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The Rev. Phil Holtan, background, presents hand crafted "Faith Chests" to three-to-five-year-old members of the Calvary Lutheran Church congregation.

Handmade faith chests given to youngest members of Calvary church family

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community Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

In celebrating its 50th year, Calvary Lutheran Church members created a gift for the youngest of its flock that will sustain a legacy of faith for another 50 years-or more.

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Beautifully handcrafted chests, created by the "Fishermen" mens group, have been presented to 23 of the Calvary Congregation's three-to five-year-old youngsters.

"Faith Chests" were personalized, each with the child's name carved into the finely finished wood.

"What better way to feed the lambs of our congregation than with a gift of faith," said the Rev. Phil Holtan, as he presented each youngster and family with a Faith Chest.

It is only logical that a gift of crafted wood would be presented by Holtan and his Fishermen group. There is not a more experienced wood artist-minister in the county-maybe the state-than Pastor Holtan. He specializes in wood turning and bowl-making, and his pieces have been prized at art shows throughout the region.

The chests are intended as a gift not only to the child-but to the family. It is a place to keep faith momentos, such as the child's first bible, a handmade cross, treasured books and other meaningful items.

"One of the children wanted to keep his frog in his faith chest," laughed Holtan.

The project was unique for another reason. Nearly all of the Fishermen group are "grandpas" themselves, noted Holtan, and the chests were lovingly created for grandchildren like their own.

"Even though they may not be related to the children by blood, these grandpas made these gifts for members of their extended family...their Calvary family," said Holtan.

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