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Bahls to speak at Andover Founder's Day service

President Steve Bahls will speak at the annual Founders Day service at 4 p.m. April 24 at Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover, Ill.

The service celebrates the 162nd anniversary of Augustana College and Theological Seminary in Rock Island, and the Augustana Lutheran Church in America, and the 172nd anniversary of the Augustana Lutheran congregation in Andover.

The service will be livestreamed by the Jenny Lind Chapel.

Music will be provided by a group from from Bethany Lutheran Church in Woodhull, Ill. After the service, light refreshments will be served in Luther Hall.

Augustana College and Augustana Church in Andover have had close ties ever since the college was founded in 1860. Andover’s first Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Lars Paul Esbjörn, also served as the first president of the college.

The Jenny Lind Chapel, which was the congregation’s first structure, was built in the early 1850s, and is the "Mother Church" of the former Augustana Lutheran Church in America, and founding site of the Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Church in America in 1870. It is named after the 19th century Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, who donated a sizable sum toward the construction of the church. Because of numerous setbacks and struggles, including a cholera epidemic, the building was not completed until 1854.

It now houses the Swedish Immigrant Museum, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is a ministry of the Northern Illinois Synod-ELCA. The Chapel and museum are  open every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October.

The offering at the April 24 service will go toward maintenance of the chapel.



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