The first Swede to come to this city worked as a housemaid for a family who moved from Chicago to LaPorte in 1853. In 1854, 3 Swedes arrived from Marshall County. They had been working without pay for 7 months on the railroad and decided to settle Door Prairie. Religious services were held in the homes until the Swedish Lutheran Church was built in 1857 on D St. The congregation built the present church in 1883. English was adopted as the official language in the early 1900’s and the church became known as the Bethany Lutheran. Carmel Chapel on Forrester Road was an extension of the church and served the Swedish immigrants who had settled in the hills of that area.
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was
that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.
What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.
The basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:
- We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do;
- Our salvation is through faith alone — a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life and salvation; and
- The Bible is the norm for faith and life — the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
Bethany’s mission is reach lost and spiritually displaced people for God’s Kingdom and grow with them into fully devoted followers of Jesus.
We are a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church or America. When it comes to the church, we believe in the importance of People first, then Programs, and then Property.
We’ve given you a glimpse of our History, we’d rather you come and join in being a part of our future.