The Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church is the oldest Laestadian Lutheran Church
in the Zion of America, and perhaps in the world. It was formed in 1872
as the Cokato Apostolic Lutheran Church.
The first recorded services were held in Adam Ongamo’s cabin as early as 1868.
Isak Barberg kept a prayer and read a sermon by Laestadius. Isak Barberg
continued to serve as pastor until his death n 1883.
The first church building was built in 1876 on land donated by the St. Paul
and Manitoba Railroad. It was a small structure 24’ by 40’ on Wright
County Highway 100 a little east of Temperance Corners. This was the
site of expansion and rebuilding for our church until the dividing of
the congregation in heresy in 1973/1974.
Other speakers that have served are: Kaleb and Jacob Wuollet, Antti
Vittikko-Huhta, Jacob Rovainen and Isak Alamaa. The latter three separated
from the congregation and in 1876 began to conduct their own meetings.
Over the years there have been numerous servants of the word including: William
Lahtinen, John Nelson, Nillo Saasatamoinen and Adolph North.
Peter Nordstrom became pastor of the Cokato Congregation in 1947 and remained
feeding the flock of believers through difficult and divisive years until
his death in 1981. Paul Nevala served as pastor from 1981 until retirement
in 1999. Currently we are served by three part time pastors: George
Koivukangas assisted by Randy Haapala and Curt Simonson.
The current church building was purchased by the believers in 1973 forming a
congregation following the division by heresy. Membership has grown from
approximately 30 members in 1973 to 213 members in 2005 with approximately
192 Sunday school students.