William Widgery Thomas, Jr. (W.W. Thomas), founder of the colony, chose men of varying professions and interests to include in the first group of immigrants. Among them was Nels Olson, whose activity as a lay pastor in Baptist work in Sweden equipped him to offer spiritual help from the first day. It was he who conducted the Christian burial of little Hlma Clase who had died shortly before the group arrived in July of 1870.
Gathering in the Olson home, a group of Baptist believers met for worship straight away. In March of 1871, 8 people formed the First Swedish Baptist Church. In July, 37 new members were added and by the first anniversary the membership had grown to 64.
The church worshiped without a building for 10 years. In 1881 the first chapel was built. The current church building was built 11 years later, in 1892.
(above taken from the booklet- "One Hundred Years in New Sweden")