Photo by Tom Hintgen
Pastor Stan Satre has, for many years during the summer months, called nearby lake cabin dwellers to the outdoor Sunday morning worships by ringing this bell at Camp Nidaros near Walker Lake.

From 40 to 50 people attend worship at Camp Nidaros

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

During the summer of 2021 Stan Satre, 89, was the pastor for all four outdoor Sunday worship services at Camp Nidaros near Walker Lake, just down the road from the city of Ottertail.

Most of the pastors who used to fill in for Stan have passed away or are in unstable health.

Satre has been the main chaplain at Camp Nidaros since 1982, heading many of the 10 a.m. Sunday worship services himself and also lining up other speakers. 

He rang the bell at 9:30 a.m. and again at 9:55 a.m. as a final reminder for worshipers prior to the start of the service.

From 40 to 50 people attended scheduled outdoor worship at Camp Nidaros on any given Sunday during the summer of 2021.

Camp Nidaros near Walker Lake, north of Otter Tail Lake, is in a sense an old neighborhood at one of Otter Tail County’s more than 1,000 lakes.

This lake neighborhood has its roots in the purchase of property back in 1909 by the original founders of Camp Nidaros. They were mainly involved with the ministry, built cabins and formed an association.

Of the 16 cottages, 14 are owned by family members of the original owners.

Satre’s wife Bev’s great-grandfather, Martin Soelberg, was the builder of the first four cabins more than a century ago. Her parents, with help from Stan and Bev’s brother, built their current cabin back in 1956.

Stan and Bev met during their collegiate years at St. Olaf College in Northfield and were married in 1954. Stan, ordained as a minister at Luther Seminary in St. Paul in 1958, served in the ministry at several locations across the United States.

He retired with Bev in Fergus Falls in 2006, serving local churches on an interim basis.

“The summer of 2019 was noteworthy with the purchase of new outdoor cedar benches for our place of worship,” Satre said. 

Over the years, in addition to regular Sunday morning worship services, the site has also been used for weddings and baptisms. If it rained, people came to the Satre cabin which can accommodate from 40 to 50 worshipers.

“Our open-air services at Camp Nidaros have been very special over the years,” Stan said. “The tradition of outdoor services is passed from generation to generation.”

During the colder months Stan and Bev reside at West Alcott Avenue in Fergus Falls and also head south for a while during the winter months.

They have five daughters, four of whom met their husbands at St. Olaf College. Stan and Bev have 18 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.