From April 6th newspaper article written by Terry Bryant:
It all began on April 9, 1921, when an organizational meeting was held in Siren's Swedish Mission Church. From that meeting, an application was made by that small yet determined group of worshippers for membership in the Augustana Lutheran Synod. The name chosen for their new Church was Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church. There were 46 names on the new congregation's membership roster including infants. The first pastor was paid $12 a month. To help the new congregation, the Ladies Aid sold lunches to the community. The Ladies Aid loaned the Luther League $25 to purchase a piano. They also helped pay the pastor’s salary. And so began 100 years of grace and growth that is still known today as Bethany Lutheran. The start of Bethany’s centennial celebration will be acknowledged by Pastor Emily Stelling at the April 11 10:30am worship service. A festive celebration is planned for this fall, the weekend of October 2 & 3. Many of those founding members became life-long members of Bethany including Leroy Beckmark and Violet Blom who were the first couple of be married at Bethany in 1943 and who remained members until Leroy’s funeral in 2008 followed by Violet’s in 2016. Violet’s life-long dream was to live to see Bethany’s 100th anniversary and she almost made it. Her legacy of faithful service lives on through Bethany’s commitment to serving God and this community. If you’d like to be a part of this vibrant, growing congregation as we move forward with our next 100 years, please contact the Church office: 715-349-5280.
From May newspaper article written by Terry Bryant:
Bethany Lutheran Reaches Another Centennial Milestone
On May 9, 1921, just a few weeks after the congregation was established, the first baby was baptized at Bethany Lutheran in Siren. That baby grew up to become a life-long member and dedicated supporter of Bethany. Hazel Genevieve Nordin was born on December 12, 1920. She was baptized five months later on May 9, 1921, 100 years ago. Hazel was also confirmed at Bethany. She later married Earl Keppen in 1943 and her three children, Betty Jo, Mari Lou and Dean, were also baptized at Bethany. Sadly, Hazel didn't quite live long enough to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of her baptism. She passed away April 20, 2020. To honor Hazel's faithful commitment to Bethany, her family donated beautiful memory boxes to be given to every child baptized at Bethany. Almost 100 years after Hazel's baptism, Anya Jean Bruno was the first child to receive one of these special boxes. On Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, Anya was baptized by Pastor Emily Stelling and received the first of the Hazel Nordin Keppen Memorial Baptism Keepsake boxes. Each box contains a candle that was lit during Anya's baptism, her Baptismal certificate, a book, a cross, the towel used during her baptism and a letter from the pastor, her parents and Godparents for Anya to read when she is confirmed. The box was personalized for Anya by Bethany member Kim Stypula. Anya's baptism was especially meaningful for Pastor Emily. Not only did it bridge 100 years in the rich faith-based, family-oriented life of Bethany Lutheran, but Anya was the first child baptized by Pastor Emily thereby fulfilling a dream she'd had since Pastor Emily was 12 years old. If you'd like your family to experience the tradition of grace and growth that has brought Bethany Lutheran to this 100-year Anniversary, then join us as we continue to answer God’s call in the next century! All are welcome! Call the Church office for more info: 715-349- 5280 or visit our website www.bplutheran.com.