Lone Rock Church, ever been there?
If not, perhaps June 26th is a date worth putting on your calendar.
The historic venue that day is hoping to host visitors for a 10:30 service, noon potluck and its annual meeting. Scott Quincey, Chairman of the volunteer board that keeps the church going, tells the Moody County Enterprise that it’s the annual fundraiser they host each year. The goal is to keep the history of Lone Rock Church and of other small country churches like it — alive.
“When we first closed, all of our former members and their kids were still around,” said Quincey. “For a lot of years, that worked to help, especially with the fundraising. We’d highlight an historic family from the church, and they would maybe hold a reunion around this event. We’d get a ton of people, that really helped with attendance. But we’ve exhausted those families over the 28 years we’ve been closed.”
The board isn’t sure how they’ll raise the $4,000 each year that’s needed to maintain the property, if something doesn’t change and participation in the potluck continues to dwindle. But those still working on the grounds and to see that the space and the cemetery across the street are cared for each day, speak passionately about keeping the church open. At least for special occasions and this one day each year.
“Why does anyone try to preserve old buildings or history? We want future generations to learn to appreciate it, like we did. No electronics, no big screen on the wall. You get the hymnal out and sing along with the piano, the way it was done 50 years ago, maybe a hundred years ago. The way that it used to be. I just appreciate that and hope that other people can too,” said Quincey.
He added that there is a ton of history in that church for him and his family. Quincey was baptized and confirmed in Lone Rock Church, as was his mother. His children were, he added, saying that his daughter, who is now 29, was the last person baptized there while the church was still functioning.
“That’s the same with the rest of the board for the church. We’re hoping to show our kids and grandkids what it was like and why we appreciate it. Old time potluck dinner, just the way it used to be when things were simpler.. And maybe better. It’s like stepping into a museum going into that church,” he said.
Funds raised each year during the potluck go help to pay the insurance, utilities, and do some maintenance. The bell tower this year needs painting and it’s leaking a little. “So it all hopefully helps us keep this here for the next generation,” said Quincey.
Lone Rock Lutheran church, which is located about halfway between Pipestone and Flandreau, was founded in 1901 by mostly Norwegian settlers. The church was named for a large rock located ¾ mile east of the church. The original building was replaced with a new building in 1950 and continued to serve the area until declining membership forced it to close in 1994. That’s when the Lone Rock Historical Society was formed to preserve the building and grounds.
All are welcome for the annual service and potluck dinner. For any questions about the service or using the church for special events, call Scott Quincey 825-2800. To get to the church, take 486th Avenue south off of Hwy 34 two miles, then a ¼ mile east on 235th Street.