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Tappen, North Dakota

Glueckstal Lutheran Church Rural Tappen, Kidder County, North Dakota

Prepared by Twyla Zimmerman, rural Tappen, North Dakota


Around the year 1900, Heinrich Nagel was sent to spread the Gospel among the people of south central North Dakota. As a Lutheran circuit rider, he brought the message of salvation to families in the Gackle, Streeter, Kulm and Napoleon areas. Since there was no church building, he traveled from farm to farm, preaching at the settlers’ homes.

The settlers and pioneers saw the need for corporate worship and in 1908 the first Glueckstal church was built and made of sod, the same material out of which the settlers constructed their homes. The sod church was located one half mile south of the present site. Among, the first families of the Congregation were such names as Schauer, Werre, Albrecht, Lang, Reuer, Winkler, Rittel, Neumiller, Job, and Mertz

The Glueckstal Church was one of the five congregations served by Missionary Nagel, therefore, Rev. Nagel could only be present every fifth Sunday. In his absence, services were conducted by laymen, reading from a book of sermons written in German.

The interior of the first Glueckstal Church was very plain. Pews were a luxury which the settlers could not afford. Each family furnished their own chairs or buggy seats.

Glueckstal meaning “Lucky Valley” was the choice as most of the members came from Glueckstal, Russia and they wanted a reminder of their former homeland.

In 1913 the sod church was no longer large enough to accommodate the membership and it was decided to build a new structure. The lumber for the wooden church was purchased from Thompson Yards, Inc. in Dawson, ND. The plans for the the building were made by Frederick Rittel and Konrad Lang with Jacob Werre, Sr. donating the land. All the members helped built the church.

All services were held in the German language in the earlier years and men were seated on the right side of the church and women with the children were seated on the left side until 1961.

Reuben Clarence Lang, son of Fred and Rose Lang was the only son of the congregation to become a minister.

In June of 1985, the last regular worship service was held. Glueckstal Lutheran Church has had a long and eventful history. The faith of our forefathers lives on as former members and families return for visits and celebrations. The bell rings out among the prairie lands exclaiming the love to worship, thank and praise our Heavenly Father.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
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