Our humble beginning began during the rainy summer of 1892. There was much discussion in the new four-year-old prairie village of Granada about how many things that needed to be accomplished. The main topic of conversation was the need of a church to praise God. When all the discussion and scuttlebutt calmed down it was agreed that a Congregational Church suited Granada’s needs best.
At the school house on the first day of November 1892 our new church was organized. The charter members consisted of two Congregationalists, two Lutherans, one Methodist, a Baptist, a Presbyterian and a Universalist. Their names are quite well known in Granada’s history: Mrs. Mary Andross--an icon in our church and community; Charles and Flora Boudrye--owners of a long-time General Merchandise store; Hans O. Bakken (who was almost arrested 4 years earlier for moving the school house across the creek); Mrs. J.D. Bakken; Mary Reynolds--whose husband started the first store in Handy – now Granada; and Mr. & Mrs. E.K. Colton.
The Reverend R.S. Cross called the first meeting to order with the Reverend W.L. Sutherland as moderator. An excellent and appropriate sermon was delivered by Reverend J.H. Morley from the text of Mathew 12:50. We adopted the creed and covenant as framed by the “commission” in 1883 with the exception of the words “to be administered to believers and their children” in the eleventh paragraph.
We also adopted most of our new constitution that first meeting. The charter members decided to adopt the first four articles of the constitution in Roy’s Manual with the understanding that it would be amended at a later meeting as might be deemed advisable.
At our second meeting on December 20, 1892 it was decided to adopt the remaining articles of our constitution and elect the trustees. The following were elected as trustees: Frank Andross for three years and also to act as the treasurer; A.H. Reynolds for two years; C.L. Boudrye for a one-year term; Mrs. Mary Z. Reynolds was elected clerk; and Mr. E.K. Colton was elected deacon.
The next meeting was not held until over a year later at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Andross on July 18, 1894. At this meeting the matter of building a church arose. It was decided to erect a building that fall if $500.00 could be pledged.
Our early records are quite sparse but the church was built in 1894. In October of that same year it was recorded that we “execute the customary mortgage of the Congregational Church Building Society binding the church to keep the house insured to the full extent of the aid voted.”
Dr. George Cable was accepted into our membership at the May 6, 1895 meeting. Dr. Cable was Granada’s first doctor. Also at this meeting we decided to be asked to be admitted into the Mankato Conference.
Ed Anderson donated the lot the church now stands on. When he had that part of town platted, this lot was platted as the “church lot”--not as lot 1 or lot 2--but simply and to the point “church lot”. In January of 1896 we decided to buy the lot south of the church from Mr. Anderson for $10 down and $25 per year thereafter until paid if we could strike a bargain with him.
Also in 1896 if we could pledge $200 for the pastor’s salary we were to do so but we did pledge at least $150.00.
Mrs. Bakken may have donated the lot north of the church in 1897 as it is stated at the March 6, 1897 meeting that we “take the lot off of Mrs. Bakken’s hands”. A parsonage was being discussed and this lot would be an excellent place to have one built. Later in March that year we paid out $102.00 for the lot, deed, recording fees “and all.” A 24 x 30 cottage style parsonage with 9 foot ceilings was to be built for no more than $600.00.
The Christmas Service of 1897 ended in a near tragedy. The beautiful tall Christmas tree which was made of wood with cotton batting to simulate a tree was set up front in the church with many gifts under it. The tree was decorated with many Japanese lanterns that had burning candles inside. The program started. The children were so excited they could hardly wait until the program was over so they could get their presents and treats.
As fate would have it the cry of Fire!! rang out! One of those lovely lanterns fell, ignited the tree, and within seconds was a flaming torch. While the women and children rushed outside the men beat out the fire with their coats. Luckily no one was seriously hurt.
Granada’s first free kindergarten was held in our church in 1901 with Miss Gertrude Eglin in charge. Many visiting pastors filled the pulpit that same year and Brother Thomas Hartley preached many weeks. He lived right outside of Granada.
The first marriage was between Carrie Andross and Benjamin Eglin in 1903. The first baptism was that of Mrs. Flora Boudrye as an adult in 1893.
Granada’s third doctor; Dr. William Gaugh came to Granada in 1905 and became a member of the church that same year. He was also a long-time pillar of the church and community.
The Easter service of 1911 was hard to see for many of the congregation. One person can remember the hats the ladies wore at the time – they had “height, depth, width, and weight!” These hats were quite large and were decorated with many feathers of rare and exotic birds.
In 1914 we installed what could be considered central heat and the church was wired for electricity in 1920. In 1915 we purchased new pews to replace the old chairs. There were revival meetings at the Modern Woodman of America hall held in conjunction with the Methodist church and we added 13 new members to our congregation in 1915. A federation of the Methodist Episcopal and the Congregational church was discussed and the union was accomplished in 1917. This was later dissolved in 1920.
By 1923 we had progressed enough that we could plan a booth for showing motion pictures on the condition that the cost does not exceed $25.00. The Sunday School roll had reached 132 and the Cradle Roll was started in 1928.
December 16, 1934 we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the dedication of our church. Charles L. Boudrye gave an interesting history of our church and we held special services. Of the eight charter members, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Boudrye and Mrs. Mary E. Andross were still with us. Rev. Walter Blair also gave a short talk on how we should be complimented with surviving on what became known as the Great Depression when many churches folded.
The church was rededicated in September 1938 after many long-awaited improvements. I have been told this is when the large ash trees were planted south of the church.
After a short time in our ministry we had--for the first time in 48 years--a female pastor at the pulpit. Miss Alzina Munger began her pastorate in July 1940. The Granada Congregational Church was a progressive type of church in a town with around 400 people or less at any given time. We had what could be considered many women pastors for our congregation. We have been blessed with Rev. Miss Alzina Munger, Rev. Marjorie Peterson (interim pastor), Rev. Debra (Frye) Valentine and Rev. Jean Wallenfang.
A new organization called the Pilgrim Fellowship received its charter here in 1940. This replaced the inactive Christian Endeavor Society. Sometime during the next few years this became inactive. In 1949 three of our girls attended camp at Frontenac, Minnesota. In 1950 Rev. Schofield was our pastor and again the Pilgrim Fellowship group was reorganized. This group served dinners in the church basement to earn money to send people to attend camp and to buy things for the church.
At one time they sent seventeen young people to camp and they also attended rallies all over the state. They also ranked only second to a large Minneapolis church in activities. They had three members acting as state officers. Bonnie McCleary was state vice-president, Lois Intlekofer was state missionary and Jim Oltman was an officer of the Southwest Association.
Sadly in October 1941 our last charter member Mrs. Mary Andross passed away.
By January 1944 World War II had taken the lives of Rollo Andross, Ray Davison and Donald Abel. We also had forty-one men and women associated with our church listed in the service of our country. During what was officially known as the Vietnam Conflict, James Wolter also gave the supreme sacrifice for his country and church in 1969.
In 1953 a standing vote of thanks was given to Carrie Eglin for more than 40 years as Primary Superintendent. Other longtime workers in the Sunday School included Irene Garrison, Mildred “Grandma” Intlekofer, Maud Hill, Inez Bacon, Bess Bacon, Dora Wood, Emily Godfrey, and Grace Hodgman. Maud Hill was our member of longest standing since becoming baptized in 1895. Organists who served were Etta Boston, Emily Godfrey, Gertrude Eglin, Carrie Eglin, Mrs. Don Scrivens, Cornelia Malmberg, Mildred Hodgman and of course Mabel Wolter. Other organists in later years were Joyce Rice, Bonnie Taplin, Jenny Willard, Dara Johnson and Lee Hanning.
Extensive remodeling took place in 1954 when we took down the steeple and added an enclosed entry. We also added an enclosed stairway to the basement, which was also expanded to include a much needed Sunday School room. The church was again rededicated on June 19, 1955 with Rev. Edwin C. Field giving the sermon and our pastor Rev. E.E. Manes conducting the service and act of dedication.
During Rev. Manes’ pastorate the highlight was when the officers of the Evangelical and Reformed church and the Congregational church noted the merger of the two church bodies at a special service in 1957 becoming the United Church of Christ. In 1964 our yoke as Congregational Church of Granada United Church of Christ, and St. Paul's United Church of Christ (formerly Pleasant Prairie E & R Church) was formed for the purpose of securing one minister to serve our churches.
Our constitution was revised and a west kitchen basement entry was built in 1966. By 1967 our church membership had grown to181 members. An exciting event occurred in 1967. A service of Ordination and Installation for Ernest H. Strandberg was held at our church on January 15, 1967. Ministers from the conference and many area ministers participated in this event. This was a first for our church. Another joyous happening that year was our 75th Anniversary. We celebrated this with a special service on August 6, 1967.
During 1971 the sanctuary was redecorated by removing the old white wainscoting. New pews, red carpet, and drapes for the basement windows were purchased. On November 14, 1976 we held a ground breaking service for the new 18 x 38 foot addition to the south. Construction continued until 1981 when it was completed. On May 3, 1981 we held a service of Dedication of the Remodeled Church. The highlight of this whole remodeling could have been the loss of the “throne room”.
Irene Garrison was honored for 50 years of service as one of our Sunday School teachers in 1985. We consider our church to be blessed with her service to God.
Our centennial was fast approaching and on June 14, 1990 we held the first centennial meeting. Two months later we heard of the loss of our second female pastor. Pastor Marjorie Peterson was being called elsewhere. Amazingly we were blessed with another female pastor. Pastor Debra (Frye) Valentine came to our church officially in November 1990. Our last pastor was also a female. Rev. Jean Wallenfang served our church from 1994 to 2006 when she was called to Wisconsin.
The theme “A Century of Sharing God’s Love” for our centennial was chosen in July. The Beautification Committee was formed for the purpose landscaping, painting, making new signs plus many other things to get ready for the centennial. The church was buzzing with activity!!
On February 23, 1992 a special congregational meeting was held for the purpose of voting on the proposed altar area changes. These changes included construction of a curved wall with an arch-type opening to accommodate a large, hand-crafted 5-foot by 9-foot wooden cross, a new larger, hand-crafted altar and smaller moveable pulpit. The vote was favorable for these changes which were completed before August. . We celebrated our centennial with great fanfare on August 1 and 2, 1992.
Our yoke with St. Paul’s UCC ended on September 30, 2001 when they closed their doors. That same year we joined together with the First Congregational Church United Church of Christ--Sherburn.
While going through the old records, it was quite evident that we have gone through many hard times as well as many good ones. With great regret we as a congregation decided and voted our ministry had to come to a close at a meeting in 2006. The final service was held on July 15, 2007. At that point the real estate became the property of the Minnesota Conference UCC.
Late in the day on July 15th after our closing ceremony and gathering was finished, the church council turned off all the lights and closed the bible. The last item to be turned off was the eternal light. With hesitation--the switch was thrown. We were quite shocked at what happened next. The eternal light stayed on! Our little church wasn’t quite ready to go. The eternal light stayed on until the morning the real estate "For Sale" signs were posted!
By the grace of God, we were able to donate many of our furnishings to local organizations. Several items were donated to the First Congregational United Church of Christ--Sherburn and the Salvation Army in Fairmont. Our newer hymnals went to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Plato Minnesota, and several other items were donated locally. The ecclesiastical furniture in the sanctuary was graciously accepted by the United Methodist Church of Armstrong Iowa.
We hope, in this way, the ministry from Granada, Minnesota, can continue in "Sharing God's Love".
The parsonage was sold and will be used as a residence. The church was sold to Aunt Scrappy’s which is a business in Fairmont. They intend to have scrapbook retreats and rent the building out for various functions.
Our last meeting as a congregation was held on November 14, 2007 with a pie and ice cream social. On a very positive note, our church closed on very good, amicable terms. The only sad, hard feelings were the fact that we had to close.
Rowland S. Cross 1890-1895 J.H. Hfetland 1895-1896
S.A. VanLuven 1896-1897 J.A. Hoffman 1897-1898
Charles Oxley 1898-1900 H.L. Kirchner 1900
C.E. Reyburg 1901 Thomas Hartley 1901
C.E. Nelson 1902 H.S. Willoughby 1902-1904
O.D. Cranford 1904-1906 W.W. Jenkins 1907
J.H. Barnett 1908-1909 Charles R. Hill 1909-1910
John R. Hewitson 1910 John Imlay 1914
Thomas J. Gibson 1914-1915 Sivyer Nash 1915-1916
R.E. Roberts 1916-1917 William A. Mulder 1917-1919
R.K. Chapman 1919-1922 W.T. Hosking 1922
J.B. Thompson 1922-1925 Walter Blair 1925-1936
Harold Booch 1936-1939 Charles Miller 1939-1940
Miss Alzina Munger 1940-1942 William Ripon 1942-1949
Charles Schofield 1950-1952 Everett E. Manes 1952-1964
Jackson Smith 1964(interim) Ernest Strandberg 1964-1969
Leonard Vogt 1970(interim) Kenwyn Sykora 1970-1973
David Williams 1973(interim) Ernest Strandberg 1973-1987
Marjorie Peterson 1987-1990(interim) Debra (Frye) Valentine 1990-1993
G. Dean Goebel 1993-1994(interim) Jean Wallenfang 1994-2006
Grant Speece 2006-2007(interim)