About Bethlehem Lutheran Church
About Bethlehem Lutheran Church
We are a congregation of 200 members with the motto of "To be disciples, to make disciples". We offer Sunday School in the fellowship building with groups for every age. Following Sunday School, we worship in a lively, traditional Sunday service with great music. We have small ministry groups for all members of your family, with Lutheran Men in Mission, Welca, women's circles, quilting circle, tsunami college group, waves youth group and ripples young child group. We host many events through out the year, including Wednesday Night Alive, fish fry, Easter egg hunt, St. Valentine's spaghetti dinner and Christmas programs. There are many things for everyone in your family and we would love if you joined us.
The reverend W.P. Cline organized Bethlehem Lutheran Church in 1907 on the Second Sunday of February in the old Barger school house which was located about a half-mile northwest from the present church building. There were 35 charter members. A pastorate was formed with St. Paul’s, Startown; St. Timothy, Conover; and Bethlehem, Hickory. worship services were held in the school building until the sanctuary was built. The 3 churches called the Reverend F.K. roof as pastor.
During the pastoral vacancy in 1917, the synod rearranged the pastorate, placing Bethlehem with New Jerusalem and Zion. The Reverend W.D. Haltiwanger was called as pastor and the 3 congregations built a parsonage on the present Highway 127.
In 1936, the original church building was brick veneered, an educational wing added, and a heating system installed. Having originally been part of a 3-point parish served by one pastor, Bethlehem and New Jerusalem formed a new pastorate in 1939. A new parsonage was built nearby.
Bethlehem became self-supporting on March 13, 1949 and the Reverend Hoyle Whiteside was extended a call on March 19, 1950, become the first full-time pastor of the congregation. During his pastorate, a new education building was opened along with the remodeled church building.
The Reverend J.L. Peeler became pastor of Bethlehem on the second Sunday of July 1959, preaching to a congregation of 207. He served the congregation for 28 years. While Pastor Peeler was at Bethlehem, a fellowship building was constructed in 1967 on the property adjacent to the parsonage, where regular recreational and fellowship programs were established. Changes in the fellowship building a long with the construction of a new nave were made on this property in 1981.
When the Reverend Terry Pitts became pastor in November of 1988, the congregation had begun the process of replacing a 1946 Hammond organ. In 1990, the nave was modified to accommodate a tracker pipe organ built by Gabriel Kney, Ltd. of London, Ontario. Jim Piercey of Orlando, Florida, executed stained-glass windows which were installed in the narthex and nave.
The original 1907 church building was razed in 1995. Medallions from the stained-glass windows and the altar windows from this building were preserved by encasing them in oak frames and placing them in the narthex. These renovations and improvements were made in 1996.
In 1999, Bethlehem called the Reverend M. Timothy Martin as pastor. A small group ministry was formed in 2001. A contemporary worship service was added for a year and a half. In 2006, a Wednesday Night Alive weekly event began with a meal and activities for adults and children.
Bethlehem has been an integral part of this community for several generations striving to make a difference in the lives of its members and community. Our mission is “To be disciples, to make disciples,” and it is our prayers that we will be able to carry out that mission for many years to come!