Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church formed to educate children and minister to the growing population in Dayton’s Bluff. Bethlehem has provided the east side of St Paul with mission and ministry ever since the congregation received the property at Forest and Margaret streets in 1887. Immediately, they decided to become members of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States. Some descendants of the founding members still hold membership in the congregation.
The rich and diverse heritage of Bethlehem is similar to the Dayton’s Bluff area itself. In the early years of the church, services were primarily conducted in German. English services were added in 1903. In 1937, English became the main language for all the services.
The present church building was completed in 1915. It was designed by Emmanuel L. Masqueray, a native French architect, whose ecclesiastical projects include St. Paul’s Church on the Hill, and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church is listed in the 1964 edition of “Historic St. Paul Buildings.” The Parish house adjoining the church was completed in 1957. Both East St. Paul Lutheran School (ESPL) and Lutheran High School were formed at Bethlehem. East St. Paul Lutheran School was located at Eastern Heights Lutheran Church, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, and Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The East St Paul Lutheran School closed in 2009. Lutheran High School is now Concordia Academy and is located in Roseville, MN. The Parish house has been the home for all educational activities since 1959 and also houses the Bethlehem church offices.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church has a long history of dedicated pastors that have served both the congregation and community. The Reverend Robert H. Krueger, served the longest (1981 – 2010). He loved teaching the New Member classes in the fall and spring. The Rev Douglas Wanderer served Bethlehem Lutheran Church as Pastor until his retirement in Summer of 2022. Rev. Peter Preuss currently serves as vacancy pastor.
Come and joins us in worship and Bible study.
The history of Bethlehem continues to play out. Thanks be to God!