The chapel of Ormsjö

Pictures at the chapel

The chapel of Ormsjö was built because of the tragic drowning accident on lake Ormsjö that occurred on May 12th, 1936. The incident shocked the people of Ormsjö and the surrounding area.

The Origin of the Chapel

On August 27, 1937 an official meeting took place in Dorotea. In this meeting, information was given to initiate a plan to obtain a ground plot to build the future chapel. A farmer in Ormsjö, Erik Eliasson and his wife Alexia Eliasson promised to donate a piece of their farm in memory of their two sons, Bror Elias and Erik Anselm who drowned in the accident. At the meeting, under the direction of perpetual curate Alfred Guldbrandzén, an organization was formed called, "The Establishment of Ormsjö Chapel." The roles of the Establishment were to take care of the piece of ground plot where the chapel is built. Also in the future a Evangelica-Lutheran parishioner could work in the chapel. The fees for membership in the Establishment were either to pay 2 Swedish crowns every year or to pay the full amount, fifty Swedish crowns for a lifetime membership.

Members of the First Board for the Years of 1937-1940 Included:
Alfred Guldbrandzén (the perpetual curate) chairman and secretary
Richard Rodling Vice chairman and Vice secretery
Thyra Aldén Cashier
Erik Eliasson Member
Anselm Eliasson Member
Olga Marklund Member
Georg Persson Member

Letter With the Gift of the Ground Plot to the Chapel

On May 12, 1938, exactly two years from the accident, Erik and Alexia Eliasson signed the letter donating the ground plot to the chapel. During the planning stages of the chapel, services were often held in the schoolbuilding in Ormsjö.

Design Proposal of the Chapel

At a meeting with the members, the board proposed that lay worker Richard Rodling draw plans for the chapel in Ormsjö. This included one big room for about 200 - 250 visitors, a smaller room and a kitchen. Guldbrandzén estimated the cost at twenty thousand Swedish crowns to build a chapel of that size. In November Guldbrandzén had written a letter to the education authority asking if he could buy the old schoolhouse in Ormsjö. The plans were to recycle the material for the chapel project.

The Board of Works

In February 1939, lay worker Rodlings draft of the chapel was presented at the meeting. Two drafts were offered: One with a tower and one without. At the same meeting they chose a committee, board of works, which would have the responsibility to build the chapel. The committee would have full responsiblity to order material and obtain other items needed inside(i.e., chairs, tables, lights, ect); but they absolutely had to report to the chairman of the board, Guldbrandzén. The following people were chosen to the board of works to have this responsibility:
The farmer A. N. Aldén (also chairman of the commitee) Erik Eliasson and Anselm Eliasson Businessman Ernst Sjöström.

The Bishop's Visit 1939

On November 10, 1939 Bishop Bengt Jonzon from Luleå (a city in nothern Sweden) visited Dorotea. and also the ground plot of the future chapel in Ormsjö, where, Guldbrandzén informed him about plans to build a chapel.

The bishop spoke these words:
"A little while ago the people here were shocked by the accident, as it was told to all the people of Sweden. It was mournful tidings told by the radio stations and newspapers that fourteen young men, floaters, on the way to their homeplaces have there lives end in the cold water of lake Ormsjön. One does not wonder why the people in Ormsjö would like rapidly build there loving chapel so that one special day will come when fathers, mothers and other mourners can pray together in the stillness and warmth of a christian room. I wish all of you all the best building the chapel and I hope to get back here for the opening of the chapel."

The Foundation

The foundation of the chapel was poured in 1939. However the building was delayed due to the lack of written plans and also because of World War II. During the same time period, some of the professional builders were called to duty in the Swedish army or they were able to find better paying jobs somewhere else. Also, the banks tightened lending practices if they were unable to have an encumbrance in a farm. The building comittee halted work on the chapel concentrating on finishing the architectual design, collecting more revenue and studying alternate ways to build the chapel.

In a board meeting on November 24, 1940, Anselm Eliasson and A. N. Aldén inquired about the drawing designs for the chapel. They were told that the drawings were in progress and would be finished shortly. In February 25, 1941 the lay worker, Rodling, handed over his drawing designs for the chapel.

The Offer on the Old Schoolhouse in Ormsjö

In notes from March 11, 1941 the education authority wrote that they had the offers from the tenderer who wanted to buy the old schoolhouse in Ormsjö. There were two people interested in the house. One was the postman Isak A. Isaksson in Ormsjö who offered 400 Swedish crowns for the whole schoolhouse (except two stoves) and the other was the board of Ormsjö chapel by Guldbrandzén for 450 Swedish crowns for the schoolhouse. The board also offered 250 Swedish crowns for the furniture(tables, chairs, ect), windows, doors, stoves, floors, ceiling, and chimneystoves. Guldbrandzén's bid was accepted on March 1st of that year and the education authority decided to sell the old schoolbuilding. However the chairman of the education authority decided not sell the stoven the lesson room where the youngest children received their education.

The Tender to Build the Chapel

The Board of Works officially asked for bids to build the chapel. On June 7, 1941 the board of works decided to hire Karl Westergren, Karl Svensson and Henrik Bredberg, all from Ormsjö, to build the chapel. The men's duties were limited to raising the walls, making the floor, installing the windows, hanging the front door and completing the roof. The board of works provided all the material that was needed which was purchased from Dorotea Konsumentstoore. By the end of the year 1941 the chapel had a roof.

The Cathedral Chapter Agree to the Rules for the Chapel in Ormsjö

In December 20, 1941 the Cathedral Chapter annouced that they agree with the rules of "The Establishment of Ormsjö Chapel".

Building of the Chapel is Started

In a report from the Board of Works December 31, 1941 it was written:
"The walls of the chapel have been made. Instead of the original plan of using hot air for warming up the chapel, we have decided to use a larger so called "Lundbergsstove" which was purchased at the same time as the old schoolhouse. Plans were changed in the roof making room for a churchbell in the future. The smaller room inside and the kitchen are almost done. Steps also had been built to the organ loft. An upstairs apartment was also designed for a porter or a smaller family."

Contractors for Building the Chapel

The annual report for 1941 stated:
The contractors were Carl Westergren, Carl Svensson and Henrik Bredberg. The bricklaying was completed by Östen Olofsson from Månsberget. The finishing carpentry work was completed by Leonard Jonsson from Ormsjö. It also tells that the board borrowed 4 thousand Swedish crowns with a simple, hand written promissary note. The man who lent the money was Anselm Eliasson.

The Chandelier in the Churchroom

On June 28, 1942, Guldbrandzén informed the Board of Works that Ormsjö Chapel had obtained the chandelier from Dorotea's older church.

The Crucifix, the Altar and the Pulpit are all Gifts from the Perpetual Curate Guldbrandzén.

The chairman of the board informed the rest of the board that sculptor Torborg Lindberg in Storbäck was willing to make a crucifix which was to be placed at the altar. The chairman of the board offered to pay for the crucifix only if the Society of Ormsjö Chapel would accept those gifts from him. The Board of Works would order the altar and the pulpit from Leonard Jonsson who had also built other furnishings for the chapel.

Reverend Staffan Wallmark's Altarpiece

On September 13, 1942 Anselm Eliasson said that Reverend Wallmark promised to create an altarpiece named " Jesus walking from Jerusalem to Golgata", giving it to Ormsjö Chapel. During the board meeting, he displayed a drawing of the altarpiece. The Board discussed and decided that with much appreciation would gladly receive the altarpiece. When the altarpiece was dedicated, it was revealed that the only charge for the altarpiece was the paint, or about eighty-five Swedish crowns.

The Decision Between the Altarpiece or the Crucifix

On August 21, 1943 the board discussed the use of the altarpiece or the crucifix. There was debate on whether the chapel should use the altarpiece or the crucifix. The crucifix was a magnificient work that deserved to be displayed in some form within the chapel or other chapels throughout the region. There wasn't room for two items at the front of the church by the altar. The board members asked if they also could use both the crucifix and altarpiece together in Ormsjö Chapel. They promised to place the crucifix where it was orginally planned. Mister Widegren and lay worker Rodling had ideas where the crucifix and the altarpiece could be placed.

A Gift From Ingemar and Kristina Persson

On September 26, 1943, Ingemar Persson and his wife Kristina donated an organ to the chapel. The organ was first owned by the farmer Per Pålsson in Ormsjö. When Per Pålsson died, the family sold the effects of the late Mr. Per Pålsson. His son, Ingemar Persson, purchased the organ which was made by the Chicago Organ Company, Chicago, Illinois.

The First Service in Ormsjö Chapel

On November 21, 1943 at 11:00 AM, perpetual curate Guldbrandzén held the first service in Ormsjö Chapel..

The First Churchwarden in Ormsjö Chapel

On November 27, 1943 the board of Dorotea Church accepted the offer from Ormsjö Chapel to chose Mr. Adolf Napoleon Aldén and Mr Anselm Eliasson as churchwardens with Erik Eliasson as alternate.

Rector Jonasons First Service

On Sunday, March 5th, 1944 C. F. Jonason held his first service in the chapel. The choir sang and an organist from Höglands (a place 2 miles from Ormsjö) played the hymns.

Bishop Bengt Jonzons Opening of Ormsjö Chapel 1944

The opening of the chapel was April 16, 1944 by Bishop Bengt Jonzon. The following priests assisted Bishop Bengt Jonzon:
Dean Hugo Berlin Lycksele
Rector Carl Ferdinand Jonason Dorotea
Headmaster Lennart Wallmark Sorsele
Reverend Staffan Wallmark Jokkmokk
Perpetual Curate Theodor Möllerberg Risbäck
Perpetual Curate Alfred Guldbrandzén Dorotea

At 10:00 AM bishop Bengt Jonzon opened the chapel with a service.
At 4:00 PM Headmaster Lennart Wallmark presided over a service.
At 7:00PM Reverand Staffan Wallmark presided over the final service.
The bishop shared with the visitors about future events in the chapel which included prayer services.

The First Candidates for Confirmation

Confirmation of thirty-three young people from Ormsjö was on June 23, 1944 with Holy Communion the following day. It marked a historic event with the chapel's first confirmation class.

The First Organist and the First Prayers in the Chapel

At a board meeting on November 12, 1944, teacher Birgit Lundström was choosen to be the organist in Ormsjö Chapel. During the same time period, according to the bishop's wishes, Thyra Aldén and Rosa Jacobsson were chosen to be teachers. They were to lead the prayers during Sundays and other Holy days when the priest was not able to attend.

The Collection Bag, a Gift from Jenny Kristoffersson

In 1944, the Society of the Chapel received a collection bag as a gift from the teacher Jenny Kristoffersson from Kalmar. It was given in memory of her mother, Lisa Andersson of Frostviken. As a young girl Lisa Andersson worked in Ormsjö.

A Haven for Finnish Runaways

In a note dated April 22, 1945:
It was reported that the Swedish Government, by edict during the winter months, had requested the chapel be utilized for the Finnish runaway people. The chapel had been used as a schoolhouse and a hospital from November 20, 1944 until April 11, 1945 suspending services for that time period. A.N. Aldén asked the government for money for the time the chapel had been used as a hospital and schoolhouse for rent, cleaning and repairs.

The Detached Bell Tower

The detached bell tower of Ormsjö Chapel was built in 1951 designed by lay worker Rodling. The churchbell was bought from K. E. Bergholtz & Co in Stockholm for two thousand Swedish crowns. The bell was seventy-five centimeters in diameter and weighed 250 kg. In a order from the board on May 29, 1950, the following words were to be inscribed on churchbell:

Let your ring o bell be sound
over district beautiful and bright
Small and big human beings invite
up to the house of the Lord

The Chairmen of the Establishment of Ormsjö Chapel

1937 - 1950 Perpetual Curate Alfred Guldbrandzén
1950 - 1963 Farmer Alfred Napoleon Aldén
1963 - 1993 Postman Viktor Fägerborg
1993 - Present None

On May 12, 1996, a memorial service was held on the 60th anniversary of the tragic drowning on the lake. In this year 2006, a memorial service will be held on May 14 to mark 70th anniversary of accident.

Pictures at the chapel

Translation: Bengt-L Persson

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