstone service was Johan Thorbjørn Ylvisaker, ordained in 1881. He was born Nov. 10, 1858 at Sogndal, Sogn, Norway to Rev. Niels Thorbjørnsen Ylvisaker and Kirstine (Ǿrbeck Hundere). He immigrated in 1868. Attended Luther College 1870-77 (A.B.); Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, 1877-80 (Candidate in Theology). Served as pastor near Albert Lea, MN. 1881-89; at Decorah, Iowa, 1889-90. Teacher at Luther College 1889-90. Author of “Den Norske Luther College” in 1890. Married Josephine Fryslie in 1885. Died Nov. 30, 1890.