WELCOME

                                        We’re glad you’re here!
 
 
Our Mission Statement
To spread the good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ to our community and neighbors, and to nurture
and strengthen the faith of, and care for, our members.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
About Bethany Lutheran
Bethany is an ELCA Lutheran church nestled in a rural country setting in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. We belong to the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. Our church is run on the assembly of people who gather as a family of faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of serving Christ in the world. God has richly blessed our ever-changing and ever-growing congregation as we seek to faithfully live out our mission statement. We offer many opportunities to grow in faith and encourage members to get involved as we focus on the work that God has entrusted into our hands to carry us into the future. As a church community rooted deep in christian tradition, we welcome all people to become a part of the family of Bethany.
 
Noah’s Ark
Welcome aboard Noah’s Ark! Swings and slides and whales…OH MY! Whether you’re keeping lookout from the top or peeking through the portholes on the bottom, you’re sure to find hours of adventure on our giant play set! All are welcome to stop and play on Noah’s Ark or take a break on one of the benches and enjoy the scenery. We do ask that children be supervised at all times to ensure that the Ark stays a safe and fun place for everyone to enjoy for many years to come!
 
 History of Bethany Lutheran
 
The history of Bethany dates all the way back to 1863 when a group of immigrants to the area formed the Wood River Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. This ministry served 16 area families.By 1870 a constitution was adopted and so began the birth of our church, In 1876, Canute Anderson donated the grounds for the church building which was completed by May of 1882. The church measured 40 feet by 30 feet and was dedicated on November 17, 1889. By 1905, the need arose for an English service so a small group broke off and formed the English Evangelical Lutheran Church, constructing their own building at a different location. In 1907 the church building was moved closer to the traveled highway, which is where the present location of the church now stands. A union of area synods took place in 1917 resulting in the Wood River, St. Olaf, and English Lutheran churches to begin sharing the same Pastor. On May 10, 1921, the Wood River and St. Olaf congregations united to form the Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1924 it was decided that Bethany and English Lutheran would continue sharing the same pastor, held mainly in the English language, with each church sharing the cost. During the depression in 1932, Bethany and English would share the same pastor with Melbourne Lutheran of Pine City, MN and splitting his $1,200 salary. A Norwegian service was stilled held once a month by the request of the elders in the church. In 1940 the exterior of the church was shingled and painted and a well was drilled while the interior woodwork was grained and varnished. In 1946 Melbourne Lutheran united with a different congregation, leaving Bethany and English as a two-point parish. Also in 1946, Bethany and English would erect the Grantsburg Cabin at Luther Point Bible Camp. The church had grown greatly in number and by 1950 it was decided that more space was needed. A 20×30 foot addition was built onto the back of the church, housing more classrooms and additional basement space. An oil burning furnace was also installed and the church was rewired. In the early morning hours of June 25, 1954 and unusually severe electrical storm hit the area. Lightening struck the steeple of the church and it started on fire, burning out of control. The building was a total loss and the only things saved were the pastor’s chair, the baptismal font, choir robes, altar cloths, flags, 2 ranges, a refrigerator, and tables and benches from the basement. The pastor’s chair and baptismal font are still used regularly in services today. The English Lutheran congregation extended the use of their church while Bethany was rebuilding. The first services were held in the new building on Easter Sunday in 1955. During the 1950’s and 60’s many groups were formed to deepen the spiritual life of the church’s members. Activites offered were choir, bible study, Sunday school, and various committees to name a few. A women’s group, the American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW) was formed and they supported many various causes of the church. In 1960, a college scholarship for children of Bethany was formed. In 1964 a junior choir was formed. In 1965 the bell tower was constructed and the bell was purchased from Faith Lutheran church in Valders, Wisconsin. There is a Norwegian inscription on the bell that reads: “God’s word remains for eternity. God’s honor is proclaimed by my voice–that you shall know. I will gather young and old to Jesus Christ.” In January of 1966, English Lutheran Church, who had now merged with First Lutheran, voted to rename their congregation Faith Lutheran Church. and dedicated their new building in September of that year. In 1968 a loud speaker system, a phone, fold door classrooms in the basement, and a yard light were installed at Bethany and the exterior was painted. This building served our congregation well until again in 1986 when an addition to the east end of the church was built to provide four new rooms. One room housed the library while another long room had a divider to serve as a dual purpose classroom and nursery. In 1990 the congregation voted to build a new narthex which would provide a new entrance to the church as well as an elevator, a new main level restroom, and two storage closets. In 1994 a member of Bethany crafted stained glass windows for the sanctuary and narthex and they have been a beautiful and meaningful addition to our church. In 1996 a security system was installed in the church as well as the large stained glass window in the back of the sanctuary. After almost 100 years of being a united parish, it was decided in January of 2000 that Bethany and Faith had grown large enough to call their own pastors. Each church became independent of one another. Both congregations acknowledge with gratitude the many faithful years of service shared together and also for the many dedicated years that Pastor Myron Carlson was the Pastor at Bethany. Beginning on October 1, 2000, Bethany became a one-point parish, meaning one pastor would solely serve the members of Bethany. Pastor Lawrence Day was called to be the new pastor of the church. Two classrooms were turned into a pastor’s office and a secretary’s office. Confirmation classes were offered to youth aged children. In 2001 Bethany began to offer soup and sandwich suppers and services during the season of Lent. In November of that same year, a new outdoor sign was erected in memoriam.  In 2002 our sound system was upgraded and we held our first Easter breakfast. Bethany also called it’s first woman pastor, Dawn and Confirmands began serving as acolytes during worship service. In 2003 a new furnace and central air units were installed. In 2005, the church was resided and our parking lot was sealed and expanded to accommodate the need for more parking. The bell and the bell tower were also repaired. Pastor Dawn accepted a call to another parish and Bethany was blessed with two interim pastors, Pastor Julie Brenden and Pastor Nanette Hagen-Hinck who faithfully served our congregation until Pastor Jay Ticknor accepted our call for service and preached his first sermon at Bethany on July 31st, 2005. In 2006, it was decided that the kitchen was in need of updating  and after much planning, a full remodel was underway. New cupboards, counter tops, appliances, and flooring were installed and the new amenities have proved to be a delightful addition to our kitchen services. The Stewardship committee ventured into uncharted waters and decided to put on the play, ‘To the Castle’. The cast was comprised of members of the congregation and after months of preparation and rehearsal, they performed three shows in February of 2006 which were open to the public. The performances were very well received by the community. 2007 saw many more technological updates with the installation of an upgraded sound system, new computer systems for the secretary’s office and pastor’s study, and the purchase of a projector and projector screen. All hands were on deck in the spring as our beloved Noah’s Ark play set floated into Bethany. The Ark continues to provide many hours of enjoyment to kids in our congregation and in our community. It has even made it’s way into some fun pictures! Bethany is often referred to as “the cute church with the Ark”. Our debut to the world wide web came in 2008 when our first website was built and Facebook page was established This made services at Bethany easily accessible for members as well as guests. The beautiful Outdoor Worship Area was built complete with 12 foot cross, seating, and an altar made from the wood cleared for the area. Outdoor sermons, concerts, and movie nights under the stars have been a wonderful addition. In 2009, it was decided by the council that the sanctuary was in need of slight repair and updating. New carpet, linoleum, and pew cushions were installed and the pews, altar, pulpit, and baptismal font were sanded and sealed. The colors chosen compliment the space beautifully and have made Bethany a warm and inviting place to worship in. The pastor’s study, nursery, kindergarten classroom, and library were also rejuvenated with fresh paint, window dressings, and decor. In 2014, a gazebo and picnic table were built next to the ark to provide a lovely shaded picnic area. Many of the improvements seen at Bethany were made possible through generous donations and memorials that have been given to the church for which we are ever grateful..Bethany is rich in history and we honor and cherish those who have laid the foundation and those who continue to the build the walls of this wonderful ministry. 
 
 
 
History of Bethany
in Pictures
 
 

Bethany Lutheran 1955

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bethany Lutheran 1990

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bethany Lutheran 2007

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sanctuary

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sanctuary Cross