Bethlehem Lutheran Church


History of Bethlehem Lutheran Church 1979 to 1984

  • 1979 Proctor teacher, Kaye Vogel, was sponsored in part by Bethlehem when she served as a missionary in Japan in 1979. Bethlehem became involved in organizing Proctor’s Meals on Wheels program, and the church was responsible for one service every other month at the Union Gospel Mission. A meal, usually a large pot of chili, prepared by members of the Naomi and Esther Circles followed the church services at the Union Gospel Mission.
  • 1980 The parking lot was blacktopped again in 1980 at a cost of $7,800. Bethlehem new-comer, Kathy Horton, went to the mission field in Nepal. The nation’s energy crunch meant instituting several energy saving measures at Bethlehem: thermostat covers were installed, some of the plate glass windows in the entry way were removed, and paneling was installed.
  • 1982 Beginning in 1982, members of the church council and their families took over the duties of keeping the church clean, thus saving the cost of a janitor. Other church members continued this service later on. King’s Kids Preschool began holding classes in the youth room, and the space was rented to teachers Karen Hawkinson and Kaye Eckstrom. Bethlehem became involved in the Proctor Food Shelf along with other area churches. Members were asked to fill out time and talent sheets to identify special skills and interests. Pastor Elness tendered his resignation in July 1982 after accepting a call to Erskine, Minnesota. A call committee was organized, and Pastors Anderson and Bugh from Our Savior’s volunteered to help. The synod suggested we hire an interim pastor, and Reverend Trueman Daniels came in November to serve at Bethlehem until a new pastor could be called. Pastor Daniels immediately endeared himself to Bethlehem members as he showed a great sense of humor and a beautiful singing voice.
  • 1983 Bethlehem began planning its 75th anniversary celebration in 1983. Ruth Larson chaired the anniversary committee, and an anniversary dinner and special worship service were held. Six former pastors participated in the worship service as well as former choir members and members of other groups. A 75th anniversary cookbook was published, and a new pictorial directory was ordered. Doors were installed in the fellowship hall and storm windows were installed where necessary. After some fundraising, the ceiling in the sanctuary was insulated and finished in cedar paneling at a cost of $16,000. A roast beef dinner was organized by Pat Ware and Cheryl DeWall to help pay for the ceiling project. The roast beef dinner proved to be very successful and it became an annual event. Pastor Daniels left Bethlehem in June 1983, and a letter of call was sent to Reverend Clifford Dirksen who was installed in August 1983. Marie Holmstrand resigned as the Profile editor in 1983, and the search for a new editor began. The House of Bread Singers presented “The Witness.” Women were approved to serve as communion assistants. Bethlehem became part of the Area Church Council which was made up of representatives from all of the Proctor area churches. This group later became known as ACT (Area Churches Together). By the end of 1983, two important changes were being discussed: selling or leasing the parsonage, and the coming merger of Lutheran groups into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bethlehem belonged to the American Lutheran Church at that time. Discussions regarding the pros and cons of the merger continued from 1985-1986. Recent regulations required notification of the congregation for four consecutive weeks before a special meeting could be held regarding the encumbrance of church property.
  • 1984 In January 1984, a lease was completed with Skyline Medical Center to open a family practice medical clinic in the former parsonage. A dedication and open house were held at the new clinic in July, and a committee was set up at Bethlehem to handle the administrative and accounting details of the lease. Linda Rohweder became the new editor of the Profile in April 1984. A group known as the Befrienders was started at Bethlehem. Five members completed the training and were commissioned in May 1984. The purpose of the group was to assist the pastor and to offer support and comfort to members when needed. In 1984, the church council budgeted $300 for Camp Vermilion scholarships with priority given to 7th and 8th graders. The fair booth ministry continued at the Proctor Fair in cooperation with Immanuel and Augustana with a 24-hour prayer vigil. A need for proper banner storage was recognized and the problem was resolved with the addition of a new storage closet in the basement.


In December 1984, parish visitor Reverend Davig met with the congregation to outline a five-year plan to help achieve the most important goals for the church. Goals identified were:

  1. Bible study for all ages
  2. Balanced church services(traditional and innovative)
  3. Adding a trained youth counselor
  4. Active prayer groups and planning
  5. An accessible church.

The church council voted to adopt the five goals and to begin the five-year plan.