December 17th, 2017 8:40am Fellowship
9am Discipleship Classes
10am Christmas Music Presentation featuring the CEFC Choir
The present Carney Evangelical Free Church, originally organized in 1885 as the Carney Methodist Church, marked its 125th anniversary in 2010. The one person most responsible for the organization of the church at Carney was Mrs. Suzanna Moseson.
Suzanna Jacobson was born in Helsingford (Helsinki), Finland, in 1853. She married Adam Robert Moseson in Finland, and they had three children before coming to America in 1879. One of the children, Huldah, later married Nels Waldo and was the mother of Ruth , Roy, Elsie, Mabel, Birdie, Dan, Herman, Harriet, Nels, Amy and Raymond. Three of the children died in infancy.
Just as many other Scandinavian immigrants to America, the Mosesons came first to Ishpeming, attracted by the work in the iron mines. They moved to Norway, Michigan shortly afterward. While living there, Suzanna came under the influence of the gospel in a Swedish Methodist Church pastored by Rev. Carl Nord, and she yielded her heart and life to her Savior, Jesus Christ.
After her conversion in 1881 at revival services in Norway, Michigan, she moved to Carney with her family. There were no churches in the Carney community. Friends and neighbors gathered in her home for Bible studies and in 1885 at Mrs. Moseson’s request, Pastor Nord from Norway came to Carney to help their small group to found a church.
Residents of the community responded and decided to organize a church. Mr. and Mrs. August Gustafson, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Lindahl, Mr. and Mrs. William Lindahl and Mrs. Moseson met in the Moseson home and organized the Carney Methodist Church under the guidance of the Rev. O.R. Gustafson, superintendent of the Northwestern District of the Methodist Church. Rev. L. Brynildson was appointed the first pastor on October 6, 1885.
Later meetings were conducted in the district school house, and in the summer of 1886 the first church was built on property purchased from William Lindahl. It was located on the southeast side of Carney, ½ mile off of Hwy 41 on Lickman Rd. There are still some grave markers there. The congregation worshipped in that building for six years, but the roads were impassable in winter and spring , and members sought another location. Property along the township road was purchased from Israel Lindstrom. While Rev. L. Sivertson was pastor, the new church was constructed in 1892 by Andrew Anderson, Bengt Peterson and Peter Fredrickson.
An addition to the west side of the church was built in 1912 and a basement was added in 1920. The building was also completely redecorated and new pews installed.
The 50th anniversary celebration was held in 1935 and 1936, during the ministry of Rev. Clifford Lindberg. The young people’s groups were active in the ‘30’s, and a gospel team of young men traveled to several surrounding areas. A spiritual revival was experienced in the late ‘30’s and early ‘40’s, resulting in several young people making life-long commitments to Christian service.
On February 15, 1948, fire of unknown origin destroyed the church building. Pastor Sandin and his family were eating their lunch , shortly after the morning worship service, in the parsonage next door. A bucket brigade of volunteers from the community saved the parsonage.
A month later, on March 25, 1948, the congregation reorganized as an independent group without denominational affiliation and chose the name Carney Bible Church. Rev. E. C. Sandin was pastor at that time. Church services were held for a time in the basement of the Carney-Nadeau school. The new church was erected in 1948, with groundbreaking on May 9.
On July 23, 1959, while the Rev. Lawrence Wagstrom was pastor, the congregation of 75 members voted to affiliate with the Evangelical Free Church of America. Rev. Wagstrom was followed by Rev. Robert Hickman, who served as pastor for nearly five years. In July, 1959, Rev. Donald Holsten and his wife Marjorie came to Carney. The church’s 75th anniversary was celebrated during his pastorate, in 1960.
In 1967 Rev. Robert Mueller became pastor at Carney. During his time of service, in 1971, the church was remodeled and enlarged. Landscaping and enlarging the parking lot was also done.
Rev. Gene Swanstrom served us for four years, and then accepted the call to assume the duties of Assistant Great Lakes Superintendent for the Evangelical Free Church. When the Forest Lakes district formed, Pastor Swanstrom became the district’s superintendent. Pastor Swanstrom now works at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
From 1978-1981 Rev. David B. Biebel was our pastor. During his ministry the church increased in numbers and in outreach. The tragic death of the Biebel’s young son Jonathan in 1978 was felt throughout the community. Pastor Biebel wrote a book entitled “Jonathan You Left Too Soon” describing his struggle with grief, and the book was published in early 1981.
In the summer of 1982 a ministerial student, Chris Cone, served as interim pastor. In the fall Rev. Dennis Hustedt ministered until Christmas when the Donaldsons arrived.
In December, 1982, the Donaldson’s started their ministry here.In 1985 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary. The theme was Praising Your Works To Another Generation. We also had 3 intern pastors, Jeff Reed, Tim Teebken and Roger Bryant. In 1985 the parsonage became known as the Sonshine House and was used for Sunday School and AWANA. The new parsonage is now located near the water tower in Carney.
Pastor Rich, Gena and Brandon Blum came to Carney in January 1998. Building and remodeling plans were being discussed at this time. Missions trips were taken to Mexico. Several men attended Promise Keepers.
As we celebrated our 125th anniversary Pastor Gary Page and Pastor Mark Duquette are serving here.
God urges his people to remember what He has done. And, as demonstrated in Hebrews 11, He urges us to remember those who have gone before us, demonstrating faith in God and faithfulness in his service.
As we mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Carney Free Church, we can thank God for his work in this place and for the men and women He has used to build his kingdom here.