Golden Gate SDA Church

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Golden Gate Members
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Organized: Fall, 1872 (Admitted: June 26, 1873)
Associated With:
Brookville, Home (township)
Current Location:
Former Location:
Highway 4 between Sleepy Eye and Fairfax Map
Directions: There is a small grassy area lined by evergreens where the town of Golden Gate was located; today the Heimerdinger brothers millstone is displayed there as well as a plaque with a short history of the town. The mill was located north of Golden Gate on Spring Creek. South of Golden Gate is the Golden Gate Cemetery where a few former Adventist members rest; additional Adventists rest in the Fort Ridgely Cemetery which is north of Golden Gate. To reach the Golden Gate sites, from Sleepy Eye, go 6 miles north to 267th Avenue where the cemetery is on the southeast corner of that intersection. The town site is 0.80 of a mile north of the cemetery on the west side of the road.
Historic Map: The Library of Congress hosts an interactive 1886 Brown County map that shows Golden Gate in Home Township (it also shows landowner names so you can see where several of the Adventists lived).

Several years ago, while researching family history in Redwood County, MN, I recall coming across a short statement in a local history book that read,

“The Danish Adventists began holding services at the house of James Sommer in the fall of 1872. The services were conducted by the Rev. J. F. Hansen.” – History of Redwood County, “Brookville Township,” published 1916, pgs. 356-357

Having grown up in the Morgan Seventh-day Adventist Church, I had not known that the church (formerly Brookville) had originated from such early beginnings nor had I realized that it was started by a Danish group. This piqued my interest, being half Danish myself, and so it was that I set upon a journey into exploring the roots of one of the oldest Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Minnesota. Come share this journey with me …
Kathy Joy Parke, Editor

Golden Gate SDA Church Beginnings

The story of the Morgan church starts in the earliest days of Seventh-day Adventism in Minnesota. A church had been established at Golden Gate (see history of Golden Gate Church) in Brown County and, originally the church was comprised of English-speaking folks. Over the years, however, as the Golden Gate Church grew, a Scandinavian (mostly Danish) segment of the membership arose who were from Brookville Township in Redwood County about twelve miles to the west of Golden Gate. In those days, a twenty-four mile round trip was quite a distance to have to travel by horse and buggy or sleigh. And so it was, that this group from Brookville determined that they would like to establish their own church home. On December 27th, 1885, 17 members of the Golden Gate church asked to be given the privilege of organizing a new church body nearer to where they were farming in Brookville Township. The next year, in 1886, as summer commenced, the Minnesota Conference met for it’s twenty-fifth annual session, traditionally held in conjunction with camp meeting – this year’s camp meeting being held at Lake Harriet, in the city limits of Minneapolis. During the conference proceedings held the evening of June 27, the Brookville Township (Morgan) church was admitted to the conference (Review and Herald, July 27, 1886). One can imagine what an exciting day that must have been for the little Scandinavian group to finally have a church group of their own!

Back in the late 1800’s, Adventist ministers were not always plentiful in Minnesota and so they would often travel about, visiting churches along the way, sometimes staying to conduct meetings for a few days or weeks – many of these meetings would be conducted in Scandinavian languages. In January of 1891, H. R. Johnson speaks of holding “a five days’ meeting, including evening services” in Brookville. A year later, F. B. Johnson tells of his visit to Brookville,