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Gloria Dei celebrates 75 years on radio

Radio Ministry volunteers Scott Ruzich, left, and Doug Maguire facilitate the broadcast of a Sunday morning worship service. (Photo by Alison Stucke)

On Sunday, March 19, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church of Duluth celebrates 75 years of broadcasting its Sunday morning worship service live on WSDM Radio AM 710. The Radio Ministry will be honored during Gloria Dei's 10 a.m. worship service at its temporary location, 51st Ave. E. and Glenwood Street. A Diamond Anniversary celebration will follow in the fellowship hall there. All are welcome.

It's been a big undertaking, but for three-quarters of a century Gloria Dei has worked with WDSM to share its service with listeners who, due to illness, lack of transportation or whatever reason, can't make it to the church building. Since 2011, internet streaming has also enabled the broadcast to reach a wider audience with more flexibility to hear live any service scheduled by the congregation.

"This ministry is a major component of Gloria Dei's evangelism and has remained a significant witness to the community and the wider region," said Pastor David Carlson.

Every Sunday morning, two Gloria Dei volunteer radio technicians run the control board at the back of the church and position several live microphones, insuring good sound quality for worshipers on site as well as listeners in their homes and cars.

"I never miss it," said Ruth Bakke, Gloria Dei member and longtime radio listener and supporter, in an informational brochure. "I am so satisfied with the service, I feel like I'm there with my church family. It is faith strengthening, inspirational and comforting to me."

Not even the fire of Feb. 18, 2016, could keep Gloria Dei off the air for long. After two Sundays of pre-recorded services, worship was back on live radio, broadcast from Gloria Dei's temporary (and current) location. Much of the radio equipment at the church building on Sixth Avenue East and Third Street was destroyed by the fire, but Radio Ministry coordinator Doug Maguire made a new setup to keep the service on the air.

Festivities on Sunday will include the reading of letters written by listeners throughout the years who were thankful to hear the worship service wherever they were. A recent letter tells the story of one Wisconsin couple who drove 10 miles from their home to listen to the service in a spot where they get good reception. Attendees will be invited to share a story of when they listened to the service, support a broadcast or a portion of the broadcast, or give a special gift of $75 for the anniversary. Special refreshments will be served.

To listen to Gloria Dei's Sunday service, tune in to 710 AM WDSM Radio or listen online.