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MOUNTAIN IRON FAITH: Messiah Lutheran Church

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  • Author: Jerry Hoffman
  • Updated: 06/15/2005

July 14, 1998, lightning struck the bell tower at Messiah Lutheran Church, Mountain Iron, MN.  The following series of articles touches on the story through sermons, writing, events and reflections.

On July 14, 1998, lightning struck the bell tower at Messiah Lutheran Church, Mountain Iron, MN and burned the building to the ground.  The following series of articles touches on this moving story of faith through sermons, writing, events and reflections.  (Click on title to read whole article)

FIRE SEED  The following essay was written by Pastor Kristin Foster for the Mesabi Daily News, to be published on Sunday, October 4, 1998, as the first of a series of guest columns from Messiah for the community-at-large. She writes, " the fire there is also a seed. The seed has broken open with the flames which destroyed Messiah's building, and now germinating, it prepares for a growth which could not have taken place under any other circumstances."

SECOND CALLING In Pastor Foster's January 1999 annual report, she writes on the "year of the fire!"  The fire was an identifying life event which impacted many people in the congregation and beyond.  The fire changed the congregation.  As she writes, "To be more precise, it has changed everything not by erasing what has come before, but by accentuating it."

FAITH WILL MOVE US This is an article by Pastor Kristin Foster in 1999 for the  Capital Appeal following 1998 fire.  She writes about the opportunity to affect the course of many lives for many years to come.  "We are standing at the brink of such an opportunity now."

In May 2000, Pastor Foster is in awe as she reflects on what is happening to Messiah.  "We have the privilege of celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord this year by organizing a mini-resurrection right here! The construction of a new church is not just a building project: it's a resurrection. Like all genuine miracles, this one makes us participants in organizing it."

OF DUST AND WATER February 2005, Pastor Kristin Foster went on a synod Mission Trip to Honduras.  When she came home she shared these thoughts with the congregation during her sermon, " We have come to the well that is Honduras, like that other traveler, Jesus, in the heat of the day. It is dusty. We are tired.

"Here, at the well, we meet the Honduran people. The gap between us is as great or greater than the gap between Jesus, a Jew and the woman he met at the well, a Samaritan.

"They live on a dollar or two a day, while we spend dollars all the time.

"They speak virtually no English. We speak virtually no Espanola.

"They are lucky to have completed the six required years of school, and may have had to drop out to sell trinkets in the street."

THE CHALLENGE  In his temple talk during worship in May 2005, Jerry Kujala reflects on the challenges the congregation faced since the fire in 1998, how it positively responded to those challenges and the challenges before the congregation now to continue to share what has been given.   Jerry served as chair of the leadership team "Catch the Vision! Claim the Promise!" appeal.  

THE PENNY PROCESSIONAL On May 22, 2005, Commitment Sunday, children gave  116,316 pennies as lead gifts for the special appeal.  "Jar after jar was poured out and soon the copper kettle was overflowing with pennies.   There was laughter and joy.  As the pennies spilled on the floor, kids tried picking up the pennies and getting them back into the kettle.  Even Pastor Foster could be seen on her hands and knees before the altar picking up pennies to put back in the kettle."  

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