Bethlehem's History 2002-Present

With the coming of our Organ Centennial and 125th Anniversary, committees were formed and began their planning (2000). To defray the expenses for the upcoming celebration, memorabilia with a sketch of our church and/or celebration logo were selected to sell. The LWML sponsored a 125th Anniversary congregational cookbook with proceeds going to the "Quasquicentennial" fund. A pictorial directory of our church members was done by United Lifetouch in March 2002. A fellowship club was started in the fall of 2002.

The organ centennial was held on June 23, 2002, with 8 past and present organists of Bethlehem participating. The afternoon also included an acknowledgement of Pastor Bendix's 25 years of serving in the ministry. In January 2003, Lutheran Brotherhood presented us with a beautiful framed sketch of our church in honor of our 125th Anniversary. With the celebration less than 6 months away, our ambitious young trustees led the congregation in building improvements: the painting of the interior of the church (almond), refinishing the wood floors, new carpeting in the church and entry, and new tile in the kitchen and restrooms. Cement work and landscaping will be done behind the church to prevent flooding like we had in 2002. New hymnals replaced the worn ones from a generous memorial in April 2003.

In August of 2005 Pastor Bendix resigned as pastor here at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He heard the calling for the Lord that he needed to focus on other projects at this point in his life.

Pastor Machula answered our call to be our vacancy pastor after Pastor Bendix's resignation. In January of 2012 the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod recognized Pastor Machula as a called Pastor to Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

The congregation celebrated the church's 135th Anniversary on October 27, 2014. Pastor Machula had a special sermon to celebrate the occasion. Following the service everyone enjoyed a chicken dinner catered by Elbows Allowed from Cokato.

On June 4, 2017 we bid farewell to Pastor Machula and Sandy as Pastor began his retirement. Many of Pastor and Sandy's friends, relatives and former church members attended the service and the potluck dinner.

Bethlehem entered into a dual parish agreement with Hosanna Lutheran Church in Buffalo. On Sunday, June 11, 2017, Pastor Rob Jarvis was installed as Bethlehem's new Pastor. During the first hymn the power went out and the church went dark due to a thunderstorm. Rev. Bob Schulze, Executive Assistant to the MN South District President, installed Pastor Jarvis using his cell phone to read. Following the service everyone enjoyed coffee and treats in the church basement by candle light.