The first of two summer Vespers services will be held at the Jenny Lind Chapel (JLC) in Andover on Sunday, July 25, at 7 pm. Pastor Reed Pedersen from Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover, will lead the service. Debbie Lawyer from Orion will play the pump organ. This will be the first live Vespers held at the Chapel since 2019, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The second service will be held on Sunday, August 29, at 7 pm, and lead by Pastor Randy Willers. Pastor Willers retired last year from Salem Lutheran Church in Moline, where he served as pastor for 14 years. Terri Nelson from Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover will play the pump organ for this service.
The JLC is a memorial to Swedish settlers who came to America in 1849 to found a branch of the Swedish Lutheran Church under the leadership of Pastor Lars Paul Esbjörn. He later became the first president of Augustana College in Rock Island. It was a struggle for these pioneers to fund and build this chapel. The congregation grew, and in 1870, they built a much larger church in Andover. The chapel was given its name in 1948 as it was presented to the Augustana Lutheran Church in America.
The JLC became the mother church for hundreds of other churches of the Augustana Synod in America; and merged into the Lutheran Church in America in 1962. It is now part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church n America (ELCA), and owned by the Northern Illinois Synod-ELCA. The JLC houses a museum that offers exhibits of the early immigrant experience, as well as audio and video presentations. The cemetery adjacent to the Chapel is the resting place of the faithful, including Jonas Swensson, the second president of the Augustana Synod. The JLC is open 9 am–5pm every day from April 1 – October 31. Throughout the year, the JLC is visited by people from several states and many other countries who are interested in the immigration experience.
In addition to the Vespers services, the JLC also hosts the annual Founders Day service in April and the “Joy of Christmas” service with Augustana College. This year, the Joy service is scheduled for Wednesday, December 1, 7:30 pm. The JLC website is jennylindchapel.org.