Ken cutting Lutefisk

Ken Ogden

Ken & Lynn Ogden have been members of Zion since they built their house in Buffalo in 1973. They were in the same ‘Newcomer group’ as the new pastor at the time, John Folkerds. Ken worked at the Insurance Center of Buffalo from 1977 until he sold the agency in 2011.

Ken has been a Rotarian for over 25 years, Jaycee President, Chamber of Commerce President, Rodeo chairman and board member many years, for 6 years, baseball and football coach for many years, has been involved with Safe Communities of Wright County and is currently a school board member.

At Zion, Ken has served on Zion’s long range planning committee, building committee, for two terms on the church council, as a Sunday school teacher, and helped with youth activities.

Zion has always been a warm, peaceful, and welcoming place for our family.

The Lutefisk dinner was started by Wes Mahlberg and Wes Lundquist around 1978. Darrel Anderson and Pat Zumach were also members of the original committee.

Ken’s Catholic family tradition included having whatever was available for Christmas, and Lynn’s family ate oyster stew. Neither grew up eating Lutefisk.

We attended the first dinner at old Zion, and stopped in the parsonage to see how it was cooked. It was steaming hot and humid and stunk to high heaven. Lute is a bit of an acquired taste, and this was my first experience, but it looked like fun. I’ve grown to love it. Lynn doesn’t enjoy cooking it, but loves meeting people as she dishes it up.

The lutefisk used to come with the skin on, and had to be skinned. In the previous building on Second Avenue, the skins tended to plug the drains. Wes Mahlberg remembers it was Ken who convinced the committee to buy the Lutefisk with the skin already off, although it was quite controversial, “The old timers thought a few plugged drains was not enough of a reason to switch to the Lute that was skinned but, in their minds, might be inferior in taste.” Wes says that Ken became the peacemaker of the committee, often keeping one married couple from arguing between each other and disrupting the meetings.

Ken’s favorite part about being involved with the Lutefisk supper is watching people enjoy the dinner, laughing and wondering why we eat so much of it.

There are so many members involved, whether they’re serving, setting tables, doing dishes, or cooking. Even the prep day is great fun with lots of members cutting rutabagas and peeling potatoes. It’s surprising to see so many people from around Wright County and beyond coming to our supper.

There are so many jobs to be done, it truly takes a whole church family to pull it off. The only advice I’d give anyone is please try it; it’s great fun.

If you want to join the crew in the garage, be prepared to have fun and it really doesn’t smell that bad.