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Hovland Church Continues Ancient Tradition Honoring Its Maritime History

Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland is hosting the raising of a votive ship (boat) with a fish cake dinner and program on Saturday, September 30th. The dinner begins at 6:00 pm, followed by a presentation on the project featuring the ship’s builder, Mark Hansen, at 7:00 pm.

Duluth Public Television station WDSE is on-hand to film the event as the second half of an upcoming episode of their program “The Slice,” which captures “The unique character, events, and experiences found in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.”

Mark Hansen and the votive in progress. (Submitted Photo)

Hansen, an engaging storyteller and speaker, has been building boats for most of his life. In addition, he is the founder of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. His talk will center on the history of votive ships, commonly found in the naves of churches in the Nordic and other maritime countries.

Also called a church ship, the votive is a ship model displayed in a church. They are built and given as gifts to the church by seamen and shipbuilders. The tradition of hanging model ships in churches stems from the Middle Ages.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Hovland was formed in September 1909 when two small congregations that met in area homes joined together and called Rev. Carl Eidnes of Bethlehem Lutheran in Grand Marais to be its first pastor. The congregation built a church and began regular services in December 1913.

In 1950, Trinity built a new building in its current location at 4957 East Highway 61 in Hovland. Starting in 2015, the building was improved with a new roof, insulation, updated wiring, proper indoor plumbing, reliable heating, and an addition to accommodate a growing congregation. The work of countless volunteers was honored with a dedication ceremony on August 12, 2018.

There is no cost for the event on the 30th, although a free-will offering is encouraged. For information, contact Pastor William Beckstrand at 218-475-2439 or email trinity@boreal.org.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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