History of Rosemount UMC
In 1854, a group of dedicated members form the Red Wing Church started a new congregation at Salem, and in turn the Rosemount church was established from the Salem congregation. Formal incorporation took place in January, 1868, under the name “German Methodist Episcopal Church” with services and study groups being held in private homes.
In the summer of 1874, Fredrick Kloepping, a 25-year-old German immigrant, had just started a building contracting business in the Village of Rosemount when he decided to build a church. At the cost of $1,900 cash, and with the help of Simon Moeller, Kloepping erected a church on the corners of Warweg and Cedar Street, an intersection now known as 146th and Burma. (Simon Moeller was an uncle of Ben Moeller and great-uncle of Joan Hasbrouck who died in 1997, and Glen Uitdenbogerd, present member of the church.) They had lots of volunteer labor. The church building measured 24 by 36 feet. Lumber for the building was hauled from saw mills in Hastings by some of the farmers in the area. Some of these trips took two days on dirt roads. Double teams of horses were used on the heavier wagon loads.
Many people stood in pride and praise of God when the church was charted by the German Conference and the doors first opened in 1874. The Rev. Fredrick Sprute was the pastor and services were conducted in German.
Before the end of his first year, the membership in the Sunday School had increased to 40. The church seated 60 people – men sitting on the right side of the church and the women and children sitting on the left. In the winter, the building was heated only for services and only by two wood stoves. The wood was cut by church members. While the congregation was in church, their horses were tied to a hitching rail at the street.
The Rev. Sprute was succeeded by the Revs. Henry Deitz, George Hartung, Phillip Funk and William Rotert. Each of them served for two years. Salem Church, now in Inver Grove Heights, had now been organized and it was decided that one pastor could serve both churches. Early members of that church, including Fred Uitdenbogerd, still a member of the church, remember that when they were children, part of the worship services were spoken in German, which the children could not understand. Part of the service was given in English at which time the children would sit up and listen.
In 1924, the German Conference merged with the Minnesota Conference and the Rev. Fred Meierbachtol, formerly of the German group, was appointed to Farmington, Lakeville, and Rosemount. The church was elevated in 1927 so that a basement could be dug and a gas floor furnace installed. The entrance to the basement was through a trap door in the back of the sanctuary and through an outside entrance next to the sanctuary doorway.
In January 1936, 14 ladies met to form our church’s first “Ladies Aid.” The name was officially changed to “Women’s Society of Christian Service” in 1940 and to United Methodist Women in 1968. The small village began to grow and by 1953, the church membership was 63. Volunteer help was again enlisted and with the leadership of Ben Moeller, the chancel area was enlarged; a choir room and inside stairway to the basement were added. New blonde oak pews were purchased at this time and Ben Moeller, with the aid of Dale Duff, built an altar, altar rail, and pulpit.
Volunteers also were readily available for repair work. Fred Uitdenbogerd, Curt Hildebrandt, Gene Olson, and Milt Wutschke helped with shingling the church roof and also placed a cross on the steeple. Throughout the history of the Rosemount Methodist Church, members have offered their services to the church. The women prepared many meals while the men were busy with their carpentry and repair work. They became known for their potato pancakes and the reputation of their “Fall Ham Suppers” was widespread. The scalloped potatoes and other dishes were prepared in the homes and brought to the church to be served to between two and three hundred people. Florence Elliott made her “egg” coffee in the kitchen.
Except for the year 1926 and for a period between 1930 and 1935, the pastor of Farmington also served the Rosemount church. With the growth of the congregation, the people were determined to have their own full time pastor. Three acres of land were purchased from Rudy Rechtizigel and construction for a one story, three bedroom parsonage was begun in 1955. The Rev. Lawrence Rule and his family moved into the completed parsonage at 147th and Park (now Canada Ave) in January 1956. The Rev. Fred Shandorff, Jr., served as pastor from 1957 to 1959. The Sunday School was continuing its growth and in 1959, another addition was added to the basement on the north side of the church. The Cabinet of the Minnesota Annual Conference suggested that this be our last addition to our old church building and encouraged us to begin thinking of a new church building.
In 1959, the Rev. Ralph Shoemaker was assigned to Rosemount for the primary propose of building a new church. His wife, Pearl, assisted in the selection of a new Conn organ. The organ was purchased for $4,200. The Building Committee, chaired by Superintendent of Schools, H.C. Hanson, decided that in order to provide adequate parking and to have room for future expansion, more land was needed. Ed Rahn sold the church 2.5 acres of land adjoining that which had been purchased previously. Ground was broken for our present building on October 14, 1962. This unit was entirely contracted at a cost of $125,000. The Rev. James Minehart arrived in July, 1963, and held the first service in the new building on September 1, 1963. A Consecration Service was held on December 8, 1963. The Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church united and on Celebration Sunday, June 8, 1968, the church became the Rosemount United Methodist Church. For construction of the building, three stages were planned. When our Sunday School enrollment increased so that more space was required, ground was broken on June 4, 1972, for the addition of more education space, office facilities, and an addition to the sanctuary. The total cost of this addition was $165,000.
An oil painting of the first church building, done by artist and church member Hermine Mangus, and a sign from that first building, hang in downstairs Arts area of our present church. The huge, beautiful cross in our present sanctuary was designed, made and donated to our church by Dan Radford (current member, Pricilla Schaffer’s father).Dr. Thurman Coss, a former professor at Hamline University, returned to Minnesota from California in July, 1975, and was assigned to the Rosemount Church. The church membership had increased from 104 in 1952 to over 500 in 1975 and under his leadership the membership grew consistently. When Dr. Coss left, the full membership numbered 639.
Pastor Charles Dundas was appointed to the church in 1984. He helped through yet another building project in 1989 when a new sanctuary and narthex were added to the church. Pastoral and ministries staff were added and the church grew steadily in ministry, mission and membership though the leadership provided by Pastor Dundas, the staff, and the laity.
Pastor Mike Dyrdal was appointed as lead pastor upon the retirement of Pastor Charlie in July 1998. He came to Rosemount from Brooklyn United Methodist Church with gifts for leadership and team ministry and a passion for the local church to become an inviting place.
In 2002, Rosemount UMC began a $3.5 million expansion project that doubled the size of the building. The new space included a three-level ‘cube,’ with arts space downstairs, administration on the main floor and youth above. Also included in the expansion were additional kitchen space and a Family Life Center large enough for a full-size basketball court and complete with a stage for drama and concerts.
Our once small town church is now located in one of the fastest growing counties in the U. S. Corn fields are now housing developments. Through it all, God continues to call us into ministry and is busy creating a church that will transform lives through Jesus Christ for living in the twenty-first century.