Winter Update 2017 – Heart Prairie Norwegian Methodist-Epicopal Church

As spring approaches, I want to update you on the status of projects at the Heart Prairie Norwegian Methodist-Episcopal Church.

First, I want to thank all those who were able to attend the fall social and wildlife photo exhibit at the church on October 9th. As it turned out, that Sunday afternoon was a beautiful Wisconsin fall day. The temperatures were moderate, the afternoon was sunny, and the fall colors at the church and East Richmond Cemetery were on full display.

If you were unable to attend the fall social and might be interested in the photos or note cards, click on the link below to see the photo gallery. High quality prints are available at very reasonable prices for those who might want to purchase. Take me to the photo gallery.

About sixty people attended the fall social event, and between donations, card sales, and photography print sales, we raised $988.00 for the church restoration fund. Thanks to you all. That amount of money helped finish the projects described below.

I want to thank those who helped make the event on October 9th a success.

  • My helpers – Allison, Alexandra, and Charles.
  • Lisa, who provided beautiful flute music for the afternoon.
  • Quednow’s Organic Apple Orchard, who provided the delicious apple cider for the event.
  • Cookie Bakers, who provided a variety of cookies, including Norwegian sandbakkels and krumkake.
  • Area ministers, who spread the word about the Fall Social.
  • Area newspapers – the Janesville Gazette, the Janesville Messenger, and the Walworth County Messenger.
  • Jim Stewart,  Whitewater Banner website.

Lisa Bauer, Daughter of Georgia Kestol-Bauer, Provided Flute Music for the Event


Descendants of Peter Kestol – Left to right – Elizabeth Hjortland, descendant of Peter’s son Chauncey; Georgia Kestol-Bauer, descendant of Peter’s son Joseph; and, Gail Folkers, descendant of Peter’s daughter Jenny

Georgia's family at NAME

Georgia’s Family – Megan, Georgia, Allison, Lisa, Fox, Jonathan, and Alexandra

cec and birds

Charles Cottle and Exhibit Photos


Windows:  The new windows, made identical to the original windows by Dan Medema of Delavan, were installed about a week before our fall event.  They look beautiful.  There is one original window which we were able to use.  And in this window, two of the small panes of glass are original.  All of the new glass used in the windows, 142 10×12 inch panes, was donated by Whitewater Glass Co. Thank you, Tom and Rene Foelker – owners, for your support.



Organ:  A beautiful fully restored Estey Pump Organ was donated to the church by Duane Austin of Beloit.  Rev. Larry Froemming of Beloit brought the organ to the church. An accomplished musician, Larry proceeded to play many hymns on the organ.  The sound was fantastic!  It is wonderful to have a working pump organ again in the church after possibly close to 100 years.


Rev. Larry Froemming and Georgia Kestol with Estey Pump Organ

Listen to the organ’s great sound as Rev. Larry Froemming plays the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Prayer Chair:  Jerry Kramer of Whitewater, who is skilled in refinishing furniture, saw  our Prayer Chair at the fall event and noticed it was in need of repair  He took the chair home and refinished the wood and replaced the seat without any charge to us.  Thank you, Jerry.  We now have a beautiful, usable Prayer Chair.


Jerry Kramer with Prayer Chair

Interior primer:  The ceiling and walls have been primed.  The ceiling boards are new, but the walls are the original plaster.  The walls had never been painted because they had always been  wallpapered.   The walls will be papered again before we have the pews made, but for now the walls look nice and clean with the white primer paint.

Exterior siding:  The Brown family donated a large amount of cedar siding for the repair of the exterior.  There is enough siding to complete all the exterior work and what is left will be stored for future use for the church.  Thank you very much Bonnie Brown and Tony and Janet Brown.  Work on replacing the broken siding was started in October and continued into November.

New Siding

Ramp:  A ramp for disabled was donated by Elizabeth Hjortland.  It is the perfect size and we are so happy to have the ramp.  Thank you, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is a descendant of Peter Kestol, a founding member of the church.


Exterior primer:  In October and November, the whole back of the church (east side) was repaired and painted.  Most of the south side of the church has been repaired and painted.  Hopefully, we will be able to apply the finishing coats of paint this year.

Georgia Scraping Rear of Church

Georgia Kestol Scraping the Rear of the Church

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