The History of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
submitted by Ginny Beard
The church history spans 70 years, beginning in the spring of 1940 when Tilda Amundson and Caroline Hanson launched an effort to bring a Lutheran church to Prineville. They met with Pastor Morris Thompson of the First Lutheran Church in Bend, who conducted the first worship service on August 25, 1940, in the home of “Brick” and Marguerite Hagedorn, about 20 people attended.
After two services in Prineville homes, a decision was made to seek a public building. The next service was held in the Masonic Hall and Sunday school was organized for about 10 children.
Grace Lutheran Church was chosen as a name, even though there was no church. Instead residents met in numerous public places, including Hopkins Photo Studio and the Odd Fellow’s Hall.
In 1945, the church was renamed, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, and a constitution was drawn up and officers named. The church purchased a building site at the corner of Third and Harwood streets, at its present day location. In late 1946, an ex army chaplain, Burnis Rogness, became the pastor.
On Nov. 17, 1946, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church purchased the Camp Abbot Chapel, south of Bend, for $1,505. The building, considered war surplus, was disassembled and moved to Prineville, where it was reconstructed for $10,000. The church’s Ladies Aid Organization financed the costs of building a basement. During the winter months the contractor stripped the inside of the church and took it down in sections and put it in storage.
The church was rebuilt, first the arches, then the church sections were put together, section by section, and then the exterior was replaced.
Due to the traffic on the main highway the church was turned end for end, and a side entrance was built. The Army Chapel was designed by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in conjunction with the Army Corp. of Engineers.