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Scandia Baptist Church of Waconia, Minnesota collection, 1855-1987

Identifier: MSS-CHU-MN 2

Scope and Contents

This collection covers the history of the Scandia Baptist Church from its beginnings near Lake Waconia through its current location at Bethel University. The majority of the contents of this collection are from the church's original location before its move in 1973.

The Correspondence folder contains letters from church members and pastors, as well as Bethel leaders. The topics range from financial information, the church's move to Bethel, and anniversary invitations.

The Finances folder is more specific to the cost of moving the church to Bethel and the donations that helped to finance the details. The Scandia Church Fund assisted with hiring the movers, installing electricity, and other costs.

The Programs folder covers programs and fliers for events held at the church, primarily anniversary celebrations. This folder covers the dates of 1923 to 1987, when the 109th BGC Annual Meeting took place.

The News Clippings folder holds articles about the church from various newspapers and periodicals. Many of the news articles focus on the move from Lake Waconia to Bethel.

The Committees folder holds agendas to committee meetings. Most of these were for the Scandia Church Committee, although the Historical Committee of the Baptist General Conference is also included.

The Loose Papers folder contains a variety of other material. These include handwritten notes, the 1955 centenary address by O.W. Lunsten, written histories, a prayer meeting schedule, architectural plans, and a statistical report from 1967.

The Guest Book contains signatures of attendees of the 110th Anniversary in 1965.

The Inventory book holds a list of all materials associated with the church before its move in 1973.

The Material found in church during cleaning series was added to the collection in October 2022 after being cleaned out of the church, where it was poorly stored.

The Music folder holds some of the hymn sheets used at the church. Other hymnals can be found in the Scandia Church Library Special Collections.

Three large manilla envelopes were found, sent to the church. The materials inside each envelope are kept in their corresponding folders.

The Programs folder contains most of the same programs as in Folder 3, from anniversary events. However, these programs were kept in the church until pulled out in October 2022.

The Loose Papers folder contains a variety of loose materials, primarily from before the church was moved. Included are some periodicals from Harvest Publishers.

The Descriptions of Items on Index Cards folder are explanations of various artifacts associated with the church. Also kept in this folder are the candle holders, clipped onto their corresponding index card.

Seven copper plate photographs on wood blocks are kept in the back of the box. The red flag with blue stars is also located there.

Box 2 contains material too large for the previous box. Included is a plot map of the Scandia Graveyard from 1882. Additionally, there are four ledgers in Swedish and English on church membership and meeting minutes.

Artifacts included in the collection but too large for the box storage are the offering bag on a wooden pole, the white wooden table likely used for communion, and three corresponding white wooden kneelers.


  • 1855 - 1987

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for researcher use.

Historical Note

The Scandia Baptist Church was founded on August 1, 1855 in the log home of Andrew Peterson, Swedish pioneer near Lake Waconia, Minnesota. By 1856, the congregation had 32 members. A log church was built in 1957, with the first service held July 12. F.O. Nilsson, exiled Swedish Baptist evangelist, preached the sermon. Membership peaked in 1862 with 62 people. In 1875, new siding was added to the building, although a current cutout in the corner of the building reveals the original timbers. A tornado hit the building in 1904, but it was refurbished. In 1910, an entry and steeple were added to the building. The Scandia Cemetery was deeded to the Scandia Baptist Cemetery Association in 1930. After a new church building on Highway 5 was constructed, the President Carl Lundquist of Bethel arranged ownership of the original building. The building was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and moved to Bethel campus in Arden Hills, where it has stood since October 15, 1973.


2.5 Cubic Feet ; The 2.5 cubic feet does not include the table, kneelers, or offering bag.

Language of Materials




All original order has been lost. The contents are arranged loosely by record type, with the items found in the church during the 2022 cleaning organized together in a series.

Custodial History

The original provenance of most of the materials in this collection comes from the Scandia Baptist Church and its congregation. When the church was moved to the Bethel campus in 1973, much of the material in the collection moved with it. Others were contributed to the History Center by Norris Magnuson, member of the History Committee.

Processing Information

Archivist Rebekah Bain cleaned out the church in October 2022. The materials found are in the series Materials found in church during cleaning. The items had been poorly stored in a cabinet and shelf in the church pulpit. Evidence of mice damage was found. A black coat, white linens, and a Swedish flag were left in the church cabinet. Some hymnals were removed and added to the Special Collections Scandia Church Library.

Rebekah Bain
October 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The History Center: Archives of Bethel University and Converge Repository

3900 Bethel Drive
Arden Hills MINNESOTA 55112 United States