Palmyra Celebrates 125 Years of Ministry

HECTOR, MN (September 17, 2013) — The 150 people attending the 125th anniversary service at Palmyra Covenant Church on Sunday far exceeded the capacity of the building, so about 60 attendees sat underneath a tent outside and watched the service on a video feed.

“It was the first multi-site service in the history of our church,” quipped pastor Steve Hoden.

People traveled from as far away as Florida, Georgia, and California to celebrate with the rural congregation that serves this community of 1,200 people. Five previous pastors came with their spouses to share how the church had helped form their own ministries.

Among them was Noel Cisneros. The church was the first congregation he served, and it also allowed him to enter the Army Reserves as a chaplain. Cisneros recently retired from military service.

Other former pastors attending were Scott Christensen, Rudy King, Tom Klasen, and Paul Peterson.

Mark Stromberg, superintendent of the Northwest Conference, spoke at the morning service. At an afternoon gathering Hoden spoke about how the church can continue to be a missional and healthy church in years to come.

People who also had attended the centennial anniversary said there was an aspect of Sunday’s celebration they liked far better—the weather. Twenty-five years ago, attendees suffered through temperatures that hit 105 degrees during the multi-day gathering. “The church didn’t have central air conditioning then,” Hoden noted.

The temperature barely hit 65 degrees on Sunday, Hoden said. “So they were loving it.”




  • It was a great day, fun to rejoice, visit old friends, reflect on the past and be challenged into the future.

  • Congratulations, Palmyra Covenant Church! So fun to see where you two are these days, Steve and Rebecca. Blessings on your family and the ministry there. Johnna

  • Congratulations, Palmyra church and Pastor Hoden! 125 years is a tremendous milestone. May God strengthen you to continue to serve him well.

  • And what a wonderful celebration it was! This church has been my family’s faith home for generations, and we have been incredibly blessed because of it. God is certainly working and moving——growing disciples——in this little church in the middle of a corn field. Our church was Covenant before there WAS a Covenant——joining together as Mission Friends. What a wonderful legacy it continues to carry on, to this day. We had much to be thankful for at our anniversary celebration, and many more years of faithful ministry to the community and world. This is a church seeking after God’s own heart!

  • We wish we could have been there! Palmyra Covenant has been a wonderful ministry partner for our work in Japan, going back to the beginning of our thirty years as Covenant missionaries here. We always look forward to visiting when we’re on home assignment, because of the personal commitment this church has made to our family. May God give Palmyra Covenant many more years of fruitful ministry!

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