In the year 1888, the was organized by a group of Danish people. They met as "Our Savior's Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church." The group had no regular pastor but was served by men from the Danish Lutheran Church in America and a conference know as "Nord-Kirken." Meetings were held in homes, rented rooms or any other available place. The work of these people was difficult and without a regular pastor and only temporary meeting places, the work came to a standstill. The sincerity of these people to have a church resulted in the Rev. N.J. Bing to come to Des Moines in 1898. He was to assist them in reorganizing and affiliating themselves with a national body. Rev. Bing accepted the call of the congregation on March 2nd, 1898.

In April of 1898 property was purchased at Pennsylvania and Buchanan Ave. for $825.00. At this time the name of the church was changed to "Bethesada Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church." The new church was soon completed, with the help of the congregation, and was dedicated on June 26th, 1898. A parsonage was soon built in 1899. Rev. Bing accepted a call to Racine Wisconsin in 1900. Rev. C.C. Kloth was to fill the vacancy and remained until 1903 when Rev. H.J. Dahlstrom assumed the pastorate. Due to ill health, Rev. Dahlstrom had to relinquish this work in 1905. Rev. N.S. Nielsen accepted the call and during this time the work was organized among the young people as the Luther League. Rev. Nielsen resigned in 1908 and Rev. G. Grill accepted the call in 1909. Because of mud surrounding the church, a sidewalk was built in the year 1910 on the Buchanan street side of the church.

In the year 1913, Rev. Grill's resignation was accepted and again the congregation was beset with the problem of securing a regular pastor. It was over a year before they obtained Rev. Soholm as their minister. In that year that passed, however, the congregation has been busy installing a furnace in the parsonage. Rev. Soholm accepted the work in Des Moines in 1915. It was during this ministry that the basement under the church was dug and completed. The church took an active part in ministering to the young men stationed at Camp Dodge during World War I.

In 1921, Rev. Soholm resigned and Rev. C.H. Jensen accepted the call. The Des Moines and Jewell, Iowa congregations extended a call and Rev. Jensen served both churches. In July 1925 the congregation voted to give Pastor Jensen a three or four month leave of absence so he could make a trip to Denmark. Tragedy struck within a month and he was killed. A newly ordained student of Trinity Seminary, at Blair, Paul Nyholm, came to Betheseda in 1926 and remained until 1929. During his ministry the first departure from the Danish language came about. The morning service was to be held in the English language the fourth Sunday of each month.

Rev. Elmer Christiansen was given a joint call from Des Moines and Jewell, but this arrangement was soon terminated and Rev. Christiansen devoted his service to Des Moines. He accepted his call in 1935. An unanimous vote called Rev. Theo J. Jensen and he became pastor early the following year. During his pastorate several notable events occurred: the church constitution was translated into English (1938); the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated (1938) and both the church and parsonage were remodeled and repaired (1940). In October of 1940, Rev. Jensen offered his resignation and Rev. Stanly Larsen was installed as the next pastor in the Spring of 1941. Many changes took place during his stay in Des Moines. In 1943 a stairway was built from the vestibule to the basement fulfilling a long felt need for an all weather access between the nave and basement.

In 1944 discussion first arose concerning the building of a new church. In March 1945 the congregation authorized the purchase of the property at Cambridge and Euclid Ave. for $8, 500. During the same year the Iowa District pledged $25,000 to the relocation project. Plans were prepared and accepted by the congregation but because of rising costs of building, they found the cost of the church planned went far above the $60,000 originally set out. Therefore in February 1947, the building committee was authorized to obtain new plans which would be within the means of the congregation's budget. Plans were drawn up and accepted. The cornerstone of the present Highland Park Lutheran Church was laid on April 19th, 1948. On Sunday November 14th, 1948 Dr. N.C. Carlsen officiated at the formal dedication of the new church, with Rev. E. Bondo and Rev. S. Larsen assisting.

The congregation now had it's new church, and it in turn was soon to have Art Glass windows for the chancel, the pews for the nave and an organ. In March 1953, a lot was purchased and soon one could see the parsonage being moved to it's present location at 3936 Bowdoin. Some extensive changes were made in the parsonage during this relocation. In October 1958, Rev. Bondo resigned as pastor of our church to accept a call to Racine, Winsconsin. Rev. F.C.M. Hansen served us as interim pastor until arrival of Rev. Jacob Enderson from Mason City, Iowa, in August 1959 During the year 1960 the construction of the Educational Unit of Highland Park Lutheran was completed, and on September 11th, 1960, Rev. Bondo returned to deliver the Dedication Sermon for the Consecration of the Unit.

On September 11th, 1961, Pastor Enderson's letter of resignation was accepted a call was to sent to Rev. M.C. Hagedorn, then serving as a Director of Chaplaincy in Detroit, Michigan. He accepted the call and arrived in Des Moines in September 1962. During this period the art glass windows for the chancel were installed. In December of 1967, Pastor Hagedorn accepted a call to Bethany Manor at Story City, Iowa. A letter of call was sent to Rev. Floyd Olsen, then serving as pastor in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. He accepted the call and arrived in Des Moines in January 1968. The year of 1970 brought about the burning of the church mortgage and remodeling of the church lounge followed soon after.

In December 1974, Rev. Olsen resigned to accept a call to Joice, Iowa. A call was then sent to Rev. Richard Larsen, then serving Davenport, Iowa. He accepted the call and arrived in Des Moines of February of 1975. During the year 1976 two lots adjacent to the church property were purchased and have since been cleared and paved for parking...

MORE TO COME - TO BE CONTINUED SOON!

Highland Park Lutheran Church (LCMC)

147 East Euclid Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50313-4577

Office Phone: 515-244-6517

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