Yes! We rejoice in a diversity of beliefs and traditions that people bring to our community, and our lives are truly enhanced by the presence of each. We welcome all through our doors.
“I’ve never been to ANY church. Am I still welcome?”
Yes! All are welcome – there is no entry requirement. We would be honored to play a role in your search. Just as Christ loved all people regardless of their upbringing, their sordid pasts, or their religious devotion (or not), we will lovingly receive you with open arms no matter where you came from or what you believe.
“I have children. Can I still come?”
We love children. We offer Sunday School during worship; the kids start in worship, attend class during the readings and sermon, and rejoin worship in time for communion on communion Sundays. On the 3rd Sunday of each month, the kids have a chance to be in church and learn how to worship, which is also essential to their religious education. The Pastor offers a children’s sermon every Sunday.
Bethlehem is on Plank Road between Salt and County Line. It’s a beautiful drive, but be prepared – it’s out there! When you think you’ve gone too far, keep going, and you’ll find it. We promise we’ll make it worth your while.
“Where can I park?”
There is a lot beside the church right by the road, or you can drive around to the back of the church and there is more space for parking.
“What should I wear?”
Anything goes. Some people dress up, some people wear jeans – you’ll fit in just fine whatever you wear.
“How big is Bethlehem?”
We are a small but mighty group of believers with typically about 40 in worship. We have some who leave for the winter, and some who leave for the summer; our total membership is about 145.
“What is your worship like?”
Traditional but fresh. We deeply value our Lutheran heritage, and follow the traditional liturgical order used by many Lutherans (as well as Episcopal, Orthodox, and Catholic churches), but our hymns come from traditional and contemporary resources. We sing with gusto out of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal, and sometimes also draw from some other sources.
“What’s the difference between a ‘Lutheran’ and a ‘Christian’?”
There isn’t a difference – a Lutheran IS a Christian! Christianity is our religion, and Lutheranism is our denomination. It is one expression of Christianity. See our “What We Believe” section to learn more about what makes Lutherans distinct.
“What ‘flavor’ of Lutheran is Bethlehem, and how is that different from other Lutherans?”
Bethlehem belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which is based in
Chicago. The ELCA shares its roots with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church. We share the same book of confessions (The Book of Concord), but the ELCA is unique among Lutheran bodies in America for several reasons, including its ordination of women and its acceptance of all baptized people to the communion table. For more information on the ELCA, go to http://www.elca.org.
“I’m not Lutheran, or I’m from a different Lutheran body. Can I take communion?”
Yes! We welcome all baptized Christians who believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament to partake of this feast. You are welcome to come forward regardless and receive a blessing. If you are unable to come forward, we will gladly bring communion to you in your seat. Just let us know!
“I was baptized in a church that isn’t Lutheran. Do I have to be rebaptized?”
No, there is no need. Like most Christian churches, Lutherans recognize that Baptism is not a denominational thing. Anyone baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is, as far as we are concerned, a baptized child of God, whether that baptism took place in a Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist or other church, and whether it was by “sprinkling,” “pouring” or “immersion”—the method doesn’t matter to us!
“I’m interested in joining, or having my child baptized, or in my child having first communion, or in confirmation. What should I do?”
Talk to the pastor, and she would be happy to work with you.