A history of Lake Viking Church

In November, 1985, the Lake Viking News reported the following building permits granted by the Association for that year: 7 new homes, 2 new mobile homes, 11 utility buildings, 22 docks, 4 garages, and …1 church.

At last! The Lake Viking congregation would have a home!

As early as 1968, Hubert Tate arranged for land to be set aside, at the main entrance of Lake Viking, for a church. However, for its first thirteen years of existence, the Lake Viking Church met in the clubhouse.
The church began on May 28, 1972 when Hubert Tate brought in Rev. Melvin West to hold services. Rev. West was the Area Director of Church and Community Work for the United Methodist Church. He and Linda Reed, of Maryville, started the church off by leading services every Sunday for the first four months of the church’s existence.

October 22, 1972 marked the first Sunday on which church members held services on their own. Throughout the remainder of that year, lay speakers were featured with original charter members Willis McCaulla and Ruth Slatten taking leading roles. The church was off and running, but in December of 1972, the church decided to disband until April 1, 1973. They had to. There was no heat at the clubhouse!

As anti-climactic as the finish of 1972 was, 1973 featured many important milestones. A building committee was formed with Hubert Tate and Roberta Sandy as the co-chairs. The church held its first communion on October 7, 1973, and was officially named the Lake Viking Ecumenical Church.

Baptist, Christian (Disciples of Christ), Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Re-organized Latter Day Saints were the denominations of the small group of original members. Thus, an early realization of the diversity in the Lake community was reflected in the church. Membership was open to anyone professing Christian Faith.

1974 was another important year. On March 12, 1974 The Lake Viking Church received its charter. The church’s first baptism service took place (lakeside), but the church also had its first memorial. It was for Hubert Tate, who died on June 19, 1974. Tate, as earlier stated, was responsible for setting aside land for the church. His son, Phil Tate, was also instrumental in helping the church get started.

In 1983, due to a general misunderstanding of the word “ecumenical,” it was decided that the church would be inter-denominational and its name would be Lake Viking Church. On July 3, 1983, Joe Palmer became the church’s first full-time pastor.

In 1972, with a new church building only a distant dream, the small congregation had decided to set aside 10% of collections for a building fund. Thus, when the church was built in 1985, it was “debt free.” On Nov. 3, 1985, the dream materialized when the first service was held in the new church.

In 1992, Joe Palmer retired, and Alvin Hillman became the church’s second full-time pastor. Pastor Hillman was actually retired when he became pastor at Lake Viking. His “retirement job” lasted 14 years, during which he shepherded the Lake Viking Church through a period of positive growth.

November 5, 2006 marked another milestone in Church history. On that Sunday, Robert Nelson became the Pastor at Lake Viking Church. Pastor Nelson projects a dynamic and inspirational speaking style, entirely scriptural based, which has drawn an even larger church membership. Pastor Nelson and the Lake Viking Church congregation eagerly invite anyone to attend.

— Reprinted from “Lake Viking 1967-2000: Celebrating 40 Years of Progress” written by Troy Lesan