About Our Church
Bethlehem Lutheran Church is made up of a community of people committed to Living God’s Word. We are proud of our history. Building on a strong foundation of pastoral and lay leadership, we continue to the present day to spread the good news of God’s love in our community. Bethlehem developed out of a relationship with a sister congregation, Trinity Lutheran, in West Hempstead and first met at the Christie Street Chapel as the First Lutheran Church of South Hempstead. In time, the name was changed and Bethlehem Lutheran Church officially organized as a separate congregation in 1941. Worship services were held in a store on Grand Avenue as well as in the Christie Street Chapel and then later in a basement structure on Grand Avenue and Wesley Street in Baldwin.
Following World War II, Bethlehem grew rapidly in numbers and in faith. Our sanctuary was constructed and officially dedicated in February of 1950. Continued growth necessitated the addition of an educational building in 1959. From its formation to the present day, Bethlehem continues to witness to the good news of God’s love for all people through Jesus Christ. Bethlehem engages in local and global mission through its national affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Upheld by a strong foundation of faith, Bethlehem Lutheran Church is committed to Living God’s Word in the future just as we have in the past. We invite you to join us as we work together to spread the good news of God’s love for all people in our community and throughout the world.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church's 90th Anniversary History Corner
Rev. Carl E. Lucky
|Rev. Fred M. Ericksen||1944-1948|
|Rev. William E. Baker||1948-1952|
|Rev. Paul E. Eid||1952-1964|
|Rev. Earl R. Papke||1964-1971|
|Rev. Robert L. Isaksen||1972-1981|
|Rev. Alfred M. Christenson||1982-1987|
|Rev. Leonard T. Torcello||1988-1995|
|Rev. Kimberly Wilson||
|Rev. Kit C. Robison||
By Dave & Lynn Wirth
In the 60’s, Pastor Stuart Ensberg was very active in trying to establish a new camp named Koinonia. Both he and William Gordon-my 6th grade teacher at Lenox School and later a principal-were on the board for the new camp. (see http://www.koinoniany.org/history)
The camp was opened in the summer of 1963 too late for me to attend but Lynn, my wife, was one of the first campers and helped make the trails on the property.
Instead of getting a 2nd pastor, the congregation decided to hire a member, Walter Seidel, as the full-time Church Administrator. This was a new position but Walter was adept at dealing with people and getting things done. It took a large burden off the pastor.
I graduated from BHS in 1963 and went to college in PA. Subsequently Lynn and I were married and were living in Syracuse, NY until 1972 when I returned to Baldwin. Robert Isaksen was now the pastor. In the early 70’s Walter Seidel, the longtime Church Administrator died from a fall down his basement stairs. The congregation decided to rename the education wing to Seidel Hall in his honor.
Lynn and I joined Bethlehem and were active in many activities such as choir, council, and youth advisers. Our daughter, Stephanie, was baptized in 1972. Both she and our older daughter Michelle attended Sunday School, confirmation, and acolytes. A move to NJ in l997 meant leaving Bethlehem.