Oylen Alliance Church celebrates 100 years
The Oylen Alliance Church is celebrating 100 years this Sunday, June 14. The church is known as "A Parish in the Pines" for its location just off the Crow Wing River in eastern Wadena County. Oylen Camp is also located near the church. Each summe...
The Oylen Alliance Church is celebrating 100 years this Sunday, June 14.
The church is known as "A Parish in the Pines" for its location just off the Crow Wing River in eastern Wadena County. Oylen Camp is also located near the church. Each summer, children continue to migrate to the camp to learn about the Christian faith while playing games and meeting new friends.
This Sunday, coffee and snacks will be served in the dining hall from 9 to 10:15 a.m. followed by a celebration in the tabernacle from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. with a camp kick-off service at 3 p.m.
The current congregation is small with typically a dozen or more people attending church each Sunday. Members are expecting at least 50 for Sunday's 100 year celebration. The current pastor is Rev. Neal Malcore.
Clara Howard gathered some history of the church.
After the Civil War, people began to homestead land in the Mississippi River valley. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Crow Wing River area was opened up for homesteading.
Lauren Smith and his wife were among the first settlers. Lauren Smith was well-versed in the Bible and was concerned about the spiritual welfare of the early settlers who moved with him to the land. He started a Sunday School and services in the Oakland School House in Poplar Township before the church was built in 1917-18. They also met in homes.
On Nov. 14, 1914, a meeting was called at the Smith home to organize as a branch of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The purpose of the organization was the holding and maintaining of property pertaining to this work, the spiritual welfare of its members and expressive evangelistic work, according to historical documents.
The Oylen camp was first held 10 years before, in 1904, on the high bank of the Crow Wing River. It was held annually during the first week in June in a large tent.
The camp continues to be an important part of the church.
In 1919, a church building was erected on the southeast corner of the property. The entrance was on the southeast side of the building and the pulpit was on the west side. Seats were handmade from jack pine lumber. The stove, a box heater taking three-foot lengths of wood, was on the south side of the building. The chimney was on the north end of the building.
Rev. David Needham was pastor of the church in the early 1940s when the church was remodeled. Seating was rearranged and a balcony was built. Sunday School rooms were also built at that time and the stove was replaced with a furnace.
Between 1940 and 1943, there were enough people in the area that another church was built in Nimrod. Both churches had good attendance, with the pastor in Oylen serving at both churches.
"The church has stood as a lighthouse in the community," a 75th anniversary booklet states.
All are welcome to the 100 year celebration of the church Sunday, June 14.