BY ESTELLE STADEM RANGEN
Most of our Stadem Descendants know only a piece of the heritage that their particular family gave them, yet they don't have the other pieces the other families hold. They are mostly ignorant of the whole grand picture of our immigrant story that started in Norway and led to Northwood, Worth County, Iowa, and thence to the territory of South Dakota, with our forebears settling in the communities of Bryant and Canton on various farms.
A piece or two can't made sense of the whole. It has too limited a perspective, it is too small a platform. This is the reason this website endeavors to bring all the pieces together, as much as possible, in the Heritage Center and its Library and Archives. We are doing it first on the Internet, but it should be done also on the Farm, in the Barn Hertage Center, with items of the old farm to complement the written and visual and audio records we have gathered for it, principally from the estate of Pearl A. Ginther, who passed to Glory in April 2011, and who wanted and expressed that she wanted this effort and project to go forward, so we might all benefit and be encouraged and informed enough about our heritage to go forward spiritually into this new century.
A Heritage Center that is thorough-going and alive will also revive our Scandinavian crafts, language, cooking, dance, and, above all, our pietistic faith which was so well expressed in vigorous, faithful Family Altar and Church Participation, Evangelism and Missions. As Rev. Atle Svanoe expressed so well in his book on Lay Ministry, we greatly need renewal and rebirth in all these ways, but mostly in our faith in God. We have a godly form of religion, true, but we do not have the Holy Spirit fire they had in the previous generations which was sparked by the ministry and revival led by Hans Nielsen Hauge in Norway and his fellow believers. That is our most earnest prayer, that God will revive the Stadems of the whole relationship, to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and love one another as Christ taught us to love, unconditionally. We also reaffirm our need to reach out to help the poor and the unsaved, as our grandparents did and our parents did in many cases too. This glorious heritage is not ours for the keeping, or just using for ourselves. What we keep, we will lose. In sharing it with others, we will find it ourselves blessed in return. But if we do not share? Well, we will dwindle, our lampstand will grow dark, the flame of God will move to some other place, to other hearts who love God truly and love others truly. That doesn't have to happen to us, though it has happened already to many of us, evidenced by the fact that most Stadems choose to have nothing to do with each other, and will not even go to the Farm for reunions at least. One Stadem family alone, the one that owns and cares for the physical property at present, cannot keep our heritage alive, it will die. We ALL must join together in Christ again, we all must be a part, or our glorious heritage given us by God will be lost irretrievably.--Sincerely, Ronald Ginther, Dec. 19, 2012