Bethlehem Lutheran Church


History of Bethlehem Lutheran Church 2001 to 2005

  • 2001 In 2001, an Easter passion play was written and directed by Dana Copiskey. The passion play involved the choir and several other Bethlehem members. Jessie Suomala left for a two-month mission trip to Tanzania. Plans for a new confirmation picture display were made and requests for missing pictures permanent record of Bethlehem’s confirmation history. A stand to hold the picture display was made by Kevin Talbot and all of the costs were paid with memorial funds. Members of Bethlehem responded to the call for photographs and all confirmation classes, except for some very early 1900 classes, were found.Elenn Elness, home on furlough, related her experiences as a doctor in a Pakistan clinic. The women’s Christmas luncheon was highlighted by a senior style show by Bethlehem members. Communion was open to children of any age in 2001 if they attended an instruction class with their parents. Bethlehem began mission support for Beth Elness-Hanson, her husband Erik, and daughter Anya, who were volunteering at Maasie Girl’s School in Tanzania. Karen Linne' graduated from Luther Seminary and waited for a call. The Sunday school put on a successful spring carnival that was open to the community. The purpose of the carnival was to help support and encourage summer Bible school attendance (now known as day camp). The Proctor Clinic did not renew its lease, but an agreement was signed with Innovative Living to lease the parsonage building.
  • 2002 We began 2002 off on a joyful note as we celebrated Karen Linne's ordination at Bethlehem. Karen accepted a position as a full-time pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Mahtowa. The sound system was upgraded, and mentors were assigned to new members. The Life and Mission Committee began regular visits and remembrances for shut-ins, and Lori Peters began signing for the deaf on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Council agreed to support the purchase of Fair Trade coffee for use in the church and for sale to interested members. Bethlehem’s Council and a newly formed Accessibility Committee met with a Christian fundraising group called Kairos. The congregation voted to approve the elevator project, and in July the congregation voted to hire Kairos as its fundraising educator. The cost to hire Kairos was $14,500.
  • 2003 The educational aspects of the fundraising drive began in January 2003 when a representative from Kairos began training members. The theme chosen was, “Building in Christ Our House of Bread.” Dick Rowe volunteered to serve as the special funds bookkeeper for the accessibility project. In August 2003, council and committee members attended a one-day leadership retreat at Ridge House in Duluth. An after school program for grades 6, 7, and 8, sponsored by ACT and led by Tina Anderson, met at Immanuel Lutheran Church. In November 2003, the Sunday school and Wednesday night 6th and 7th grade groups put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and the Youth Group organized and put together Christmas baskets. The promotion and sale of engraved memorial bricks began in 2004 as a fundraiser for the elevator. The bricks were to be mounted on the outside wall of the new addition upon completion of the accessibility project. Renewing Worship song books were ordered, and members were encouraged to sponsor bulletin covers that were professionally printed. Bethlehem continued to be a part of the Hoghead Sunday worship service, and “Movie Night at Bethlehem” brought families together for summer evenings of G-rated videos and shared refreshments. King’s Kids discontinued their preschool. Blacktop sealer was applied to the church parking lot by volunteers. Apple pies were made in the fall and sold at the church bazaar.
  • 2005 Bethlehem began 2005 with a family sleigh ride and bonfire. The accessibility drive continued and pledges were encouraged. Women of the church made diapers from t-shirts, and Bethlehem sent 440 diapers to the Honduras as part of a mission trip in February 2005. Adult Fridays were planned for once a month, and weekly communion was begun. Volunteers moved the church library from the corner location in the basement to the stage area, and new shelves were built by members. Wednesday evening worship services were once again held in June and July. Meetings regarding a possible merger between Immanuel and Bethlehem were held. Those meetings continued periodically throughout the year until they were discontinued in December.