Jeffers High School The Village of South Range
South Range Elementary

History of the Apostolic Lutheran Church in South Range

The history of the South Range Apostolic Lutheran Church begins on the 27th day of January in the year 1907, when a group of men gathered together for the purpose of incorporating a church according to Michigan law. These men were Sakri Seppala, Arvid Rukkola, Levi Malmstrom, Henry Peterson, Edward Loukinen, Carl Juntikka, Jalmer Ponka and August Eskola.

At this meeting, the constitution of the church was agreed upon: this agreement was notarized by Jacob Jarvis. A lot was purchased from the Whealkate Mining Company.

In March 1907, Sakri Ruske was chosen as the contractor to build a church 50 feet long and 30 feet wide with a loan of $1200 taken from South Range Bank.

In July of 1909, the Board of Directors decided that a Sunday School would be started, and it continues to this day.

In 1917, plans were formulated to construct a basement and to install a furnace. A balcony was added in 1921.

When a fire destroyed the South Range Grade School, the church was then used as a schoolhouse in the winter of 1917-1918.

In 1918, a fence was built around the church to keep away the cows that were being sent to and from pastures.

When the women of the nation won the right to vote in 1926, the church women members were permitted to vote, provided their church dues were paid for that year.

During the year of 1936, permission was given for the Township meetings to be held at the church.

Some facts from the minute books:

1916 Change By-laws
1917 Install rock footing of church building
1918 Built fence around the church building
1919 Summer school and confirmation
1921 Balcony constructed
1924 Change in By-laws to allow people to request for a speaker as long as they would pay for the speaker
1925 Reverend Maatala becomes a pastor
1926 Reverend Maatala and Reverend Heideman are scheduled to speak each month
1927 Women are given the right to vote upon the payment of dues
1928 Indoor toilets installed in the church building
1930 New chairs are purchased and a front porch is constructed
1933 South Range congregation becomes a member congregation of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
1935 Kitchen area is enlarged
1936 Township meeting held at the church
1936 On September 30th, Reverend Maatala dies
1936 Fence around the church building is torn down and made into kindling wood
1937 On February 14th, Reverend Mickelsen serves as pastor
1943 Organ brought into the sanctuary
1945 New flag purchased for the church

When the Finnish Russian war (the Winter War) was being fought, special services were held and the offering was sent to Finland.

During the period of 1941 to 1945, church services were held in which the offerings were sent to the American Red Cross. There were many young men from South Range serving there country during the war.

In 1987, a new, two-story addition, thirty feet by twenty feet was built to house the growing needs of the Sunday School. Four study rooms, a nursery and the pastor's office were built by volunteer laborers. The research of the history of the church was done by Gordon Mattila and Sally Ohman. All of the ledgers were written in the Finnish language.

We welcome contributions to this page.
If you have information, stories, or photos pertaining to the history of the village and surrounding area you would like to contribute, please email the webmaster or contact the Village of South Range. The village would like to thank all contributors to this site.


For assistance with this Web site, please contact: