Archives for the month of: October, 2012

Through these doors….

October 15, 1881.
Place: Bethany Lutheran Church, Lindsborg, Kansas.
Time: the fresh hours of morning.
The mood: anticipation.
Waiting in the Sacristy this morning, were Pastor Carl Aaron Swensson and Professor J.A. Udden–waiting to see who would come to the first day of class of Bethany Academy. They had made careful plans. And with Alma’s urging, Bethany Academy would be open and welcoming to young girls as well as the young boys of the community.

There is a rustle. Young voices are heard! Here they come–John Johnson, Eric Olsson, Fredrik Carlson, Nora Lind, Lovisa Olson, Jenny Carlson, Andrew Cedarholm, Oscar Hobbart, Johanna Falling, Otto Hakanson. They may be hesitant, of course, but their faces are eager. They begin their education. Udden teaches arithmetic, geography, English reading, swedish reading, penmanship, orthography. Carl taught Bible and religious history. And Alma–she would see to it that the children who attended this school would know music–music that would inspire their lives.

ImageThe unadorned or softened faces I see carry their own congenital experiences of mother and grandmother, pioneer wives and mothers. Women who walked down the trail west with their men behind wagons and team that carried all that was left of home, knitting together East and West to shape farm and range with their step, to create homes, raise children, bury their dead.  They were creating America and Americans.  Their faces already were sculpted from granite.  Their should have been the faces on Mount Rushmore.  …..Betsey Brodahl (1923-2012)

Alma Christina Lind Swensson stepped into the landscape of Lindsborg, Kansas in the autumn of 1880–just about this time of the year.  She was twenty years old, musically gifted, and newly married to Carl Aaron Swensson, the pastor of Lindsborg’s Bethany Lutheran Church.  Like countless thousands of women of her time, she followed her husband west. Like a patient potter, would shape this frontier village and farming community into a culture that would sustain its people through times of difficulty and times of great joy.

To learn about the life of Alma Swensson, read my book, Grace Faith, and the Power of Singing:  The Alma Christina Lind Swensson Story.