Church History

January 1908 – Pastor Torsten M. Hohenthal of the Seaman’s Mission in Brooklyn, New York, conducts services for Lutherans in Georgetown. The group rents space in Mrs. Edla Peterson’s house for meetings.

June 1908 – John L. Benson, a student at Upsala College, conducts services. The Rev Dr. Peter Froeberg, Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, later President of Upsala College, is first vice-pastor.

July 7 1908 – The Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown is organized with 53 adults and 17 children. The Rev. Dr. Gustaf Nelsenius President of the New York conference, officiates.

August 11, 1908 – The present church property is purchased for $75. Contract is made with Michael Connery to build the church for $1,700.

November 29, 1908 – The first service is held in the new church. Charles Gustafson becomes the first Sunday School superintendent and Gustaf R. Johnson the first organist.

19111 – The Rev. Carl A. Bernander becomes first resident pastor.

1915 – The Rev. Samuel R. Swenson becomes pastor.

1926- Congregation purchases the Read house (north of church) for first parsonage.

1928 – The first service is held in English

1930 – The Rev. O.O. Eckhardt becomes pastor.

1935 – Church undercroft is completed by members of the congregation

1944 – Name is changed to Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1955 – The Rev. Elmer L. Olsen becomes pastor.

March 23, 1958 – The new Parish House and renovated church are dedicated

1962 – Bethlehem becomes a member of the Lutheran Church in America.

1965 – The Rev. Thomas B. Kline becomes pastor. The house at 169 Branchville Road is purchased for the second parsonage.

1973 – The Rev. Donald L. Kent becomes pastor

1975 – Property behind the church is purchased from the John Nordlund estate for parking and future expansion.

1979 – The back entrance to the church is added to the Fellowship hall and the parking lot is constructed.

1983 – The Rev. John R. Henrich becomes pastor

1988 – Bethlehem joins the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

1989 – The Rev. William Mark White becomes pastor

January 1994 – The 38 Portland Ave. property (the former John Nordlund home) is purchased. During 1994 it is extensively remodeled for use as the third parsonage.

March 1994 – The former Branchville Road parsonage is sold and eventually becomes the parsonage for St. Andrew’s Lutheran church in Ridgefield.

September 1994 – The Christian Education Building (the first parsonage) is remodeled, and “The Rose Garden” nursery school begins classes there. (It stayed until November 2000.)

December 1994 – The Rev. Sandra M. Marotz becomes pastor.

April 1998- A new Ahlborn-Galanti Chronicler I organ is purchased, installed and dedicated.

2001 – The pastors office and church office are remodeled.

September 2001- The Rev. Harold Wimmer becomes interim Minister.

February 2002 – A new church constitution and by-laws are adopted.

August 2002- The Rev. Ned McMillen becomes pastor. He serves in that capacity until August 2007.

August ’07 - June ’09 – Many ministers serve Bethlehem as supply ministers. Among them: Rev’s Joseph Bourret, Henry Brau, Richard Burgess, Ned McMillen, Dewey Strohmeyer, and Harold Wimmer.

January 2009 – The Portland Ave. Parsonage is sold as an investment in our future with a new full time minister

June 2009 – Christian Education Building (former Read house and Rose Garden School) undergoes major renovation by member Frank Cangialosi for fourth parsonage.

November 2009 – Pastor Becca-Middeke-Conlin is installed as Pastor