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One hundred and twenty-five years from its inception, the Wyanett Evangelical Free Church is still going strong.

Now that the church has reached that major milestone, it’s time to celebrate.

Pastor Bruce Talso and his 60-member congregation, along with former members, will be gathering this weekend to share fellowship, food and fun. There will be a picnic from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the church, located east of Princeton at 7036 State Highway 95.

The Stonybrook Band of Milaca will provide Saturday’s entertainment. Sunday’s activities feature a special service beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The service will feature a welcome message from Dave Linde, relations director for the Evangelical Free Church of Minneapolis, and a singing performance from Dale Lundgren, who sang at the dedication of the current building in 1985.

“It will be a casual time to gather and celebrate 125 years,” Talso said. “A lot of former attendees will be there, and we’ll be reminiscing with them. Sunday morning will be a homecoming service.”

Wyanett Evangelical Free Church provides a church home to friends and families where they can enjoy Christian fellowship and the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Talso said it’s a place where people can find practical answers to the issues of life through prayer and application of biblical preaching, ministry opportunities, Christian fellowship, worship and teaching, including Sunday School classes and Bible studies for adults.

Music at the church features a mixture of praise songs and the old-fashioned hymns that many churches are no longer singing. A piano, guitar and organ accompany the congregation in song.

The church originated on March 19, 1894, as the Swedish Evangelical Free Society of Wyanett Township.

The foundation statement at the time was: “The meeting house shall be open for all preachers and evangelists who work for the Lord, to the edification of the people of God, and to the salvation of sinners.”

That message is similar 125 years later despite the fact the church has had three different locations.

“Loving church and proclaiming a living message is a theme for us,” Talso said. “Our church is unique because it’s very loving. We get to know each other. People have been very faithful in support of the church and we want to reach out to our community friends to let them know we’re here for them. We have a welcoming congregation that reaches out to people and says ‘Come join us.’”

On Feb. 21, 1982, the congregation decided to build a new church to accommodate the increased attendance. The 9,900-square-foot facility was built by Miller Construction and was dedicated on Nov. 2, 1986.

Talso came to Wyanett in June 2002 as an interim pastor not knowing if or how long he’d stay. And he’s still there.

“It’s a great place to minister and I appreciate the people,” Talso said. “They’re very kind and gracious. Wyanett has a rich heritage to pass on and the people help keep the church up and running. We’re a small congregation with very loving people. I feel it’s a good challenge to be able to help the people locally to keep the church running.

“We’re a strong biblical-preaching and teaching church with good Christian music. It’s all about the relationships that you build over a period of time that are so important. I feel God brought us to this place very supernaturally, and until he moves us on, we’ll be able to stay and minister accordingly.”

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