Bethlehem's History 1904-1928

In 1909 Pastor Vahl was called from North Branch, Minnesota. He passed away March 21, 1913. Pastor Vahl is the first of two pastors buried in our cemetery.

In August of 1913 the congregation purchased 2 additional acres of land. In 1913 Pastor Alfred Streufert came to Bethlehem.

The work being done in the English language dates back to the early days of Pastor Streufert's ministry here. As a rule, the confirmation instruction was given in German, but also in English whenever necessary since the year 1914.

In January 1915 the congregation gave Pastor Streufert the privilege to conduct 4 to 6 services a year in the English language.

Also in 1915 the present parsonage was built. The building committee members were: Otto Reich, Herman Marohn, Friedrich Banke, Frank Riech and Pastor Streufert. The parsonage was designed by Pastor Streufert and was erected at a cost of only about $2,700. In 1917 our congregation joined the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. In 1919 a furnace was installed in the church basement. Pews were also installed up on the balcony of the church.

Pastor Streutfert assumed the additional burden of teaching the Christian Day School in which elementary, secular and also religious subjects were taught. However, since 1920 the congregation has regularly granted help to the pastor by engaging in either ministerial students or students of our Church's Normal Schools to teach on a temporary basis the regular secular subjects and the Catechism and Bible History to the younger children, while the pastor taught the religious subjects in the upper grades.

In the year 1928 the congregation requested that one English service per month be held. This was to be the last Sunday of the month. There were nine ministerial students who taught school during Pastor Streufert's time.

Sunday September 9, 1928 Bethlehem Lutheran Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

We also know that on that glorious day in 1928 there were more services held and lots of food served (how could a few ladies prepare enough food for 2000 people is beyond us), but they also had fun. There were games for the children and children at hear. The band played, there were games for the adults, fellowship with the other churches, and of course, reminiscing. To have 1500 to 2000 at a celebration today would be a huge feat but to have that many at a celebration in the 1920's was truly divine. In 1930 Pastor Streufert accepted a call to Gaylord, Minnesota, ending the longest tenure of any pastor of this congregation.