Bethany Lutheran Celebrates 100 Years
STORDEN -- One hundred years after Bethany Lutheran Church in Storden was founded, the congregation is welcoming back former members and pastors to commemorate the event on Sunday.
Founded in January 1913 under the leadership of the Rev. J. Lewis, Bethany Lutheran Church hosted a handful of services in a different building before a church structure was constructed at the current location in 1914. The building was replaced in 1930, and the front entrance updated in 1981.
Initially part of a group of five parishes, Bethany Lutheran eventually left and began operating in partnership with Amo Lutheran Church, rural Storden. In 2005, the two congregations were asked to join Prairie Star Ministry, a joint ministry of several local churches.
"After prayerful consideration, Bethany Lutheran decided not to join, but Amo voted to join," explained Sharon Musegades, president of the council.
The change opened the door for the partnership that formed between Bethany Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran Church, Jeffers, in 2008.
The Rev. Cole McCormick currently splits his time between the Bethany and Trinity congregations. A graduate of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, McCormick has worked with the churches for about a year and a half.
The theme for Bethany Lutheran's anniversary will be "How Great Thou Art," based on the hymn by the same name. The theme was voted upon by the congregation and will be displayed on banners at the church.
Bethany Lutheran Church's centennial celebrations will start at 9:30 p.m. Sunday with a choir rehearsal that is open to anyone, said Musegades.
The worship service will begin at 10:30 a.m., and open and close with verses from "How Great Thou Art." Three former pastors will be attending the service and Andrea Degroot-Nesdahl, a synod minister with the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, will be giving the sermon.
"We will have Holy Communion and special music from people that are members or have been members of the congregation throughout the service," Musegades said.
After the service, the congregation will launch 100 balloons in recognition of the anniversary.
"We hope none pop," Musegades added with a laugh. "We're planning on releasing 100 as a symbol of our 100 years."
Following the balloon release, the congregation will have a meal at the church.
"With the meal tickets, there will a drawing for a quilt sewn by three ladies in the congregation," explained Musegades. "We also have a baby guessing contest with members' baby pictures. They have a chance to guess who it is, and whoever gets it right will receive a door prize."
With all the events planned for Sunday, the worship service is what McCormick said he is looking forward to the most.
Musegades said that more than 400 invitations were sent out for the anniversary event, and that more than 250 are expected for the meal.
The 185-member church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and McCormick said it participates in activities with other churches in the community.
"One of the highlights every year is the community Vacation Bible School," he said. "We've had over 100 children and youths participate in that each year for the last couple of years."
Another highlight for McCormick has been the motion choir, which performs annually at the Christmas Eve service.
"It's something that a lot of the youths participate in each year and quite a few of their parents were in the motion choir at one time, as well," he said. "A youth takes a couple candles, and they have a candle in each hand, and they lead the congregation in the singing of 'Silent Night', and the sanctuary gets darkened, and they have motions they do with the candles."
McCormick praised the efforts of the church council and the congregation as a whole in preparing for this Sunday's activities.
"The church council is very active in planning a lot of the events that go on in the life of the congregation," McCormick said. "The whole congregation as a whole has done wonderful work preparing for the anniversary."
"With God's help we will have a wonderful and joyful day, and many thanks to those who worked so hard in preparing for our big day," Musegades added.