History of Our Church

"Gathered around the Word and Sacrament, we live the Good News of Christ's love throughout our Community & the World."Church SignBLCplusBldg 2

 

 

 

Longmont was without a Lutheran Congregation in 1900. When people of Scandinavian heritage made their way here from Chicago in 1901, they found that Longmont had neither a Lutheran congregation nor church.

 

On October 13, 1901, a group of people met to consider a Lutheran Congregation for Longmont. After scriptural and prayerful consideration, they decided to organize, assembling for the first time on December 8, 1901, at the home of Evan Olden, 444 Collyer Street. This new congregation, a unit of The United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, met in the homes of its members for five years. After discussions about building were disbanded, the young congregation decided in 1906 to purchase a former Catholic church building.

 

In a congregational meeting in 1924, two major decisions were made: to conduct all services in the English language and to pursue the construction of a new church building. In November of that year, ground was broken at Fourth and Terry and the cornerstone laid on April 5, 1925. The stately building served until 1970 when the property was sold to a newly-formed Baptist Church. Sometime within the next decade, the church was sold to a bank and demolished to make way for a banking facility on the site. That facility is gone and the lot lies vacant (as of 2014).

 

By the 1950s, there were several Lutheran congregations in Longmont, one such being Peace Lutheran with members of mostly German ethnicity. A long series of meetings ensued, resulting in a merger that took place on November 3, 1957. Thirty-four families (143 people) from Peace joined with the Lutheran Church to create Bethlehem Lutheran Church, a merger accomplished on November 3, 1957. The old Peace Lutheran Church building was sold, and the funds designated for the new Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 1000 15th Avenue, with the caveat that the Education Hall be named Peace.

 

The property at the present location was purchased in 1955. The parsonage was constructed on this property shortly thereafter. In 1969, the congregation decided to build on the current property. A corporation was formed, Lutheran Builders, after bids to have the church constructed were deemed inappropriate. Members did much of the work. The new Church was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1970.

 

Further expansion occurred in 1993 when the new sanctuary, more modern architecturally and completed under contract, was constructed and dedicated. Currently in use, it seats about three hundred persons for services. The large narthex is used for overflow and for fellowship before and after services. The newest expansion took place in 2001 with the construction of the wings on each side of the Peace Education Building. A fireside room, a nursery, and several classrooms were added.

 

BLC100YrPlate 1Bethlehem Lutheran Church recognized one hundred years of service in October 2001 with a two-day celebration. An evening of fun and fellowship on Saturday evening started the festivities. The service the next day on Reformation Sunday was the largest ever in the history of Bethlehem with liturgy in English, Norwegian, and German. A celebratory meal followed the service. Several pastors who had served here were in attendance that weekend. BLC100YrQuilt 1

 

Other events of the one hundred year celebration were the construction of the bell tower, installing a bell from a church in the Midwest, and a first place award-winning float in the Boulder County Fair Parade.

 

In 2005, Bethlehem was approached by a group of ecumenical Catholics who were looking for a space to use for ministry. A partnership in ministry was formed between Bethlehem and Light of Christ Ecumenical Catholic Community. We share space, worship and ministry.

 

That same year, Bethlehem began discussions with Cornerstone Preschool. Cornerstone is another new partner in ministry who shares our space.

 

From 2008 -2013 Bethlehem was blessed with four intern pastors, three who are now serving as pastors in the ELCA and one who has recently received her final approval from the synod's candidacy committee. She is now eligible for ordination and her name will be entered in to the Bishop's Draft; in addition, she is now officially an Air Force chaplain.

 

Ropte Dedication2012 1bThe open property to the north of the church facility has seen these additions in the last few years: The Ropte Pavilion, the labyrinth (an Eagle Scout project) and the community garden.  BLC Labyrinth 1The former parsonage has been turned into the "Mission House" which serves as housing for mission groups coming into the area to help with flood relief/rebuilding projects and other service missions.

Caring and spiritual pastors have blessed Bethlehem with faithful leadership for over 100 years.

 

 

© 2017 Bethlehem Lutheran Church
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