Swan Lake Evangelical Free Church began sometime prior to 1872 as a gathering of Scottish immigrants in a house on the shore of Swan Lake in rural southwestern Minnesota. These early pioneers organized Argyle Presbyterian Church named after the town in Scotland from which most of them had come. They met in school houses most of the time in those early days. At this time Redwood County extended to the Dakota line and Mankato Presbytery extended to the Pacific Ocean. In 1890 a church building was erected in the country 4 miles south of Cottonwood. In 1952 the Swan Lake congregation voted to become independent and purchased the church building from the Mankato Presbytery. In 1983 the congregation voted to affiliate with the Evangelical Free Church of America.
Throughout its history, Swan Lake Church has been known as a “Mother of Churches.” Early on they assisted in the starting of four Presbyterian churches in neighboring communities. In the 1980’s they were involved in the starting of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Granite Falls.
For most of its history the congregation of Swan Lake inhabited the country church south of Cottonwood. They remodeled, updated and improved the church building as needed to accommodate their needs. In 1985 they were given an old vacant building on Main Street in Cottonwood. They renovated the building primarily for use in youth and children’s ministries. In 1993 a decision was made to build a new church in Cottonwood that would replace the two facilities that were in use at that time. The congregation moved into the new church building in November of 1994.
At the time that the congregation moved into town average attendance was in the neighborhood of 80 to 85 people. The new church facility had a capacity of about 190 or so. Immediately after moving to town the church began to grow in numbers. By the year 2000 it was becoming evident that an addition was needed to accommodate the numbers that were attending on a regular basis. In 2001 a new 300-seat sanctuary, lobby, and classrooms were built that more than doubled the space available.
In 2003 Swan Lake began once again to be challenged with the idea of planting another church. For several years, Swan Lake members who had been driving to Cottonwood from Granite Falls had been praying about planting an Evangelical Free Church in their community. After consulting with the North Central District, Swan Lake voted to support the core group in planting this new church. In August of 2005, Rock Haven EFC was launched under the leadership of Pastor John McCosh.
We are excited to stand on the shoulders of all those who went before us in faith to till the soil, plant seed, and beg God to bring about growth. The times may have changed since 1872, but the mission and vision of Loving God passionately by helping people find and follow Jesus Christ remains the same!