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Lehr Tabernacle, Lehr, North Dakota

Electronic mail message from Carol Just Halverson


I was driving east on Hwy 13 after a visit to my parents in Wishek, ND, when I decided to drive in and check out a place Lutherans only hear about.... the Lehr Tabernacle.

A minister by the name of Bruce Adams (UMC Edgeley) was cutting grass at the several acre site nestled in a grove of trees about 1 mile east of Lehr, ND. The site has a number of large buildings for eating and sleeping as well as camping sites and a few huge tree houses. Pastor Adams offered to give a tour of the Tabernacle building. He explained that it was built by German-Russians 78 years ago using architecture similar to the buildings used for revival/camp meetings in Russia. There is a long memorial wall of names of former members and pastors. The surnames read like the McIntosh County phone book, which, in turn, reads like the 19th century roster of several Black Sea German-Russian protestant villages.

The building is a huge, round wooden structure with a large opening at the top that lets in air and light. To allow a breeze on very hot summer nights, there are half-wall sections that can be lifted by pulley's (I think) all the way around the building except where the very wide altar is. I assume the wide altar is needed to accomodate the large numbers of people who respond to the altar call at some point in the meeting.

Do any listserv members care to share their Lehr Tabernacle stories? I would love to hear memories of revival services, family camping at the site, intergenerational stories, stories about the ministers, German worship memories, singing.... what songs? in harmony?, funny, poignant, spiritual etc.

Did anyone meet their mate there? How many people would the tabernacle hold and how did the voice of the evangelist carry without a microphone or any of today's modern devices? Any women evangelists? Any families with a tradition of attending revival meetings in Russia and later America?

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