My Memories of Zion

By on February 1, 2018 in News & Musings

My Memories of Zion

By Gaylord Fernstrom

My first important visit to Zion was when I was baptized in the summer of 1932. I should have been baptized earlier but my parents couldn’t agree on my name. I am sorry to say that I don’t remember any of the event. I attended Sunday church school with my sister Donna. On occasion I attended the Sunday evening worship service with my grandmother and grandfather, Hilda and Emil Fernstrom. The evening service was in Swedish and I didn’t understand a single word. My mother and father, Lucille and Wallace, were members of the Zion as well as my uncle and aunt, my father’s brothers, Clifford and Russell, and their twin sisters, Eleanor and Violet. Clifford and Russell married Dorthea and Vivian. Eleanor married Don Johnson and Violet married Charles Roach and all were members of Zion.

My parents moved to Oregon in 1937 and we returned to Minneapolis and Zion in 1942. I then realized that Pastor Daniel T. Martin was a very strong personality and his wife was a very impressive figure as well.

I started in the second year confirmation program in 1944. It was not a pleasant experience as I hated memory work and Pastor Martin wanted us all to memorize Martin Luther‘s little green book “Catechism 1939”. During our second year of Catechism we had to sit in the front pew under the watchful eyes of Pastor Martin. We also had to take notes on his sermons. When Pastor Martin raised his voice to make a point, our pencils jumped off our notepads. Prior to the Rite of Confirmation all confirmands had to pass an oral exam of the memory work from the Martin Luther “Catechism 1939” in front of the congregation. For this 14-year-old boy it was a terrifying experience.

Pastor Martin was a strong influence on me as a boy, teenager and young man. I shall never forget him. During my business career I spent 5 1/2 years in Salt Lake City Utah. Pastor Martin told me he was born in Salt Lake City. As I have grown older more of my memories of Zion have included change. Change in the pastors and change in the congregation. Gone are the Scandinavian families that lived around 33rd and Pillsbury. Pastor Forest Chafee as well as Glenn Oman were acquaintances of mine when we were all attending this Gustavus Adolphus college in the early 50s. My more recent memories of Zion have included a number of funerals for relatives.




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