Previous Page Search Again Next Page

the original affiliation issue and had joined the Augusta Synod. A student of theology, Carl J. Silfversten, was engaged as pastor. He began a Sunday School, put though improvements in the building, including electricity to replace the old kerosene lamps, and put the archives and records in order. The church was moved to a new site on Wadena Avenue in 1907, and in 1912 it adopted as its official name, Evangelical Lutheran Bethel-församling.

For a time there was apparent a certain stagnation, due to a series of temporary and substitute pastors, which lasted until the Reverend G. Oberg was engaged permanently in 1915. Attendance grew, and the old church building grew cramped and inconvenient, and even while a committee was planning a new church the old one burned down in 1916. After this disaster, it was decided to re-locate entirely, and architect E. Berg designed a new building to be erected at the intersection of 53rd Street and Ramsey. By the summer of 1917 the attractive new church, in late Gothic style, was ready for dedication. Before the Reverend Oberg resigned in 1919, membership had grown considerably, and after a year's pastorate by the Reverend Olson, Carl Silfversten, who had completed his divinity studies, was engaged on a permanent basis.

The first auxiliary to be started in connection with the congregation was the Enighet, begun in 1899 by eight women, with Katerina Anderson as president, Brita Johanna Berg as vice-president, Maria Carlson as secretary and Emma Skomars as treasurer. During the war this organization assisted in Red Cross work, and after the Bethany Children's Home was founded, the members of Enighet used to visit that orphanage regularly to mend and look after the children's clothing. After 1905, the Bethany church also had its own Sunday School, with one John Peterson listed as its first teacher, and followed in 1908 by Louis Cole. They have been followed by Isaac Höglund, John A. Forsman, August Gustafson, Alfred Haga, J. J. Qvist, and J. A. Gers. Instruction was first given in the Swedish language, but English was adopted later.

Other youth activities include the Adelfia, started at the same time as the Sunday School. Although some of its members were youths born and brought up in the United States, the meetings were held in Swedish. The group had its own lending library, and it also earned considerable money, used as the start of a fund for the purchase of a parsonage. This organization came to an end officially in 1915, but in actuality continued under a new name, Lutherförbundet. Another group, the Willing Workers,


Previous Page Search Again Next Page