Where We’ve Been


1885     Rev. C.F.A. Kaessmann began a ministry with Lutherans around Albermarle Street.

1886     November 28th – worship service held at Patterson Hall.
1887     Summer- Chapel on Eager Street near Broadway was purchased with financial assistance from the Bauernschmidt family.
1890     Rev. William Batz installed as Pastor.
1896     Rev. Jacob Burkhart installed as Pastor.
1899     Rev. Francis C. Verwiebe (Missouri Synod) installed as Pastor.
1903     July 12th – A windstorm severely damaged the Church. Building abandoned.
August 13th – On legal advice, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church formally disbanded.
August 13th – A group of members of the former St. Peter’s Lutheran Church met under leadership of Rev. Francis C.
            Verwiebe and organized as “Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church” affiliated with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
            Services held in Faith Presbyterian Church at Broadway and Gay St.
August 17th – Organizational meeting conducted and Officers and Church Council elected.
September 14th – Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church incorporated under the laws of Maryland.
October 3rd – Ground Breaking Ceremony for Church Building at Oliver St. and Collington Ave.
November 15th – Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for Church Building at Oliver St. and Collington Ave.
1904     August 14th – Dedication of Church Building at Oliver St. and Collington Ave.
1908     Dedication of a one manual pipe organ. Dedication of two bells presented by the Ladies’ Aid Society. Rev. J. George
             Spilman installed as Pastor.
1909     Purchase of ground under Church and Parsonage.
1912     Addition to Parsonage is built.
1913     First renovation of Bethlehem Church.
1924     Purchase of 3118 Ravenwood Avenue. Plans drawn for new Chapel, Ground Breaking for Chapel at Belair Road and
              Cliftmont Avenue.
1925     Cornerstone Laying and Dedication of Chapel at Belair Road and Cliftmont Avenue.
1927     Sale of 3118 Ravenwood Avenue and purchase of 2216 E. Oliver Street as Parish House. Dedication of a new Pulpit, Altar
             and Lectern.
1928     Second renovation of Bethlehem Church.
1937     Purchased 2226 E. Oliver Street as the Parsonage for Assistant Pastor and his family.
1940     Third renovation of Bethlehem Church. Hand carved figures of the Lord’s Supper, Moses and St. Paul were dedicated along
             with reredos.
1946     Rev. William H. Kohn installed as Pastor. Rev. J. George Spilman became Pastor Emeritus.
1948     Addition to church to provide better facilities.
1949     Separation of Home Church and Chapel, forming Mt. Olive Lutheran Church.
1950     Renovation of the church basement.
1951     Fourth renovation of Bethlehem Church.
1954     September – Rev. W.H. Kohn accepts call to another congregation. Rev. J.G. Spilman recalled as Vacancy Pastor.
1955     March 14th – Purchase of 4213 Belmar Avenue Parsonage.
April 24th – Rev. Waldemar A. Rook installed as Pastor.
July 18th – Voters’ Assembly resolved to relocate Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.
1956     February 29th – Purchased 5 ½ acres of land with dwelling known as 4809 Hamilton Avenue.
July 15th – First Sunday School session conducted at 4809 Hamilton Avenue.
1957     February – First worship service held at 4809 Hamilton Avenue.
September 8th – Groundbreaking Ceremony for Church Building at 4815 Hamilton Avenue.
1958     January 21st – Church Building at Oliver Street and Collington Avenue sold to Southeastern District, LCMS, for mission
May 18th – Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for Church Building at 4815 Hamilton Avenue.
1959     March 15th – Dedication of Church Building at 4815 Hamilton Avenue.
1960     Dedication of new Moeller Pipe Organ.
1964     May 3rd – Groundbreaking ceremony for Education Building.
1965     February 14th – Dedication Ceremony of Education Building.
1966     Rev. Bruce V. Malchow began a congregation, Lamb of God. Worship service held at VFW Hall on Philadelphia.
1967     January 29th – Lamb of God purchased 8912 Philadelphia property.
1968     Rev. Waldemar Rook served Lamb of God as vacancy Pastor.
1972     Pre-School and Kindergarten established.
1975     July 13th – Installation of Rev. Raymond Rohrs for Lamb of God.
1977     December 4th – Dedication of the stained glass windows.
1978     July – Rev. Donald E. Bendewald accepted call to Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. Grades 1 & 2 added to the
September 10th – Rev. Donald E. Bendewald installed as Pastor.
November 12th – Dedication Ceremony of Bethlehem School.
1979     Grades 3 & 4 added to the School.
1980     Grade 5 added to the School.
1981     Grade 6 added to the School. Groundbreaking Ceremony for Lamb of God Church Building.
November – dedication of Lamb of God Church Building.
1984     Addition to the Educational Building for Bethlehem School.
1985     March – Handbells given to Bethlehem Church by John Rach.
1989     December 30th – Bethlehem Voters’ Assembly resolved to absorb Lamb of God’s membership and wellbeing into its own.
1990     “Soup & …” Lenten suppers began.
1992     Bethlehem School Playground constructed.
1996     Voters’ Assembly resolved that women be allowed to serve as active members of Bethlehem Church Council. Spiritual growth
             of members assigned to newly appointed Board of Elders.
1997     June – Praise Service offered two services each month.
August – 1st Modular Building; Intro middle school.
1998     April – New Sound System installed.
July 5th – Rev. Martin S. Gilliland Ordained and Installed as Pastor.
2nd Modular Building erected for middle school.
September – Grades 7 & 8 added to the School.
1999     December – Rev. Donald E. Bendewald retires.
2000     Summer – Air Conditioning Installed.
Fall – Introduction of WOW (Wisdom on Wednesdays).
2001     October – Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church cedes property to help establish Living Water Lutheran Church (Formerly
             Lamb of God). Rev. Martin S. Gilliland becomes full time interim Pastor at Living Water Lutheran Church.
2002     January – Pastor Walter Schoenfuhs becomes vacancy Pastor at Bethlehem.
October – 1st annual Christian Fright Night.
2003     100th Anniversary year long celebration. Banquet on October 11th.
April – New Carpet installed.
September – Pastor James Kleinfelter accepted call to Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.
November – Pastor James Kleinfelter Installed as Pastor.
2004     Purchase of Greller Property.
Spring – Front of church re-landscaped.
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