Rural Church Experiences Blessings Working Together
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, organized in 1902, has shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people of the Upham, Newburg, Deering, and Towner communities for 116 years. In 1907 it became a two-point parish with St. John’s; in 1999, Bethlehem/St. John became one congregation with Rev. Daryl Rothchild, Pastor. The present edifice was built in 1950.
The winter of 2017 saw record snowfall in this north central area of the state and when it melted Bethlehem’s basement was covered with a foot of water. At the July 5, 2017 voter’s meeting, it was decided to abandon the basement and build a 2700 sq. ft. addition to the west of the present structure including parish hall, kitchen, office, and storage room. The front entrance would also be extended allowing ground-level access and a “lift” installed for handicap accessibility. Work began immediately with members using their talents, skills, and resources, giving glory to God. Working together was a time of fellowship and growth among members. The present sanctuary was also painted, and new carpet was installed, giving the entire building a unified appearance and face-lift.
The record snowfall also became a blessing to this farming community. With very limited rainfall in the spring and summer of 2017, the sub-soil moisture sustained the crops and resulted in a good harvest. Members were able to make generous contributions to this project, and all the bills have been paid.
Our first Worship Service was December 17, 2017, five months after starting this project. The parish hall has excellent facilities for bible class with a pull-down screen and all-around sound system. It is great for large gatherings. The kitchen cabinets were cleaned, sanitized, and placed in the new kitchen where they are being used once again. It is a joy to worship and work together with fellow saints in these pleasant surroundings.
During the summer of 2018, plans are to remodel the present washrooms, making them handicap accessible, also.
All Glory be to God!
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