Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bethany Lutheran, Toledo - Home Sweet Home

Where better to start this than with my own home sweet home?

Bethany English Evangelical Lutheran Church, a mission of Glenwood Lutheran, was founded under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Alvin E. Bell, pastor of Glenwood. On Sunday, April 8, 1917, the congregation came into existence with 20 charter members, in the home of Mr. & Mrs. M.E. Wood on Fairfax. Descendants of the Wood family are still members of Bethany. The first church was a portable frame building that sat on Marne in the area where the parking lot now is.The cornerstone for the present simplified-Tudor style church, designed by architect Robert C. Gotwald of Springfield, Ohio, was laid on Sunday, June 19, 1927. The church was dedicated on September 11, 1927. The original building was used as an annex until 1948, at which time, thoroughly used up and worn out, it was sold and taken away – but the beautifully engraved old altar was saved, and is now used as a table for communion cup trays.
By the early 1950’s, the congregation had grown to the point where an addition was planned, which would double the size of the church. Additional property behind the church was purchased and ground was broken on August 2, 1953. The Robert E. Kayser Co. was contracted to build the addition, under the guidance of architect Charles L. Barber, a member of Bethany. The new addition, constructed almost seamlessly onto the rear of the church, was dedicated in May of 1954.
While there are only three windows in the sanctuary, they are striking. The large side windows, with their coats-of-arms symbolism, were inspired by English heraldic glass and feature various chrismons, as well as some marvelous swirled colors. The Good Shepherd window over the altar is simply splendid; in particular when the evening sun pours through it onto a fortunately-timed vesper service.During its history, Bethany has been served by 15 called pastors. Our current pastor is Rev. Jason Tyas. In 2006, we made the decision to twin (“yoke”) with Reformation Lutheran Church. We now share Pastor Tyas with them, and he does a remarkable job of serving both congregations.“Worshipping God as a growing community in Jesus Christ, committed to bringing the message of salvation to all through fellowship, education, and outreach.”

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