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First Presbyterian Church of Blackduck retires mortgage

The First Presbyterian Church in Blackduck will celebrate the retiring of its mortgage Sunday, March 2 during their service. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.

Earlier than predicted, the First Presbyterian Church of Blackduck recently retired its mortgage.

The church took out the mortgage in 2007 to build at a new location and with the help of some generous pledges, it was able to pay it off in January.

The congregation sold its previous location, which is now being used as a home, in 2006.

“The other building had 13 stairs going up and four steps going down and the population of our members was getting older,” said recording secretary Dwight Kalvig.

Kalvig also said they were having other problems with the older building, which was built in 1911, including difficulty with heating.

“It was just an old building,” Kalvig said. “It had been around for a long time.”

A family of the church donated the acreage of the church’s new site, which is at 23285 Gate Lane NE.

Once the location was set, members of the church began a journey of fundraising.

“We had everything from bake sales and raffles to general offerings,” Kalvig said. “We had people that we solicited for offerings and we did a major pledge drive.”

Ultimately, they ended up acquiring a $200,000 20-year mortgage with a 10-year balloon in June 2007 from the Presbyterian Synod of Lake and Prairies.

Construction and ground breaking of the new 8,000 square-foot building began later that summer and was finished in the spring. The first service was held on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 and led by Rev. D.A. Bump.

“It was a lot of commitment from a lot of people financially and time-wise to go ahead and get something like that built,” Kalvig said.

Kalvig added that the majority of contractors involved in the construction were local.

“Our congregation really took a big risk because we’re a small,” Kalvig said.

During their most recent pledge drive, a large donation was given. “A benevolent gift at the end of the year put us over the top,” Kalvig said.

The next project they have their sights on is the parking lot. Following that will be a storage facility, said Kalvig.

The congregation will celebrate on Sunday, March 2 with a burning of the mortgage ceremony during their service at 11:15 a.m. and a potluck will follow.

“Anybody is certainly welcome to join us,” Kalvig said. “It’s a big event for us to get to this point.”

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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