Crane Chapel observes special Sunday

Published 1:25 pm Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wesleyan Sunday was observed July 13 and it was another historical day for the friends and members of Crane Chapel, Austin.

It was that same day after 57 years as an affiliate member of The Wesleyan Church, International, that the members took the vows to become the newest full-member of The Wesleyan Church, International.

Pastor Dave Matt, son of Pastor Joe Matt (deceased) and Pastor Joe’s wife, Della, were there to take the vows with the other members of the congregation.

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That meant some of the old Pastor Joe magic would be shared by all.

The Rev. Ron McClung, district superintendent of Iowa/MN, recited the Articles of Belief to the members and was taken back, speechless, he later recalled, for a few minutes, by the hearty, enthusiastic response from the congregation’s response, “To this we agree!”

The service ended with everyone joining hands in a circle singing, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,” according to Pastor Dave Matt.

Don Tebay, the first official delegate of Crane Chapel as a full-member Wesleyan Church, was recognized and seated along with Pastor Mark Goosen at the district conference in Charles City, Iowa, July 14.

Tebay said:

“I grew up in the church, but this is the first time I get to go in front of the rope to have the privilege to cast my vote for the Crane Congregation at district conference. What a thrill!”

Matt was representing his late father, the Rev. Joe H. Matt, Della Matt,; and the Matt family with his presence in the service.

He shared his mother’s “overwhelming approval,”

she said, of a “dream come true and an answer to her prayer” since Pastor Joe’s passing last August.

Full membership in the Wesleyan church with full privileges and rights helps expand ministries and ministry opportunities.

According to Pastor Dave Matt, “The Matt family wish to thank Pastor Mark Goosen and his family for their part in holding the church together after the tragic fire and rebuilding process.”

They appreciate all Goosen has done in helping the church become a full-member church in the Wesleyan movement, according to Matt, who added a familiar greeting, “May God bless you real, real good.”

The greeting was coined by his father, the late Pastor Joe Matt.

Crane was born in the hearts of John Hormel and Pastor Dave’s grandfather, Rev. Joe Matt, Sr. in 1933.

“They held tent meetings with the Salvation Army by East Side Lake and the old railroad bridge on the east side,” recalled the grandson of the church founder. “Pastor Joe would often stand on the street corner, as a teen, playing his guitar and singing hymns before his father would preach.”

Then, the Salvation Army located downtown and John Hormel provided a building in Crane Addition, east of the Hormel Foods Corporation flagship plant, so a Sunday School could be started. “Today, it is Crane Chapel, or maybe, Crane Chapel Wesleyan, or Crane Community Chapel – A Wesleyan Church,” said Pastor Joe. “All would be correct.”

In addition to the new building, the Chapel is getting a new pastor. “A godly man from Minneapolis,” Matt described him, who also attended the ceremony. The new pastor will be the Rev. Dale Christiansen.

He has been a pastor for many years and came to the Chapel in the sixties to hold Vacation Bible School for Pastor Joe and the church.

Pastor Dave said he encourages the community to welcome him as he leads the church in a dynamic, compassionate, exciting, Bible centered ministry beginning in August.”

Although retired and living in Indianapolis, IN, Pastor Dave said, “If you are not attending church somewhere, he encourages you to sit under this man’s ministry and give the church a try.”

And sounding much like his father, he concluded, “The Matt family will be praying for you as you attend.”

Matt expressed the family’s appreciation to the community of Austin, “who was so gracious after the tragic fire, to help the membership so much.”

“Thank you to Pastor Mark and family, the Crane Chapel Board, and membership for the faithfulness to God and His message. And, a thank you to Pastor Dale Christiansen for accepting the call to come and pastor in the Austin community,” he said. “The Chapel will remain a strong pillar of the community.”

For more information about Crane Chapel, call 433-5844.