Bethel Lutheran Church had its official beginning at an organizational meeting held on August 7, 1891. The Rev. A.J. Frost of Atwater presided at this meeting in response to the call for an organizational meeting signed by ten men. The ten original signers were joined by others so that 43 persons were enrolled as charter members of the “Swedish Evangelical Bethel Congregation.” Bethel is the daughter of the county’s earliest church, organized in a log cabin on the shores of Eagle Lake in 1859. The Scandinavian pioneers preached the gospel in the area and survived the Indian War, drought and pestilence, to give Kandiyohi County its rich Lutheran background. The first church building, built in 1896, was a frame structure with brick veneer erected at Becker Avenue and West Second Street. The congregation grew until it was realized that more space was needed. Property was purchased at Becker Avenue and Fourth Street West and the cornerstone for the present sanctuary was laid on August 15, 1926. The current Bethel Church was completed in 1927. The first service held at the current church was on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927. Again Bethel’s congregation grew and a fund drive was organized to build the new educational building and chapel of the church. Construction started on April 1, 1957 and Sunday School opened in the new building on March 1, 1958. When the new parish education building and chapel were dedicated in September of 1958, the theme “Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free” was set in the brick at the entrance. The iconic carillonic bells of the current building were presented to the Bethel Congregation in 1980. The 4 foot blocks were installed on the east tower in 1988. Construction of the third floor of the educational building, south entrance remodel, enclosure of the atrium, addition over the front steps (Heritage Room), and new entrance in the northeast corner of the building began on June 1, 1988 and was completed and dedicated in September, 1989.

Bethel Church

Map Location 2