Bread to Share . . . Stories about Saskatchewan’s early Lutheran pastors and their wives”, Volume 2
by Lois Knudson Munholland
Published by Three West Two South Books
Review by Keith Foster
$30.00 ISBN 978-0-9735234-2-3
In volume 2 of Bread to Share, Lois Knudson Munholland shares more experiences and hardships endured by Lutheran pastors and their wives, primarily across Saskatchewan, but also in other parts of Canada and the United States. A Lutheran pastor herself, Knudson Munholland spent decades compiling the material for her books.
The pastors are listed alphabetically by surname. After relating the experiences of the ministers, Knudson Munholland devotes space to their wives, lists the names of their family members, and provides references. Her sources include personal interviews as well as local history books, supplemented by more than ninety-five black and white photos.
Knudson Munholland explores the rigours of ministering to the needs of rural communities. Pastors would travel by wagon, sleigh, or on horseback as the need arose. One minister travelled by bicycle, with his wife riding on the crossbar. Those lucky enough to own a vehicle often had to travel on roads that were neither paved nor gravelled, and the gumbo soil brought its own set of perils, occasionally snaring unwary drivers.
Lack of adequate funding was a constant problem. In 1946, Pastor Carl Daechsel was offered a position in the Govan, SK area for a salary of $1,800 per year. But at the first church council meeting, the council decided that his salary was unrealistic and unilaterally lowered it. To supplement his income, one minister took up barbering. Unfortunately, his customers were as negligent in paying their bills as was the congregation.
Parishioners tried to support their pastors by supplying them with produce. Pastor Oscar Edwin Olson Olmon received a gift of onions, but by the time he got them home by sleigh, they looked frozen, so he dumped them outside in the snow. Next spring, he and his wife had a thick patch of onions growing in their yard.
Knudson Munholland regales readers with entertaining episodes. At the first worship service Pastor Ferdinand Oswald conducted, no one showed up. Well, one man came to light the fire, but he left. The next Sunday, the worshippers numbered three – his wife Frieda and two other women. “Frieda remembered watching her husband deliver that sermon with tears running down his face.”
At Meadow Lake, SK, Pastor Frederick Knebel had five preaching points to visit. Since his car couldn’t negotiate the gumbo roads and swamps, he walked. It took him fifteen hours to cover thirty-five miles.
Later, as a chaplain heading to Bermuda by ship during the Second World War, Pastor Knebel remarked to the captain, “Look, that must be a whale coming towards the ship.” It turned out to be a torpedo!
As Knudson Munholland points out in Bread to Share, pastors and their families faced many hardships and privations. Yet in spite of all obstacles, with persistence and perseverance they continued to provide the Bread of Life for their flocks.
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