In 1881, immigrants from Norway settled along the Sheyenne River and on the prairie in what is now Sverdrup and Ball Hill Townships.  They were a deeply religious people and met in their sod and log houses to worship on Sundays, and were served by preachers Ola Westley and Andreas Vatne.  Many of the meetings were held in the sod stable on the Betual Herigstad homestead.

In the summer of 1881, Pastor Nykrem of the Norwegian Lutheran Conference visited the "homesteaders.”  Encouraged by him they organized with others recently arrived from Minnesota, and on October 10, 1881, became the "Thime Norsk Evangeliske Lutherske Menighed.”

Charter members were the families of: 

Ola Westley, Ole Stokka, Betual Herigstad, Nils Herigstad, Andreas Vatne, Martin Lunde, Swen Lunde, Ole Lima, Peder Wuflestad, Swen Lunde, Jens Bull, Torkel Fuglestad, Endre Aarestad, Betual Lunde, Elling Froiland, Tonnes Vatne, Karl Lende, Arnt Njaa, Hans Braasten, Christoffer Ashland and Ingeborg Soma.

Pastor Lundeby from the Goose river country served the congregation in 1883 and in 1884 the congregation divided when 13 of the members reorganized into ELIM NORWEGIAN EVANGELICAL CONGREGATION and became associated with Hauge Synod with Pastor Jacob Nesheim from Norway serving as their minister.  They bought a cemetery and place to build a church on June 23, 1886.  In 1896 Elim joined with Hoiland congregation and called themselves EBENEZER NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH.  They granted their women the right to vote in 1889, and built their church in 1902.

The congregation has remained an independent Lutheran church being served by pastors from Hauge Synod and Lutheran Free church.  In 1919 they again reorganized, this time as Zion Lutheran, and from which time they have been served by pastors from the Lutheran Brethren.  In 1957 the congregation joined the Lutheran Brethren Synod.

Pastors from the old records have been: 

M. Njust, Hjertaas, O. G. Edwards, Quanbeck, O. Svendson, E. Aas, L. N. Haugland, Eidsaa.  From the Lutheran Brethren M. E. Sletta, E. Hagen, G. Stenoian, A. Vatne, Oscar Monson, Olaf Monson, O. Vettrus, O. A. Monson, J. Lunde, S. Soma, L. Njaa, G. Solheim and G. Larson.

The present pastor is Elwin Walvatne, and the officers are: 


Herluf Vigesaa and George Vigesaa


Richard Loge, Edwin Johnson and Trygve Thompson


Robert Berge


Truman Loge and Roald Vigesaa.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 423


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