WILLIAMS - The Friends of Rose Church of rural Williams will be holding a celebration service on Sunday, July 15 at 11 a.m. at 2505 Ubben Ave.
The service will mark a new beginning for the church which was originally built in 1890.
Last month, the Friends of Rose Grove Church secured the deed of the building and will work to preserve and refurbish the structure. The goal is to utilize the church for social and spiritual events such as weddings, banquets and family reunions, said Ortrude Dial, organization member.
-Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Teresa Wood
Friends of Rose Grove Church will hold a celebration service on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the rural Williams church. The picture is taken from the Rose Grove Cemetery that borders the church property on the south.
Originally affiliated with the Lutheran church in Jewell, the church was called Tabitha Church when it was organized on March 20, 1890.
The area was an enclave of immigrants from Norway, so all the church documents and worship services were written and conducted in Norwegian.
In 1912, Tabitha Church withdrew from the Jewell parish and formed a new parish with St. Paul Lutheran Church of Williams and Landstad Lutheran Church, another rural church located about ten miles east of Rose Grove.
The Rose Grove area was the last transfer of government land in Hamilton County. Although located in Liberty Township in south Hamilton County, the church and an adjoining cemetery were named after the Rose Grove settlement which was located a few miles south.
Rose Grove settlement and Rose Grove Church were named by Samuel L. Rose, a Hamilton Country official. It was previously known as Skunk Grove.
Despite a fire in 1917 which destroyed the church, parishioners rebuilt the structure that same year.
The church was the center of all worship and social activity for its rural members and served the community until age and deterioration finally took its toll. The building was closed in 1976.
In 1985, the Rose Grove Lutheran Church Restoration Association was formed to preserve the building.
Major repairs at the church included reinforcing the steeple, sealing windows, repairing the roof and painting the exterior.
Every year during the Williams Fourth of July celebration, the St. Paul congregation marked the holiday with a special service held at Rose Grove Church.
But over the years, the cost of maintaining the building forced the group to consider other options.
In 2011, a group of supporters called the Friends of Rose Grove Church asked permission to buy the church from the St. Paul parish.
On June 27, 2012, the deed transfer was finalized. Only the church building was transferred. The Rose Grove Cemetery remains under the direction of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Williams.
"It is the first step toward saving the church," said group member Ortrude Dial.
Guests attending Sunday's celebration service are invited to dress in period clothing.
"To remember the history and why we are working so hard to keep it going," said Dial.
The church is located southwest of Williams. Directions: From U.S. Highway 20, turn south on Highway 69. Travel to 250th Street. Turn left (east) and drive to Ubben Avenue.