Saint James's Lutheran Church (originally St. Jacobi Lutheran) (LCMS)

108 South James Street (current address)
Northrop, MN 55075

(First church building of 1890 stood in the country outside Northrop (Rutland Township), where the Vogelpohl organ was first installed. In 1940, the congregation moved into town and moved the Vogelpohl to their new building. Fire destroyed this building, including the organ, in 2016. A new building was contructed on the site.)
Builder: Vogelpohl & Sons, H.H., Op. 91, 1916.
Manuals: 1
Ranks: Unknown
Action: Mechanical or tubular


Josh Sellner and Organ Historical Society as of 2020.

NORTHROP, MN — The dedication service for the new St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church building in Northrop took place on Sunday afternoon. About 340 congregation and community members from around the area attended the service, completely filling the new sanctuary.

The congregation lost its previous church to a devastating fire on March 30, 2016. The fire started in the sanctuary as the result of a lightning strike. Construction of the new church began in May 2017 after a ground-breaking ceremony took place. Since then, multiple crews have been working through the week to construct the church and in the meantime, many of the 225 congregation members have been attending church services at Zion Lutheran Church-Fraser. The original church, which stood in the country, was built in 1890. The second church was built in town in 1940 where it stood for decades before the fire took it.

“As you walk around this wonderful new place, you recognize some things, but almost everything is brand new. There’s so many new things. That’s got some good things that go along with it when you think about it… but when you dedicate a new church, you can’t help but look behind and remember the things that once were,” Schulze said.

“This isn’t the way that people usually go about building a church. Usually you outgrow a church and you make plans for what you’re going to do down the line and you raise funds for it. It’s much more orderly. This was way different. Nobody planned that on March 30, 2016, lightning would strike the old church and it would burn to the ground. Nobody thought that, that wasn’t part of the plan,” Schulze said.

The new church boasts several changes. A committee of congregation members has been behind the many different aspects and projects needed to design and construct the church. While the church bell was retrieved from the fire, a crack was detected in it. However, an exact replica was created and the new bell now sits on top of a bell tower that was constructed by Wiederhoeft Welding and Machine.

A very special feature inside the new church is the addition of several unique light fixtures as well as 17 stained glass windows, made with 1890 vintage glass, that was gifted to St. James from Belleview Lutheran Church in Howard, S.D., soon after the fire. The light fixtures and several of the stained glass windows are in the sanctuary, while several others are in the fellowship hall.

About 25 people from the Belleview congregation were in attendance at the dedication service and able to see the windows that were previously in their church installed in the new sanctuary. At the end of the service, St. James congregation member, Joe Leimer, presented a gift to several of the members of the former Belleview congregation.

“This is the window that was above the door coming into Belleview, and we’re giving it back today as promised to go in your church,” Leimer said. When the stained glass windows were removed from Belleview Lutheran Church, the arched window came with it and members of St. James promised to clean it up and repair it so that it could be put in the congregation’s new church in Howard.

The members of the former Belleview congregation were emotional to get their window back, just as the members of St. James are extremely thankful for the gift of the stained glass windows.

“Our congregation cannot say thank you enough for your kindness and generosity,” Leimer said, noting that there will be a plaque hung in the church as a reminder of the gift from Belleview.

Following the service, those present were encouraged to enjoy some refreshments in the new fellowship hall and take their time getting comfortable in the new space.

Also in attendance at Sunday’s service were two comfort dogs, Katie and Gideon, who came from Lutheran Church Charities in Fremont, Neb. Lutheran Church Charities is a volunteer organization that helps out when they’re called on. The comfort dogs were at St. James soon after the fire happened in order to offer their services to congregation members and they came back again to be a part of the special dedication service.