Record of work among the Lutheran people in
Northwest Ontario began in 1907, although there had been some
worship services conducted in the Waldhof (Gunne) area prior to
1907. Pastors and Missionaries came from various places to
conduct worship services in Waldhof and Eagle River.
winter of 1938, a candidate, Arnold Vehling, was sent to the
area to live in Dryden. He entered Canada on December 3, 1938
and settled at the Dixon Boarding House in Dryden. He was sent
just as a missionary to survey the area and look for prospects.
In the spring of 1939 he was called by the Minnesota District to
be the first full time resident Lutheran pastor in the Dryden
area. After being married in 1939, he returned to Dryden to live
in a house on the north side of the track. Worship services were
now being conducted in Dinorwic, Dyment, Vermllion Bay, Waldof,
EagleRiver and in the pastor's home in Dryden
The work of the Lutheran church in the Dryden
area continued, but progressed very slowly. Pastors stayed for
only a short time and long vacancies occurred between pastors.
When Pastor Kempff left Dryden in 1947, the District Mission
Board didn't know exactly what to do with this parish. Pastor
Donovan Bakalyar, serving in Fort William, agreed to serve as
the vacancy pastor. His first trip to the area was made on May
10, 1948, and he continued to serve, with the assistance of
three vicars until September 1955.
Actual work in
Dryden stopped in 1947 and did not begin again until 1952. It
was on August 5, 1952 that Pastor Bakalyar conducted a worship
service in the Rutter home on Duke Street. Worship services
continued in the the United Church, members' homes, the
curling rink, and the Ukranian Hall. until the summer of 1956
when the basement of the present church could be used in the
Pastors who served in Dryden
lived in various places, in Dixon's Boarding House, the north
side of the tracks, a house on Arthur Street, 89 Duke Street and
St. Charles. A lot for a church on the corner of Arthur and
Casimir was purchased, but in 1953 was sold because the Mission
board felt a Lutheran Congregation could not be developed in
Dryden. Later, the present church lot was purchased at the cost
In 1955 the name Our Saviour
Lutheran Church, was chosen under Rev. R. Otto. A building
committee was struck, a lot at 99 Albert St. purchased for
$5,000.00 and in the spring of 1956 the building was started
with the assistance of funds from the Church Extension Fund. A
parsonage was purchased at the same time.
The first service in the new
building was held on Christmas Eve, 1956, with 100 people
present (membership was 86).
In March, 1957, decoration of the
church was begun, with most of the work done by the members.
Dedication of the new building took place on June 16, 1957. There was an active Ladies Aid.
Services were also held at Dinorwic and Waldhof (later Vermilion Bay).
became our mission (145 miles away), with Christ Lutheran
dedicated in 1963.
In 1966, a new parsonage was
built at 36 Wood St., with Rev. L. Maunula's family the first
Two more missions were
opened--Hope in Sioux Lookout in 1971 and Faith in Ignace in
1974. Vicars were assigned to assist, starting in 1972. In 1975
some services were held in homes in Kenora.
Four church changes (additions,
renovations) have taken place. On May 11, 1980, a mortgage
burning was held. Rededication and 25th anniversary were held
June 28, 1981.
On January 1, 1989, the
congregation joined Lutheran Church-Canada and the Man.-Sask.
District. In 1990, property adjacent to the church was
purchased, with the assistance of the Church Extension Fund.
Our last service at 99 Albert
Street was on January 8, 2006 after which we moved
to our current location at 175 Cecil Ave. Ongoing renovations
began!! It's been a blessing to watch as our parishioners and
contractors have transformed an aging school into a modern
Church. Dedication of the new Church and our 50th anniversary
were held June 25, 2006. Our current Parish Pastor is Rev. James
Wood, a native of Dryden.
As of May 2009, stage one of our
renovations to 175 Cecil Ave have been completed and we are well
into stage two which will see much of the north end of the old
building disappear to become our new sanctuary.
here for Stage One pictures.
Click Here for Stage Two pictures.