Remembering the past…

History should have a mission—memory gives hope. God calls you back to where you are and Whose you are!

Pastor Hedengren held service at Peter Weinhardt home at East Lake–agreed to establish a church. There were 61 communicants and 50 children as charter members.
Organizational meeting of “Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Bethesda Congregation in Osceola Township, Polk Co., Wis”. Elected to join Taylors Falls and chose their Pastor, C. A. Cederstam–salary $100. per year. Five acres purchased from Isaac Mclean for $40. Each member to donate $1.50 and others according to their needs. A temporary log church 26’x36’x11’ high built. Membership dues $3.00 per man and $1.00 per woman and underage communicants.
Several members signed a petition requesting 1/4 of Pastor’s time on Sand Lake. J. W. Peterson offered 2 acres on the south shore of Sand Lake and the Sand Lakers would move the church free of charge.
Church moved from East Lake–dismantled and reassembled in 3 weeks at Sand Lake. Agreed with Taylors Falls and Balsam to call a pastor jointly, each receiving 1/3 of his time. Parsonage at Taylors Falls.
Staked out the cemetery. Built horse barn 12’x14’x10’. Cost $26.27.
Built own parsonage, bought 3 acres west of church from John Undland for $15.per acre–house was 22’x32’. First floor completed—cost $981.76. Moved in on July 1, 1881.

Bethesda and East Lake 1891

Bethesda Women’s Society organized.
Began subscriptions for new church, by August had $1948. Taylors Falls withdrew from the parish.
During winter men cut and sawed 12,972’ of oak and ash for new church. Church to be 36’x56’ without steeple and sacristy. Cost to be $3,000. 1887 Church auditorium built and faced with brick in 1888-1891.
Bell purchased by Ladies Aid-$300. Inscribed “They That Heareth Say Come”Rev.22:17.
Purchased a wool figured axminister rug for church-Cost $41.
Balsam severed it’s parish connection.
Added to parsonage 18’x26’. Cost $600. Young People’s Society organized. Bethesda bought 40 acres south of church for $850.
Made plans for park and planting trees-done in spring of 1898.
Young People’s Society raised $1,000. for a new pipe organ, it was dedicated July 17, 1898 with a great concert.
Young People’s Society redecorated church and bought two candelabra. Donations of a pulpit and altar table received. Chapel at Lamar built.
Pavilion built by Ladies Aid-cost $344.63.
Decided to build new parsonage-cost $4,864.79


Bethesda, 1897

Annual meeting Pastor commissioned to conduct one Sunday afternoon worship service a month in English. Willing Workers (Young Ladies Society) organized.
Chapel at Lamar members decided to form their own congregation which became Fristad in Centuria.
Membership now 425 communicant members.
Sunday School started in Dresser. Bethany church organized with 22 members and 12 children transferring there from Bethesda.
Young People’s Society built concrete stand in park—cost $344.72.
Fristad decided to leave parish–called their own pastor in 1918.
Mission Society organized. Envelope system of giving introduced rather than dues.
Decorated the church and remodeled steeple for 50th Anniversary. Cost for decorating $1,463 and tower was $3,817. Statue given by Ladies Aid and Young Ladies-cost $264. Membership now 330 communicants and 121 children. 1922 Celebrated 50th Anniversary. History book Minnesskrift published.
Bethany of Dresser asked to join with Bethesda for a 2 point parish. Services now conducted twice a month in English and Sunday School in English. Summer Bible School each year for six weeks–all day.
Excavation to enlarge church basement. Horse barns sold and area made into parking lot.
A gold leaf cross placed on church steeple 1930 A new gray carpet laid in church over the old rug. Cost $505.
First Smorgasbord held.
A meeting at Fristad for all Lutherans in Polk Co. to discuss establishment of a Bible Camp, leads eventually to Luther Point.


Sanctuary, 1897

75th Anniversary observed on Sept 28th and Oct 5th.
Spire lights installed, $191. An addition added for kitchen, completed and dedicated.
Julotta (5:30 AM Christmas service) changed to Christmas Eve at 11:00 PM. The new red Hymnals purchased, reshingle the sanctuary and repainted the parsonage.
Augustana Lutheran Church became a part of the Lutheran Church in America.
Ladies Aid disbands and becomes Lutheran Church Women. Discontinued use of the white linen over the altar rail.Church Library established. 212 confirmed members at this time.
Adopted a new constitution. New church windows installed, cost $2,071. Congregation voted to put The Lutheran in every member’s home.
Voted to sell parsonage and 380’ of lakeshore and build parsonage east of the church. Voted to build a new entry on church not to exceed $8,000. with new steps to the basement. Church painted at cost of $1,274.08. Worship service begun for skiers. Synod again begun discussion of merger of St. Peter’s and Bethany as they had previously. Bethesda voted not to break with Bethany so it ended.
Voted down Bethany’s request to have the parsonage in Dresser. Voted to accept offer of $19,000. for the parsonage and lakeshore 1968 Installed glass block windows in basement and new lights on the steeple. The monthly newsletter (The Caller) came into being. Cost of the new parsonage was $20,240. and the entry $10,830.
New red carpeting installed—cost $1,370. The best part of the old axminister rug installed in the balcony. Automatic bell ringer installed—cost $2,035. LCW purchased and installed new electric ovens and stove tops–cost $770.31. Nine dozen place settings of dinnerware purchased for $756.
Celebrated the Centennial with Swedish service April 23 and speakers, programs, and dinners on June 24 and 25. Purchased Grand piano-cost $2,438.20. 1973 Installed carpet in basement. Another 1,000 cookbooks ordered—7,000 to date.
Eternal light and Christian and American flag added to sanctuary Bethany and St. Peter’s expressed a desire to merge so we discontinued our alignment with Bethany and now we have our own Pastor again. Began a three year confirmation program.
Purchased new green LBW Hymnals. Annual meeting changed to Sunday afternoon. 1981 Bethesda Educational Fund established. Individual communion glasses an option. Built Linda White room, new bathrooms and remodeled kitchen.
Celebrated 110th anniversary with worship, speakers, program and fellowship dinner. Cleaned caulked, painted and tuck pointed exterior of church and replaced eaves—cost $7,290.
We are now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and a part of the Apple River Conference, which is part of the Northwest Synod.
Youth member added to Council. Celebrated our 120th with Bishop Gerhart Knutson.
Mission statement adopted. Youth to Atlanta for Youth Gathering. Steeple repaired—$16,000. Windows in basement and narthex replaced-$2,400.
Contemporary Worship Service begun. 1996 Sanctuary interior painted and plaster repaired-cost $5,568. Floors sanded and varnished—$800.
New addition built, complete with Chapel, offices, nursery, and elevator.
Constructed a playground.
Youth Mission Trip to Mexico, San Antonio Sahcabchen.
Memorial stained glass windows installed in the sanctuary. Vote to leave ELCA and join LCMC