A Friendly Family of Believers
Willow Creek Lutheran Church is a close-knit congregation that stands together through all the joys and sorrows of life. The uniqueness of this congregation is visible in many ways; but, especially through the feeling of family that is evident upon your first visit to the congregation. The spirit of friendship shines through as all are greeted with smiles, handshakes, and hugs upon entering the church. The peace is shared across the aisles with a very genuine spirit of caring. Following the final blessing the aisles are filled with people sharing the events of their lives. A family of believers that are truly excited that you decided to share worship with them descends upon visitors with the genuine warmth of friendship. Our worship includes the Good News of Christ, surrounded with the old familiar hymns, new contemporary music accompanied by piano, organ, guitar and gifted singers. Join us every Sunday morning at 8:30am to experience an exciting, spirit filled congregation that worships enthusiastically through The Word, Music and the warmth of Christ.
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Pastor Tom has been guiding, teaching, and preaching at Willow Creek Lutheran Church since 2014. After serving as a Youth and Family and Music Director for 14 years in Tea, SD, He was called to our congregation through a Luther House of Study/Sioux Falls Seminary track to ordination called KAIROS. Pastor Tom brings his contemporary worship style into our prairie church with his guitar and song.
Tom and his wife Judy currently live in Tea, SD with two of their four children. He also drives school bus for the Tea School district when he’s not studying. His hobbies include his music, work on their acreage, nature walks, hunting, a love for Scandinavian culture, and travel.
Come and join us for worship and experience the transformational power of God’s Word through preaching, sacrament, and service.
In the spring of 1873, a small group of immigrants from Norway arrived in Minnehaha County. These pioneers settled near a small stream called Willow Creek. The following year more immigrants arrived from Norway. One of the first priorities following the building of homes was to establish a place of worship.
Worship began in the homes of these hardy pioneers. In July of 1874, a circuit riding pastor, H.Z.Hvid, came to preach in the home of Axel Scott. In June 1875, Pastor Hvid held a worship which was followed by a business meeting to organize a congregation and adopt a constitution.
The first building was begun in 1888 at the present site. The church was dedicated in November 1893. The building has had many changes over the years. Nearly all of these improvements have been accomplished by volunteers from our church family, including: the basement in 1914; art glass windows were added in 1952; the kitchen was expanded by hand excavation in the 50’s; in 1990 a new front entrance was added; the basement has been refurbished. Even though the women had no vote in the business of the congregation, led by Pastor Midtboe, they organized a Ladies Aid to help raise money for building the church by making and selling quilts. They also raised the money to purchase the 1,044 pound church bell at a cost of $178.20.
The Willow Creek parish has changed many times during the past 141 years. Having begun as a four-point parish, which included: St. Ansgar, St. Olaf, Norway and Willow Creek; only Willow Creek remains as a parish today. Willow Creek joined with Dell Rapids Lutheran in 1919. Then became a stand-alone parish during the 1960’s. We again became a part of Dell Rapids Lutheran in 1974. The year 2000 became the time that we combined as a two-point parish with Benton Lutheran rural Crooks, SD. Our combined churches have developed into a strong grace filled community. We combine and participate in each other’s worship occasionally and family activities.
Willow Creek, with God’s help, continues to minister and provide for the spiritual growth of its congregation. It also continues to grow and reach out to others through its mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the surrounding communities of Baltic, Chester, Colton, Crooks, Dell Rapids, Hartford and Sioux Falls.
Annual elections are held every January to decide the slate of officers of the church and decide any other church business. The current church council is listed below.
- President – Craig Dybedahl
- Vice-President – Laura Berg
- Treasurer – Kevin Hoekman
- Secretary – Kris Smart
- Trustee – Mitch Oien
- Trustee – Justin Koepp
- Trustee – Jason Mitzel
- Deacon – Joyce Linge
- Deacon – Linda Linge
- Deacon – Sandy Zwart
- Board of Worship/Music – Lisa Rave, Judy Stadem, Lindsay Koepp
- Board of Education – Danielle Geigle, Katie Hoekman, Tina Soderquist
The cemetery that surrounds Willow Creek is governed by the Willow Creek Cemetery Board.
- Craig Dybedahl
- Al Hilmoe
- Jared Questad
- Shane Warne