What’s New With YOU?
Updates from congregations around the church of the Lutheran Confession
Peace on the Prairie
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Just two miles south of Mission, South Dakota, and one hundred yards east of U.S. Highway 83 on a small section of
prairie, lies Peace Lutheran Church. 2019 was the Sixtieth anniversary of Peace Lutheran Church’s founding. It was a small parish when it was first established, and it remains a small parish today. Consequently, one might think that after sixty-one years there is really nothing “new” at Peace, but then one would be mistaken, for the Lord’s mercies and compassion fill the lives of the members of Peace congregation with new blessings each day!
Three years ago, after being located for fifty-seven years in the middle of Mission on the main east-west highway running directly through town, the congregation took the step to relocate out to the prairie. The new church—a simple steel-framed structure—is now located next to the congregational graveyard and boasts a scenic view of the area’s ranchland. The exterior building was built by contractors, while the members worked together to complete the entire interior. The sanctuary has remarkable acoustics and has served well as the worship site for both Peace and St. Paul’s of White River congregations three Sundays each month.
Not long after completing the church, a bell tower was constructed. That new bell now fills the prairie each Sunday morning with the announcement that worship is about to begin—that the good news of the Gospel is once again about to be proclaimed!
Donated altar cloths from our former CLC congregation in Lamar, Colorado are currently being refitted to grace the altar, lectern, and pulpit at Peace—to bring a more vibrant symbolism of the various seasons of the church year to our sanctuary. We so appreciate that gift, as well as the skills of Monica Rahn necessary and willingly used to help advance the truths of our Savior God.
A new family was formed this past May 2020 when Tate Jackson was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Shay DuBray, at the family ranch outside the village of Parmelee, South Dakota. The wedding was held under a white tent in the back yard of the Jackson home overlooking miles of picturesque, rolling pastures. The couple was encouraged to have a Christ-centered marriage built on the virtues of joy, gentleness, and thankfulness found in a Savior Who brings to our individual and collective hearts a peace the world simply does not understand (see Philippians 4:4-7)!
A new communicant member was added to Peace congregation when Cooper Rahn expressed his confirmation vows in August 2020. While a new confirmand, his faith and his vows were anything but new. This third-generation member of Peace stood before the congregation as had his father and grandmother before him, to confess his faith in his Savior Jesus Christ and to pledge his faithfulness to his Savior Jesus Christ. His chosen confirmation verse was the old and the familiar, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Finally, there is a new headstone in our Peace cemetery. One of the founding matriarchs of Peace, Eunice Jones, was taken home to heaven this past March. For years she served as the congregation’s organist, using her gifts to glorify her Savior. Her passing was quiet in the night—her Savior receiving her soul to Himself. Her funeral and committal service were simple family observances held during the time when regular services had been suspended due to COVID-19. Though simple, the observances were replete with powerful Scripture passages expressing the joy, the hope, the confidence, and the new life we have in Christ: Psalm 23, Matthew 11:28-30, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 14:1-3, John 3:16-17, and Ecclesiastes 3:1-4.
Peace on the prairie—a small congregation proclaiming a powerful message of life, hope, joy, peace, and confidence for all to hear and, we pray, to believe!
Paul D. Nolting is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Valentine, Nebraska, as well as St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in White River, South Dakota, and Peace Lutheran Church in Mission, South Dakota.