A second Lincoln County Lutheran congregation is celebrating its centennial anniversary this month. At Sylvan Grove, the Bethlehem Lutheran Church congregation has planned a 2-day schedule of activities with Rejoice! A Century of God’s Blessings as its central theme.
According to the Bethlehem Church’s centennial anniversary committee, the minutes of the first meeting bear the date of Aug. 21, 1881, but the true origin of Bethlehem as an agency of the church dates back to 1879. …
In western Lincoln County, Lutherans first held worship services in parishioners’ homes, with the Rev. E. Maehr riding from Ellsworth, summer and winter, to preach. It is understood that the "circuit-riding" preacher was provided a horse and a saddle by Lincoln and Sylvan Grove Lutherans, as "transportation" for the long ride he made on second and third weekends from Ellsworth to serve people in these county communities.
In 1890, Bethlehem Lutheran voted to build a new church which was completed in1892 at a cost of $4,570.50, "exclusive or the organ and bell," the committee writes. A new schools building was conducted in 1906 and seven years later a new stone school buidling was dedicated which still stands today at Sylvan Grove.
The cornerstone laying for the present church was an event of Sept. 10, 1961, and on February 25, 1962, the present church building was dedicated.