Bethlehem's History 1979-2001

Pastor Mack and Laura left in January of 1979 for Jackson, MN; we were served in our vacancy by Pastor john Temple.

In October 1979 Pastor Orville Horn answered a call to serve Bethlehem. A small tornado touched down by the church on September 3, 1980, breaking off twelve trees and uprooting one. Major improvements were made to the church and properties. In 1981 the room behind the organ was added and the kitchen remodeled to a much larger facility. New carpeting was installed in the Altar area. The church foundation was painted and a flagpole erected in the cemetery. Also another cookbook, "Country Favorites From Bethlehem," was published in 1983. Pastor Horn and his family left in August 1983 for a parish in Burkburnett, Texas.

Pastor Jeffrey Miller served our vacancy until April 1984 when Pastor John Allstaedt and Tina arrived from the seminary.

In July 1985, lots of work commenced with a new addition (the lower Narthex), painting of the floor in the basement, purchasing of room dividers, installing a new furnace, reshingling and painting of the parsonage, installing a new speaker system, and placing new steel siding on the church.

Bethlehem joined the Annandale Church Softball League on 1986, and continued playing until 1999. Those were years of great fun and fellowship.

In August of 1988 Pastor Allstaedt and his family left when he accepted a call to Wisconsin.

Pastor Gerhardt Michael served as vacancy pastor until Rev. Norman Discher (Elmore, MN) answered our call and was installed in March on 1989.

Continued improvements included: new carpet in the parsonage office and new kitchen flooring (1989), a chair lift installed in the church (1990), church interior painted and pulpit and lectern varnished by Kenneth Erickson and his sons (1991), church balcony carpeted (1992), telephone installed in the church kitchen (1993), a new furnace and steel siding at the parsonage, new shingles on the church, and a security system installed (1994).

Pastor Discher retired in August of 1994. We were again honored to have Pastor Michael fill the pulpit vacancy.

On July 29, 1995, Rev. Gary Berlinski, a second-career pastor, was ordained and installed at Bethlehem. In 1955, new carpeting was installed in the parsonage, the church's chimney was repaired, church doors were painted, and a new copy machine was purchased. In 1996, new church signs were put up by the youth group and 8 new basement windows were installed. With pride in our beautiful organ, we decided to have the pipes hand-painted and restored to their original decoration. Adopt-a-pipe donations were given by members and friends of Bethlehem as acknowledged on the plaque. A rededication service was held on October 26, 1997, with 7 organists sharing their talents and love for the Lord. Sheet rock and insulation in the basement, the driveway on the east side of the church, and painting the basement floor by the youth were accomplished in 1997. June of 1998 founded the members of Bethlehem, their friends, relatives, and communities in shock and disbelief with the news of the tragic deaths of Pastor and Karen in an automobile accident in Colorado.

Rev. Paul Strawn, of Immanuel, Silver Creek, served the vacancy and helped bring comfort to a hurting congregation.

Rev. Leland D. Bendix (Hardwick, MN) accepted our call and was installed on March 14, 1999. That year pew padding was installed and a 26' x 30' garage was constructed with help from our members. A new kitchen stove was purchased for the parsonage by the LWML with their Bazaar proceeds. The church basement floor was tiled, but with the glue leakage between the tiles, carpeting was installed shortly thereafter. In 2001, a processional cross was purchased through generous memorials. A new copier and light weight tables for the basement were purchased with help from AAL. Both the ladies and men's restrooms were remodeled and new curtains were made for the basement windows.

With the members being so mission-minded, a pledge to support a T.I.M. (Together In Mission) missionary was signed in March 2000.