Gloria Dei Lutheran Church celebrates 70 years of radio ministryThe radio ministry of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Duluth has a long history. Sunday, March 18 marks the ministry’s 70th year of broadcast on WDSM Radio (710 AM) at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings.
By: Carol Uecker, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
The radio ministry of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Duluth has a long history. Sunday, March 18 marks the ministry’s 70th year of broadcast on WDSM Radio (710 AM) at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings.
Seventy years ago, Gloria Dei, under the leadership of Reuben Krafvke, Albert Wickstrom, and Rev. Noren, began what is the longest continuous radio broadcast of a worship service on the same radio station in the state of Minnesota.
Elizabeth Lavin, who lives at King Manor Assisted Living in Duluth, listens to the program regularly. She recalls how the program began during WWII when many could not leave their work or families to attend worship.
Broadcasting the worship service was important to the parents of Betty Belknap of Ashland, Wis. Her father, Reuben Kravke, played a part in starting Gloria Dei’s broadcasts and worked to keep them on the air.
Mrs. Belknap sets up her altar and worships with Gloria Dei at 10 o’clock every Sunday morning. She said in a letter from 2009, “Whenever my husband, Kenyon, and I are unable to attend church services here in Ashland on Sunday mornings, we listen on the radio to Gloria Dei and are blessed. My parents’ dreams live on!”
The broadcast ministry, under Doug Maguire, Scott Ruzich, Dave O’Brien, and Steve Dalager, goes out to listeners who, for various reasons, cannot attend weekly worship on Sundays.
Ruth Bakke, who lives at St. Ann’s in Duluth, says, “I never miss it. I am so satisfied with the service. I feel like I’m there with my church family. It is faith-strengthening, inspirational and comforting to me.”
Recently, Joan McCall was hospitalized, and she sent her husband to find a radio so they could listen from her room.
Alice Lahti can’t always walk to church and says, “It gives me the chance to hear the Sunday morning service when I am not there, so I feel like I haven’t missed much.”
A retired pastor and his wife in Hermantown are regular listeners.
The broadcast reaches beyond Duluth as well. Harriet Starkey and her family listened one Sunday in the car as far as Eau Claire, Wis. Alice Lahti has listened to the program in Cook, Minn., and Tom and Carol Uecker have listened to it twice all the way to Hopkins, Minn.
Though most listeners tune in to WDSM Radio (AM 710), some who are farther away listen via the Internet. Recently, Karen Bockelman and John McDonald listened online while on vacation. They also said that their daughter, Kate, has listened at least half a dozen times online in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Online listening instructions can be found at Gloria Dei’s website at www.gloriadeiduluth.org. Once there, click “Our Ministries” and then click “Streaming live on the Internet.”
All are welcome to attend the March 18 worship service and celebration of this important ministry. Join us at 10 a.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, located on Sixth Avenue East and Third Street in Duluth. Refreshments will be served in the fellowship hall following the worship service.
For more information on this celebration and ministry, call Gloria Dei’s office at (218) 722-3381.