A Family in Christ ~ Moved by His Spirit ~ Sharing His Love
Bethel's early formation came out of a Swedish Lutheran Ladies Aid which first met May 1, 1905, with Catechist Peter Dahlquist, who had been sent to Bemidji from a Swedish Lutheran Church. The official birth date was January 8, 1908, at which time the church adopted the name Den Svenska Lutherska Bethel Forsamlanger. The church began with a membership of about 73.
Through the years Bethel Lutheran Church has had several name changes and three national church bodies have been in Bethel's history. From 1910 to 2000 Bethel resided in downtown Bemidji, with the first church located at 6th and American Avenue. In 1952 Bethel moved to 5th and Irvine Avenue into a remodeled Munsingwear factory building. The congregation added a new sanctuary to this building in 1976. Twenty-one years later, in 1997, the congregation decided to relocate. After obtaining land three miles north of its 5th & Irvine location, groundbreaking took place on Sunday, June 20,
1999 and construction started soon afterward. On Palm Sunday, April 16, 2000 we began our worship
service at the 5thandIrvine location and then proceeded in an automobile caravan to the new
church building at 5232 Irvine Avenue to complete the worship service.
Bethel Lutheran Church is a member of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC)
Bethel Lutheran Church, 5232 Irvine Avenue NW, Bemidji, joined the North American Lutheran Church after disaffiliating from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bethel Lutheran, founded over one hundred years ago -- in 1908-- was first a member of the Augustana Lutheran Church, which later became a part of the Lutheran Church of America, which then became part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America twenty-five years ago.
The North American Lutheran Church was founded in 2010, and now counts more than 100,000 members nationwide. Divided into twenty mission districts, usually based on geographical groupings of congregations, the NALC districts are headed by regional deans. These deans, who help provide oversight and pastoral care to pastors and congregations within their mission districts, may also serve as pastors of local congregations.
The NALC is committed to shaping its life around four attributes: being Christ-centered, mission-driven, traditionally grounded and congregationally focused.
We confess the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures. We affirm the authority of the Scriptures as the authoritative source and norm, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged” (Formula of Concord). We accept the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses to the Word of God.
We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples — in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world — must be a priority of the Church in the present age.
We affirm the ecumenical creeds and the faithful witness of the Church across time and space. We endorse the form and practices of the universal Church that are consistent with Scripture, particularly the office of the ministry and the tradition of worship under Word and Sacrament. We seek dialogue and fellowship with other Lutheran churches and with faithful Christians of other confessions.
We strive to be a church that is organized to facilitate the ministries of local congregations in a posture of servanthood and a spirit of partnership, through the provision of resources, connections and information.
Rev. Mark Kindem
Church Council officers:
Council Vice President