In March 2008, when my parents, Vernon and Myrna (Andersen) Parker, were visiting us, talk turned to memories of attending church in Morgan years ago. My dad had grown up in the Morgan church and had many fascinating stories about members and events – stories I’d never heard before. Soon my mom added to the fun with stories of her home church at Maple Plain – telling how they purchased a church, took it apart, and then rebuilt it to make the present-day Maple Plain church. As I listened, a passion grew within me to save the stories for posterity. A few months later, when visiting my husband’s cousin, Alice Pettis, she also shared stories. I told Alice my dream to preserve MN SDA history. In 2004, we’d worked together on a centennial tribute and tour of the old Maplewood Academy site in Maple Plain, so it was only natural that when I suggested a website, Alice, always a cheerleader, encouraged me to go for it! As I’ve researched, Alice, her husband Jerry, and my parents have been invaluable resources – they know so many Minnesota SDAs and I've enjoyed learning from them. Now you, too, can learn of your ancestors experiences, learn of their faith despite a multitude of challenges, and learn the lessons they have handed down to YOU!
Welcome to Minnesota SDA History online – where lessons of the past bring hope for the future!
-Kathy Parker-Parke, Website Editor
Kathy has enjoyed history as long as she can remember. Her love of history was enhanced with her study under Evan Swanson, history teacher at MWA (Maplewood Academy) for many years. Even though Kathy presently lives in Michigan, she is a Minnesota gal at heart – her family having deep roots in the Minnesota Seventh-day Adventist community. Her paternal grandparents, Fred and Helga (Anderson) Parker were members at Morgan, then charter members at Lamberton, and lastly they were members of the Northome church. Helga was the aunt of Evelyn Sorensen-Lauritzen – Evelyn's husband, Adrian, being a well-known figure in Minnesota SDA circles. Kathy's maternal grandparents, Helmer and Hazel (Stringer) Andersen were charter members at Maple Plain and later became members of the Bemidji church. Helmer's parents, Niels and Nielsine (Jensen) Andersen, were Danish immigrants – a blacksmith that had immigrated to Nebraska where the family became Seventh-day Adventists. Upon embracing his new faith, feeling it was important that his children receive a SDA education, Niels, once again, pulled up stakes with his family and relocated his blacksmith shop – this time to Maple Plain so his children could attend MWA and where part of his business included shoeing the horses for MWA. Niels and Nielsine were also charter members of the Maple Plain church.
Kathy's parents, Vernon Parker and Myrna Andersen-Parker, are alumni of MWA as are her grandparents, Helmer and Hazel (Stringer) Andersen. Her parents currently attend the Northome and Bemidji churches. Three of Kathy’s siblings, David, Holly (Ewert), and James attend Minnesota SDA churches.
In 1974, Kathy wed Roy Parke a fellow native of Minnesota and they now have two children. They were members of the Northome church for many years until they relocated to Buchanan, Michigan, in 1989. Buchanan is about eight miles from Andrews University where their children were schooled. Currently, their membership is at the Village SDA Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Kathy's "day job" involves working as the Office Administrator for her husband's Family Healthcare office, managing a staff of over 20 employees.
In her "spare" time, however, her passion is family and church history. In particular, she has enjoyed working with her parents and with Roy’s cousin, Alice Pettis, along with countless others to bring you the MN SDA History website available to you today!