July 7th, 1961
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With this short history, we salute the faithful men and women who established the Bethel Lutheran Free Church to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Saviour of the World.
THEME SONG GOD’S WORD IS OUR GREAT HERITAGE
God’s word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever. To spread its light from age to age Be this our chief endeavor, Through life it guides our way; In death it is our stay; Lord, grant while time shall last, Thy church may hold it fast Throughout all generations. Amen.
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY PROGRAM
Bethel continues to be the ‘house of god’ for many persons. True, there have been several places for worship, and many have come and gone through the years, but the word of god which has found entrance to and has been permitted to mold hearts and souls has made us to be “god’s people, his church.” The mercy and direction god gives causes us to rejoice in both heritage and promise. In this truth we have the pertinent reason for gathering these days. From the promises god gives us regarding the glory of his kingdom, we anticipate joy unbounded after days on earth are over; but we do experience the goodness of god while living from, and upon the earth. The church is triumphant! God’s people will live forever!! Praise be to god!!!
L. Warren Hansen, Pastor
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HISTORY OF THE BETHEL CONGREGATION
“Take me back, take me back, Oh time in thy flight:” says the poet. The only way we can be taken back is to recall happenings of long ago and by studying old records. Many churches have had their trials and tribulations; so also has Bethel Lutheran Congregation. But God’s guidance has been asked and He in His love and understanding has led us far beyond our expectations. In 1910 Pastor B. A. Borrevik of Silverton came to Portland to organize a Lutheran Free Church. The first meetings were held in a hall at 15th and Alberta. Since another church was working in that area, a decision was made to move to Steuben Hall at Ivy and Williams Avenue, with Pastor Borrevik conducting meetings. Soon a Ladies Aid was started, as well as a Sunday School and choir. As the interest was keen and the work progressed, the need to organize n Lutheran Free Church was felt. A meeting was held at the Ole Stokkehome on July 22, 1911. At this meeting a Constitution was drafted, and Bethel Lutheran Church was started. Mr. August Olsen was elected secretary and Mr. M. Mattson was elected treasurer. Those in attendance at this meeting were Mr. John Oyen and family, Mr. August Olsen and children; Mrs. Mathilda Mattson and children; Mr. M. Mattson; Mrs. Louise Ottersen; Mrs. Lena Westby and children; Mr. and Mrs. Antone Buro and niece Leonora, nephew Edward; Mrs. Karoline Ostergaard; Mr. and Mrs. Gust Wold and children; Miss Dagney Saxhaug; Mr. Carl Knutson; and Mr. and Mrs. Ole Stokke, totaling fifteen voting members.The work moved forward with other ministers coming to preach. Since Pastor Borrevik was east during 1912, the people felt strongly that they should have a full- time pastor. During the time Pastor Borrevik was away, Pastor O. I. Raaum of Puget Island preached every other Sunday. He, too, felt the congregation should have its own minister. During Sundays in which neither Pastor Raaum nor Pastor Borrevik could be present, many of the laymen spoke. Mr. Alfred Johannson, in particular, was a capable speaker.
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At the annual meeting in January, 1912, a Young People’s Society was organized. About this same time, the need for a full-time pastor was felt, and the Mission Board of the Lutheran Free Church was contacted. The Board of Home Missions allowed $400 to Bethel; and on April 26, 1913, a call was sent to Pastor J. A. Stavney, who accepted the call. The meetings at Steuben Hall were discouraging since members often had to clear out beer bottles and other debris before the hall could be used for worship Sunday morning. On March 30, 1914, a meeting was called to choose a committee to investigate lot purchase for a chapel. A lot was chosen at Wygant and Rodney. Now more money was needed; and, at Pastor Stavney’s suggestion, many friends and pastors were asked for a gift of one dollar. The first two gifts were from Pastor Swensen and Pastor O. M. Anderson, both of whom had daughters who later served here as pastors’ wives. Mr. A. Johansen, father of Mrs. E. Raaum, and B. Saterbo, grandfather of Pastor E. Raaum, were also donors. Mr. John Oyen and Mr. O. Stokke were in charge of building the chapel. The new chapel was ready for its first meeting (Wake Night Service) in 1916, with a debt of only $63 for lumber and materials besides the price of the lot. The work continued in that chapel for eleven years, although the members had begun to feel they were not in the right location. Pastor Stavney resigned on September 11, 1916, although he continued to serve until November, 1917. Ac this time, Pastor Borrevik was asked to serve Bethel together with Silverton, which he did until he resigned in 1921. Pastor I. Tollefson, then an interne on the West Coast, served Bethel as pastor substitute, until a call was accepted by Pastor Leif Awes, returning from the mission field in Madagascar. He began his work in 1923.
In 1926 a surprise offer was made by a deaf and mute congregation to purchase the chapel for $3,800 cash; this offer was accepted. At this time meetings were held in a hall near Albina and Killingsworth. New plans went forward for another building site with John Oyen, John Johnson, and Otto Ottersen elected to serve on the Building Committee. Mr. Oyen and Mr. C. O. Strom located a lot at Denver Avenue and Jessup Street. The congregation agreed this was an ideal spot since many members lived in that vicinity. Pastor Awes resigned in May, 1926, but served until fall, having served faithfully for over three years. Plans for the new church were drawn by John Oyen and accepted by the congregation. Work began in October, 1926.
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Pastor Stowell was called and began his work in September, 1927. Between the intervening times, many of the laymen took charge of the services. It was during 1927, also, that the Men’s Brotherhood was formed. In the spring of 1928 the church was completed and immediately occupied. The dedication was on April 15, 1928, with Pastor E. E. Gymild giving the Dedicatory Sermon. Otto Ottersen reported at one of the business meetings that a cornerstone would be given to the church. The Altar picture was given by Albert Bruseth, John Skogmo, Pete Gunderson and Conrad Skogmo. The material for the altar was given by the Ladies Aid. John Oyen built the altar using his pocket knife as his carving tool. His son, Oscar, drew and designed the altar. The baptismal font was made by George Taege, Sr. and John Martinson. In June of 1928, Pastor Stowell resigned but continued to serve until fall. On Sunday, September 25, 1928, it was voted to use the English language at the morning services. In January of 1929, a call was extended to Martin J. Olson, then a student at Augsburg Seminary. He accepted and began his work in July. In January, 1930, at the annual meeting, Pastor Olson suggested the need for a committee to work on eliminating the church debt. The committee was called the Jubilee Committee with Mr. John Skogmo and Mr. August Olsen as its members. This proved a great boon toward retiring the church debt, as previously only interest payments were being met.
In May, 1934, Pastor Olson resigned, and a great loss was felt at his leaving. A call was accepted by Pastor Harold A. Johnson, and his installation was held on October 21, 1934. On June 14, 1936, the church observed its Silver Anniversary. On September 7, 1938, the resignation of Pastor Johnson was accepted. Again the church felt the loss of an ardent worker. On September 13, 1938, a call to serve Bethel Lutheran Church was accepted by Pastor Ernest Raaum of Bella Coola, B. C., Canada. He was installed on November 13, 1938. His topic for his first Sunday service was "Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due.” At this time the church debt was $2,050, and it was felt that the church should be self-supporting, receiving no further support from the Home Mission Board. The Jubilee Committee, now with additional members Ralph Kolden, B. Tristan, Elmer Larson, and church treasurers, was once again revived and full responsibility for clearing the church debt was given them and the pastor. This debt clearance forged ahead in a very encouraging way. The vision of all debt clearance was fulfilled, and on November 28, 1941, at its Thirtieth Anniversary, the mortgage was burned. All felt that their prayers had been answered to the fullest. The theme for the anniversary was “Builders of Bethel,” Genesis 28: 10-22. Friday night Pastor B. A. Borrevik spoke on “The Vision and Promise to the Builders.” Saturday afternoon there was a Norwegian sermon by Pastor J. A. Stavney. Saturday night Rev. M. Olson spoke on “This is Bethel, The House of God.” Pastor H. A. Johnson
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spoke to the Sunday School Sunday morning. Sunday morning Rev. Olson spoke on “Builders of Christ’s Kingdom.” Closing service in the evening included Pastor Johnson speaking on “Bethel’s Thanksgiving.”
On April 30, 1945, a committee was chosen to look into plans for building a parsonage. This committee was to work with the Building Committee. The need for a parsonage was very great, as during Pastor Raaum’s work he and his family had moved many times. At the July, 1945, quarterly meeting, Pastor Raaum resigned as pastor, having served Bethel for seven years. Again the congregation felt a great loss. Dr. T. O. Burntvedt met with the congregation in an advisory capacity in extending a letter of call to Pastor Albert Olson, who came in December, 1945. Meantime relief pastors and laymen conducted services. The work on the parsonage was moving along, and the church was re-shingled. As Pastor Olson was soon leaving for mission work in China, a letter of call was sent to Pastor Clarence A. Larson on December 30, 1945. Pastor Larson conducted his first business meeting at Bethel on April 8, 1946. He and his family occupied a defense house until the new parsonage was ready shortly thereafter. During this same year, much effort was put forth on the work started by Pastor Raaum in establishing a Lutheran Free Church at Russellville. The need for more Sunday School space was brought up by Mrs. Oscar Oyen, Sunday School Superintendent, at numerous business meetings. Consequently, much discussion took place as to the advisability of purchasing the property behind the church. On July 25, 1949, a special meeting was called to hear the proposition pertaining to the purchase of property east of the church for $5,000 cash. At another special meeting on September 19, 1949, the Church Council was empowered to arrange for a loan for the purchase of the eight-room house and two lots directly east of the church. On Tuesday, October 18, 1949, a special meeting of the Board of Trustees was called, at which time Elmer Haugen was authorized to serve as power of attorney in representing the congregation as a non-profit corporation, in its purchase of the house and two lots east of the church. In November, 1949, Pastor Larson resigned to accept Presidency of Oak Grove Lutheran High School at Fargo, North Dakota. Although the congregation felt that this was a fine opportunity, the members were sorry that he could not continue his good work at Bethel.
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In December, 1949, a decision was made to help provide food and shelter for a D. P. (displaced person) from Latvia, presently staying at the George Sites home. Fifteen dollars per week was allowed the Sites’ family for said D. P. In January, 1950, Mr. Will Gibson, City Auditor, and Wilbur J. Fallon, Assessor, granted exemption from taxes of newly acquired property east of the church, now being used for Sunday School rooms and termed the Parish House. At a special congregational meeting on February 5, 1950, a letter of call was submitted by the Call Committee to Pastor L. Warren Hansen. This call was accepted on May 28, 1950. At a special Council meeting on June 4, 1950, the decision was made to purchase the parsonage carpets and pads from Pastor Larson, which he had purchased and installed. Money for this project came from the parsonage fund. Between the time of Pastor Larson’s leaving and Pastor Hansen’s arrival, visiting pastors and laymen spoke at services. Down through the years during these interim periods, we especially remember Mr. Sigward Kolden and Mr. Russell Wilhelm for their services in this capacity. Pastor Lester Dahlen of Seattle was asked to conduct installation service of Pastor L. Warren Hansen in September, 1950. Bethel Lutheran Church observed its Fortieth Anniversary in conjunction with the Oregon Circuit Meeting November 2-4, 1951. Pastor Harold A. Johnson spoke at the 11 a.m. Anniversary service. On April 21, 1952, a proposed extension of church facilities was discussed. Elmer Haugen, John Oyen, and John Nasman, of the Building Extension Committee, were asked to present a tentative plan for the next regular meeting. At the January 12, 1953, annual meeting, Elmer Larson, General Chairman of the building program, made an oral report on his talks with two Salem architects concerning the drawing of workable plans for building extension. Several ideas on plans were discussed at following meetings. At the July 13, 1953, quarterly meeting of the congregation, Mr. Larson stated that plans for the addition to the church had been approved by the City Council. At the October 12, 1953, business meeting, Mr. Wilhelm made a motion that the congregation proceed with the building. This was seconded and a secret ballot taken. The motion was passed unanimously. At the annual meeting in January, 1954, it was announced that the Luther League had set a goal of $1,000 for its new League Room. Russell Wilhelm was asked to act as Financial Chairman for the new building, and Paul Stangeland was named Building Chairman. He, in turn, had as his committee John Oyen, John Nasman, John O. Johnson, and Martin Tokstad. The Brotherhood was to take charge of the heating plant; the Ladies Guild was to make suggestions for the new kitchen plans. The building plans moved forward rapidly with a kick-off rally, Elmer Larson acting as Master of Ceremonies. An inspirational talk was given by Pastor G. Rundstrom. Bow ties from imitation greenbacks were given to all members of the Finance Committee. Mr. Larson reported at the quarterly meeting in April that some over $14,000 had been pledged over a five-year period. Mr. Stangeland, reporting for the Building Committee, stated that the original plans were being revised to allow additional space. On July 11, 1954, a Ground Breaking Service and Smorgasbord Dinner were held, and the new Educational Unit Building was launched. The Russellville Church assisted in this service. At the October, 1954, business meeting, the Church Council recommended two factors: (1) That the congregation adopt a budget system to take care of the finances of the church, and (2) that the Council select a Budget Committee to prepare a budget to be presented to the congregation before the annual meeting in January. These recommendations were discussed and accepted with the thought that if the people were acquainted with what is needed, the money would be forth- coming and that, with the help of prayer, progress would be made. Mr. Stangeland reported the following estimates: $50,000 for finishing the first floor and basement (no brick work), with an additional $20,000 making the building usable (plumbing, wiring, heating system, etc.). An additional $10,000 would be needed to finish the second floor. John Nasman reported the possibility of an $11,000 loan on the parsonage.
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On June 12, 1955, at a special Council meeting, it was voted that the Board of Trustees (Ralph Kolden, Chairman) sign the contract with Mr. Teeple as the contractor for the building. This motion read: “That the Church Council be empowered to create an indebtedness not to exceed $25,000 for our new Building Fund.” This was unanimously passed by a standing vote of all members present. The loan with Equitable Savings and Loan Company was signed by the Trustees. Hundreds of hours of volunteer labor by members and friends contributed greatly to the progress of the building program. Their work was greatly appreciated. As the new building progressed, additional money was needed; and at the regular April, 1956, meeting, Paul Stangeland made a motion whereby an additional loan of $10,000 from Benjamin Franklin be authorized with mortgage on the church, two lots and building on Campbell Street. The motion was carried. At a special meeting of the congregation following the church service December 23, 1956, a motion was made to set up a plan for buying a Baldwin Organ. At the October 7, 1957, congregational meeting, a vote was taken by ballot on the Resolution regarding Merger. The vote was as follows: Yes 49; No 15. The Parish House served its purpose for a number of years, but in 1956, after the educational had been completed, it was razed by members of the congregation. This left room for a necessary parking lot, which was completed in the spring of 1961. The date of February 16, 1958, was chosen as the date for the dedication of the Baldwin Organ, and a service to acknowledge the many years of service of Mrs. Ralph Kolden as Organist. Mr. Waller prepared a scroll to be presented to Mrs. Kolden with a cash gift. Mrs. Phyllis Porterfield took over the duties of Organist. Numerous gifts were given by members and organizations to beautify the Sanctuary and educational unit. During October, 1959, new choir robes were purchased at a cost of $451. Special gifts of money toward this cost were given by members and organizations. The Choir, under the direction of Ray Snively, rendered a beautiful concert December 6, 1959, with proceeds being given to the robe fund. Mr. Snively’s leadership and fine work have meant much too each member of Bethel. At the Council meeting on June 21, 1960, the dates for this 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Bethel Lutheran Church were set for Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9, 1961. This was voted upon and accepted by the congregation.
PEACE BE TO THE HOUSE
And now be this temple consecrated to the Lord, to His
service and worship.
Blessed be these walls that shall resound with the
praise of the Lord!
Blessed be the place, from which the Gospel of Christ
shall be preached!
Blessed be the place, where the Lord through the
Sacrament of Baptism shall receive new members
into His kingdom!
Blessed be the altar, where the incense of prayer
shall be offered to the Lord, and where the
body and blood of Jesus Christ, once offered
for us, shall be distributed to His congregation!
Blessed be this house, that the turmoil and pollution
of the world may be far removed, and that the congregation
of the saints may here find shelter beneath the
shadow of God’s wings!
---From the Dedication Prayer
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BETHEL LUTHERAN SUNDAY SCHOOL
Bethel Lutheran Sunday School was organized at the Annual Meeting on January 20, 1912, with the following staff: Alfred Johanson, Superintendant, Mr. M. Mattson, Vice- Superintendant, Mr. A. Burro, Mr. A. Olsen and Miss Bertha Johanson, (present Mrs. Otto Ottersen) as teachers. The work was actually begun by Mr. Mattson in 1911, with approximately 15 pupils. The instruction was entirely in Norwegian until 1920, when some classes were changed to English. The enrollment did not exceed 25 until after the Congregation moved to its present location in 1928. The first Sunday School survey was made in 1930, after Pastor Martin Olson came. This added several children. The Sunday School continued to grow and it was felt a division should be made, as there were a number of small children at- tending regularly. A Beginner’s Department, age’s three to five, was started, with Mrs. Elmer Larson in charge. They met in the little “side room" off the main basement hall, but in a few years outgrew it and were then moved into the kitchen. Mrs. E. Raaum took over the Beginner’s Department. In a few years they again outgrew their quarters. In 1949, when Pastor Clarence Larson was here, the Congregation purchased, for a Parish House, the property adjoining the rear of the church. The Beginner’s Department was changed to the "Primary Department” which included the first graders, and this group was then moved to the Parish House, with Mrs. Ralph Thompson in charge and Mrs. George (Olga) Tangvald working with the three-year olds. With the building of the new Educational Unit, and remodeling of the old church, a definite children’s chapel and space was set aside for this group. The official opening of the Little Children’s Chapel was held on Nov. 4, 1956. Mrs. R. Thompson was in charge, with a staff of five teachers, four assistants and a pianist. The present enrollment in this department is over 60. The Second Graders have also been added to the Primary Department. The Intermediate Department has also increased in size during the years. It includes classes Three through Confirmation Class. The efficiency of our Sunday School teaching has greatly increased due to the institution of teacher training programs and improved materials and techniques. Visual Education, through pictures-both slides and moving-flannel graphs, etc., as well as handcraft and work projects done in the class room in conjunction with the lessons, have greatly benefited in helping the teacher put across to the student the understanding of God’s great love for his children and our salvation through His Son, Christ, crucified. With the building of the new Educational Unit, we are now able to have private rooms for each class, which has been a decided help in teaching. There are three Bible Classes-the High School Bible, the Young Adult Bible and the Senior Bible Classes. Each has its own opening session and Bible study class. There is a place for everyone in Sunday School, for the infants in the Nursery, to the elders in the Adult Bible Class.
General Superintendent: Mr. William Irgens
Primary Superintendent: Mrs. Ralph Thompson
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programs was in helping to establish the Russellville Sunday School (now Mt. Olivet) This mission work was started by Pastor E. Raaum and some of the members of Bethel. Our Sundav School furnished the teaching materials, and several of our teachers went out there with Pastor and Mrs. Raaum every Sunday afternoon to teach Sunday School in the Grange Hall. At their programs, our Sunday School furnished the Candy and treats, also. After the Mount Olivet Congregation was established and their church built, we continued for several years to aid them in this way, as well as loaning them our projectors, slides and anything they needed, until they became self-supporting. It was a great thrill for our School children to share in this mission program.
The first choir in Bethel Congregation met in the late Fall of 1911 at the Alfred Johanson home. It was under the leadership of Rev. B. A. Borrevik and Bertha Johanson (Mrs. Otto Ottersen) that the choir’s first anthem was rendered at Steuben Hall on Williams Avenue. This choir sang at various occasions during the pastorates of B. Borrevik, J. A. Stavney, and Leif Awes. After the Building Program was well underway, the choir initiated the drive for a new church organ. We started a collection of pennies, which was called “Choir Miles,” and, although we were the originators of the idea, the whole congregation backed the choir with their usual willing financial assistance. A committee was appointed to check into different organs, and after a thorough inspection, they recommended that the congregation purchase the Baldwin organ, as it was the nearest in sound to a pipe organ installation. The choir, and we feel the congregation as a whole, has been very pleased with the selection of this organ. Shortly after the purchase of the organ, the choir decided that their 25 year old robes should be replaced. We felt that black robes were not in keeping with the color in our new chancel. Therefore, after a committee had again checked all possibilities, we ordered iridescent burgundy robes. Together with the pastel rose collars, we feel the choir is now well-integrated with the color harmony in the chancel. Mrs. Ralph Kolden was accompanist for the choir from 1920 until 1947, at which time she went out to Russellville to help the then-forming congregation of Mt. Olivet, by being organist for their Sunday service. She was church organist for Bethel Lutheran until 1958, completing about 35 years of willing and faithful service to a very grateful congregation. Phyllis Porterfield, the present choir accompanist and church organist, took over Mrs. Kolden’s duties in each department following her retirement, is doing an outstanding service. The choir has had its part now in the worship services of Bethel Lutheran for fifty years. Although the choir membership is subject to change, the joy of singing, being of service, having fellowship with each other as well as with the congregation, and helping in the worship of God through song, has been the “tie that binds” throughout the choir’s years. All of us have felt it a privilege to have a part in the history of Bethel’s first fifty years, and we will be more than humbly happy to be a part of Bethel’s future.
YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIETY OR LUTHER LEAGUE
As early as 1920, our church formed a Young People’s Society. Because the membership was small, it was natural for whole families to attend, meeting in members’ homes. At each meeting a Christian program and a business meeting took place. Money collected was used to further the work of the church, at home and on a broader scale. As church and membership grew, we had what we called “Annual Conventions of the Young People’s Society” with other Lutheran Free Churches in the Oregon Circuit. This included Puget Island, Astoria, Silverton and Portland, each place taking its turn to invite and entertain in church and homes. The meetings usually began Thursday evening and ended Sunday evening with a call to give our lives to Jesus, Committees prepared splendid programs, including a guest speaker and many times a guest soloist. The business session was Saturday morning, at which time officers were elected and plans were made to improve our Christian life.
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In the 1920’s, a new type of service, "The Vesper Service,” was sponsored by the Young People’s Society. This program, which proved to be very popular, included topics and speakers from all churches and was held every Sunday night. Because other organizations were formed to include other members of the family, Luther League became primarily an organization for young people following their Confirmation. Whether as a Young People’s Society or a Luther League, the primary aim has been and should always be to lead our young to Christ’s way of life. Annual conventions continued through the years, and “Rallies” are now held three times a year. Churches included in the Circuit are Bethel and Mount Olivet, Portland; Astoria; Silverton; and Salem. A number of our Leaguers have been chosen as Circuit officers, and one has attended a Federation workshop in Minnesota. Activities which are held each year by the Luther League are the annual Birthday Party, Youth Sunday, Candlelight Service, and decorating of the Christmas Tree. A big project which the Leaguers have been working on for the past five years is the building of the Social or League room. The furnishings and work have been paid for and done by the Leaguers themselves, with only occasional help from some of their fathers. Many meetings are held each year, some social and some spiritual. The spiritual meetings usually include guest speakers, panel discussions, skits, Bible quizzes, or other interesting programs. Many ideas have been used for social meetings: Halloween parties, progressive dinners, decorating the Christmas tree, ice skating, roller skating, swimming parties and others. We hope that our League and the Circuit can become closer associated with the Federation and with Christian young people all over the world.
BETHEL LADIES GUILD
The Bethel Lutheran Ladies Aid was organized on December 2, 1910, when a small group met in the Steuben Hall on the corner of Williams Avenue and Ivy Street. Rev. B. A. Borrevik had arranged this eventful meeting, which took place the year before Bethel Lutheran congregation was organized. Pastors O. M. Bakke and M. Blessum were also present. Seven women became charter members: Mrs. C. Anderson, Mrs. A. Larson, Mrs. M. Mattson, Mrs. A. Olsen, Mrs. L. Ottersen, Mrs. T. Stokke, and Mrs. L. Westby. Only two of these women are now living: Mrs. Westby of California and Mrs. Steele (formerly Anderson), who is at present an honorary member of our Guild. The first officers became: President, Mrs. L. Ottersen, Vice-President, Mrs. M. Mattson; Secretary, Mrs. C. Anderson; Treasurer, Mrs. T. Stokke. For several years, the group met at the homes of the members. Testimonies and prayers by several, plus talks by the pastor (all in the Norwegian language), made these meetings inspiring. The ladies soon realized, however, that to be effective in the work of God’s Kingdom, they would need projects for raising money. They decided to have bazaars twice a year, for which each member made fancy handwork. Most of the income from these sales was sent to foreign and home missions, but a sum was also set aside towards the building of a church When the little church on the corner of Wygant and Rodney was built in 1917, the congregation had a large debt, and the Ladies Aid helped by paying the interest. Later, as the income increased, the Aid was also able to make payments on the debt. When Bethel congregation built its church at its present location in 1927, the first project of the Aid was to pay for the colored windows; they also purchased the carpet for the chancel. At this time the meetings were held in the church twice each month, and the programs gradually changed to the English language. Added to the bazaars were silver teas, strawberry and ice cream socials, name quilts, etc. After the kitchen was furnished with dishes and cooking equipment, a lutefisk dinner was held, and these dinners were continued each year until 1936 when more people came than could be served. A few years later it was decided to discontinue the dinners and rather to make donations of money.
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Spring and fall festivals were added to the group’s activities about this time, with inspiring programs, a freewill offering, and a social hour with refreshments in the lower auditorium. Although most of the funds were used as financial aid to Bethel, the mission interest continued. Mission boxes were distributed for the Women’s Missionary Federation of the Lutheran Free Church, and other mission contributions were made. The 40th anniversary of the Ladies Aid was a festive occasion in 1950. Since that time, many outstanding changes have taken place, the greatest being the addition of the educational unit and the remodeling of the church. This has provided an opportunity for the women to know the joy of giving financial help to Bethel’s Building Fund. During the past decade, more than $10,000 has been donated to this cause, and an additional $7,000 has been given to benevolences. The present officers are: Mrs. Elmer Haugen, president; Mrs. Loren Henderson, 1st vice-president; Mrs. John Berg, 2nd vice-president; Mrs. Russell Wilhelm, secretary; and Mrs. Magnus Stensrud, treasurer. It was recently agreed to change the name of the organization to “Bethel Ladies Guild.” This change will never alter the aim of the group to be an “aid” wherever possible. At its 50th Anniversary last November, we humbly thanked God for material and spiritual blessings, remembering the faithfulness of the members down through the years. Our theme for the evening was “Serve the Lord with gladness.” May this ever be the motto of Bethel Ladies Guild.
The idea of forming an evening group for the ladies of the congregation had been proposed and discussed by various persons over a period of time dating back to about 1953. On Sunday, February 10, 1957, the following announcement appeared in the Sunday bulletin "An organization for the women of our church who desire to meet in the evening is in the making. The first meeting will be held at Church on Tuesday evening, February 19, at 8:00 P.M.” A large group turned out for the first meeting. It was decided to meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. The first step of the group was to elect its officers. Mrs. Phyllis Porterfield was elected as the first president, Mrs. Georgia Dillon as vice-president, Mrs. Dorothy Grover as Secretary, and Mrs. Allen Ludviksen as Treasurer. Next a name had to be chosen for the organization. “Dorcas” Guild was decided upon from a number of suggestions as the ladies wanted the main theme of the organization to be of service to the Church -and our Lord. A few of *he projects undertaken the first year were to make draperies for the kindergarten room, have installed and temporarily pay the Church’s telephone bill, and help with some finishing on the Sunday School rooms. The second year, 1958, was the year Dorcas adopted their constitution. They also sewed garments for the Orphan Children of Lebanon, sold plates with the church picture, repaired hymn books, and helped with some of the church clerical work. A few of the undertakings in 1959 were the making of placemats for annual dinners, a few purchases for the kitchen and the selection and hanging of matchstick draperies in the Sunday School rooms. Also, the first of the receptions for new members of the congregation was held that year. By 1960, the third year for the Dorcas Guild, the pattern of events was well established. The first meeting of the month was designated for program and business meeting and held in the members’ home. The second meeting would be clerical work of the church or other services as they occurred. New projects taken on were the making up of the Church directory. printing of the church bulletins and help toward decorating of the Church parsonage. Dorcas Guild is really the neophyte of Bethel Lutheran’s organizations, but with the Lord’s help and blessing it will grow in spirit and numbers as well as years.
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BETHEL NURSERY GUILD
The Bethel Mothers’ Group was organized in the fall of 1948, and in 1958 the name was changed to Nursery Guild. Mothers of Sunday School children and Sunday School teachers were eligible to be members. The charter was later amended to include any mother interested in the purpose of the group. Olga Tangvald was the original founder along with Helen Lewis, Evelyn Ingebretson, Mildred Larson, Ruby Behrens, Sylvia Maust, Dena Larson, Herdis Anderson, and Agnes Oyen. This group was formed to fill a definite need in the church. Reasons given were: aid in making contacts for church; meetings could give much too each mother in inspiration and ideals; fills a need in purely social sense. The first officers were: President, Olga Tangvald; Vice-President, Helen Lewis; Secretary-Treasurer, Herdis Anderson. The meetings were held the first Monday of each month in the homes of members, with up to 25 persons present. The programs have consisted of speakers, articles read and discussed, films, flower demonstrations, songs and music. The group subscribes to the Christian Parent, has a library of five books, and owns a coffee maker. Dues have been $1.00 per year and collection taken at each meeting. The main continuing project has been to sponsor a nursery Sunday mornings for pre-school children during the church service. At first the parish house was used for the nursery, and the kitchen room and old League Lounge in the church basement were also used until the remodeling of the church. Since then the group has paid for the installation of ceiling and floor tile in the new nursery, bought paint and painted the walls, furnished and made drapes for windows in the nursery and two Sunday School rooms. There have been work nights for helping paint the main Sunday School room, and sanding and finishing of Sunday School benches. Also $114 was contributed to the Building Fund. The nursery has been stocked from time to time with toys, books, furnishings and cookies. A few Fireside programs have been given by the group. In 1950 a Christmas project was the sending of a package to the Martha and Mary Children’s Home in Poulsbo, Washington. In 1954 and 1955 the group helped sponsor the Mother- Daughter Banquet. In 1954 and 1955 the group actively supported the Junior Mission Band which met Saturday mornings in the church basement. The Cradle Roll has been a project of the Nursery Guild since September, 1957. In April, 1960, a morning party was given for pre-schoolers and their mothers. The Nursery Guild has supplied Vacation Bible School teachers the past two years. For the present project, members of the group have been making visitations to homes of Sunday School pupils, encouraging parents to attend Sunday services while their children are at Sunday School.
In 1941 the organization known as Young Peoples Society, which included all ages, was changed to Luther League, which includes young unmarried people only. It was felt at that time that an organization was needed for the young married couples, and, therefore, the Fellowship Group was formed under Pastor Raaum to meet this need. The purpose of this group is to study the Bible and to have fellowship with one another. A meeting is held once a month in different homes of the members. One or two picnics are usually held during the summer and a Christmas party during the holiday season. The Oscar Anderson home in Scappoose has been the scene of a 4th of July picnic each summer. Throughout a period of twenty years the purpose has remained the same although most of the young married couples are not now quite “so young." This is not a financial organization of any kind and collection is taken only to cover specific expenditures,
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The Men’s Brotherhood of the Bethel Lutheran Church was founded in 1927 with seventeen charter members, of these Otto Ottersen is the only surviving member; all of the others have passed on to be with the Lord. It is a trite saying, but true, that it is difficult to hold together a men’s organization in a church, but the Bethel Brotherhood was very active for a long period of years. The monthly meetings were held mostly in the homes of the members, with many fine programs being presented, such as speakers, moving pictures, and spiritual discussions, together with Christian fellowship and quite a number of exchange programs with other Lutheran Brotherhoods. The Brotherhood helped materially in reducing and finally cancelling the original debt on the church, and later it sponsored many fix-up’s and clean-up’s, as well as having bought materials and made the dining room tables. At one time the Father and Son Banquet was an annual affair, except one year the Brother- hood presented the ladies with a Mother-Daughter Banquet served by the men (oh, what an ordeal) enjoyed by all (we hope) It is with regret that the Brotherhood ceased to hold meetings in 1954, the last recorded minutes being October 22, 1954, thus ending a life span of about 27 years. This writer feels that a good active and well-attended Brotherhood should be as strong an arm of our church activities as is the Ladies Guild. It is the hope of this writer that some day the Brotherhood may be revived and again become a part of our church fellowship.
THANKS AND APPRECIATION
To God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son, and God, the Holy Spirit, for unlimited and continual blessings these first fifty years, we humbly give our thanks and adoration, and plead for continued blessings as we face the future with faith and humility. To the members and friends of Bethel Lutheran Free Church, who have freely given of their time and talents to make the observance of the Fiftieth Anniversary of our church and this booklet a reality, we express sincere thanks and appreciation. From records available, we have compiled a history of the life and growth of our church during the first fifty years. We apologize for any errors or omissions.
Pastor L. Warren Hansen
Myrtle A. Kolden, Anniversary Chairman
Bethel Lutheran Church Council
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