A groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by many dignitaries from Scandinavia and America, was held on October 12, 1999. The church was dedicated on October 10, 2000 and the inaugural service was held on October 9, 2001. Myron D. Peterson, M.D. chaired the committee dedicated to building this 60-foot by 45-foot at the base by about 60-foot-high memorial to the pioneer immigrants who uprooted themselves from Scandinavia to make new homes in North America.
Noted wood carvers Philip Odden and Elsa Bigton of Barronet, Wisconsin have completed the intricately-carved front and side portals and doors.
Some 700-800-year-old stave churches in Norway still stand.
The Gol Stave Church Museum, in Scandinavian Heritage Park is a full-size replica of the original church built in about 1250, now in Bygdoy Park in Oslo.
Inside the church, the corner posts are essential. They are often accentuated, and are heavier and more richly decorated than the other structural elements. “They represent the four gospels whose teachings are the supporting foundation of all Christianity” is the description given in a sermon in the thirteenth century. This sermon was held during a church consecration, in which each section of the stave church’s structure was related to spiritual values. The beams upon which the columns rest “signify God’s apostles, the foundation of all Christianity.” The floor boards represent “the humble men who bow in honour; the more they are exposed to the trampling feet of the congregation, the more support they provide.”
The roof surface which protects the church from snow and inclement weather “represents the men…whose prayers protect Christianity from temptation.”
-Excerpts above from Norway’s Stave Churches by Eva Valebrokk and Thomas Thiis-Evensen.