Joy of Christmas Past in Andover

Claudia Loucks

A trip to Andover for the “Joy of Christmas Past and Present” will be a step back in time for young and old alike.

The annual event keeps a holiday tradition alive and will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1, when students and faculty from Augustana College join the area-wide community for the service of worship and music that begins at Augustana Lutheran Church.

The Christmas Story will be read in several different languages, and choral and instrumental music will be provided by the college musicians.

The Rev. Melinda Pupillo, Campus Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Development at Augustana College, will give the message.

The service concludes with a procession to the Jenny Linda Chapel, which will be illuminated by 100 candles, and where Holy Communion will be celebrated to the strains of familiar Christmas carols.

After the service, refreshments will be served in Luther Hall at Augustana Church.

The service will be live-streamed at jennylindchapel.org.

Augustana College and Augustana Church in Andover have had close ties since the college was founded in 1860. Andover’s first Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Lars Paul Esbjorn, also served as the first president of the college.

The Jenny Lind Chapel was built in the early 1850’s, and is the “Mother Church” of the former Augustana Lutheran Church in America, and founding site of the Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Church in America in 1870. It is named after the 19th century Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, who donated a sizable sum toward the construction of the church. Because of numerous setbacks and struggles, including a cholera epidemic, the building was not completed until 1854.

The lower level of the Jenny Lind Chapel now houses the Swedish Immigrant Museum and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It is a ministry of the Northern Illinois Synod-ELCA.