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Dwindling congregation closes 133-year-old ND church

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A church that has served generations of families in a rural town south of Fargo will close its doors next month.

The Fargo Forum reports South Pleasant Lutheran Church will hold its final service on Aug. 18 after seeing a major drop in a attendance over the years.

A parish-wide farewell service was held Sunday.

“It’s hard, in a way,” parishoner Anders Thiseth told the newspaper. "There have been so few members, so it’s hard to keep going."

The small 113-year-old building not far over the Minnesota border has no running water and still has two outhouses standing behind it.

The church has been the site of roughly 600 baptisms, 400 confirmations, 110 marriages and 260 funerals, according to a book about the church’s history compiled by its members.

Declining rural populations have made it tough for small-town churches to remain open, even after generations of service to their communities, MPR reported. United Methodist Church in Ceylon was among them – it closed its doors in 2011, MPR noted.

Evangelical United Methodist Church in Waseca closed earlier this summer after 70 years, the Waseca County News reported. And a 140-year-old Lutheran Church near Hillsboro, N.D. closed last year, the Park Rapids Enterprise reported in a story about a dwindling church memberships in rural Minnesota and North Dakota.

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