The importance of early churches in South Dakota will be the topic of a program at the Cultural Heritage Center. Guest speakers will be Brad Tennant of Aberdeen and Liz Almlie of Pierre. Tennant will focus on ethnic influences and early churches in South Dakota. During the early settlement of Dakota Territory and South Dakota, it was common for immigrants to settle near others who shared the same bonds of language, customs and religion. The church was not only a place of worship, but was the center for many social events. The local church often reflected the ethnic identity of its local congregants and was a way of preserving their cultural identity. Almlie is a historic preservation specialist with the South Dakota State Historical Society and will discuss architecture of early churches, The featured book is "Early Churches in South Dakota" by Robert W. Sebesta. The book features photographs and short histories of some churches from each decade from 1870 to the 1920s. The book is sold at the Heritage Stores at the Cultural Heritage Center and the Capitol.