All are invited to worship at Bethlehem on Sundays at 9:30 AM.
Worship is currently available online on Bethlehem's Facebook Page. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the services.
Our mission is to be Strong in Faith. Boundless in Love. Bold in Service.
Bethlehem is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, rooted in the Beverly -Morgan Park neighborhood on Chicago's far southwest side. Born through the consolidation of two congregations in 1997, we have a history that extends back to the foundation of our predecessor congregations in 1977 and 1875.
Today we thrive as a flexible, mission-spirited congregation that seeks to put our faith into practice in daily life. Bethlehem values hospitality and genuine care for others. Our worship is at once reverent and comfortable. We value strong preaching that connects the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our lives and world. We read the Bible as God's good news for all.
We value the gifts of people of all ages -- children, elders, young adults, and every stage in between. We strive to be a community that knows how to talk together about important topics in ways that are respectful of all. Bethlehem is a Reconciling in Christ congregation. We welcome into full participation in our life and ministry
The best way to get to know us is to come and see!
Important Worship Service Information:
As we suspend in-person events due to the Covid-19 outbreak, please check for recorded and live streamed worship events on Bethlehem's Facebook page. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the services.
Dear Bethlehem Members and Friends,
In light of the CDC’s recent recommendations regarding gatherings of people in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, Bethlehem’s Congregation Council has made the difficult decision to suspend all in-person events in our building now through April 5 (Palm Sunday). This applies to all worship services and to all other church and community events that use our building. The building will only be open to staff.
The CDC recommends that gatherings of over 50 people be suspended for the next eight weeks. While we have not yet made a decision regarding our congregation’s Holy Week worship, we must prepare for the possibility that we will be marking these important holy days very differently this year. Yet, I promise that whatever day we are able to gather together for worship, we will be proclaiming the good news of resurrection!
I want to emphasize that while our building will be closed, our congregation and our ministry remain very much open and active. During this time, we will be putting content online, as well as providing opportunities to study and pray together through the internet and phone. Wednesday nights at 7 PM and Sundays at 9:30 AM, you will find a message and other opportunities to worship “together” through Facebook. The Lenten small groups all will move to an online format. Bethlehem’s staff will be updating our social media with content to guide you spiritually through this difficult time. If you are interested in setting up a prayer circle that meets by phone or have other ideas for how we can spiritually support you, please email or call Pastor Jennie (firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-445-7558).
In addition to providing opportunities to worship, study, and pray together, we will continue to reach out to our neighbors, as well as those on the margins. We are delivering food to the food pantry, calling members to assure that everyone has the supplies they need for the possibility of a two-week confinement, and making pastoral phone calls to those who are hospitalized or otherwise in need. You are encouraged to check in with one another, check in with neighbors who might need a hand with grocery shopping or sharing supplies. If you or someone you know is in need of help picking up medications and supplies or have other needs during this time, please do not hesitate to contact Pastor Jennie or Susan Evans in the church office (773-445-7558).
We also can continue our advocacy work, calling on our representatives to approve emergency aid packages that benefit workers, health care providers, the vulnerable, and those already living on the edge (see the ELCA’s advocacy page for an action you can take today.) Let’s look for ways to support local businesses that are impacted by this stoppage. And we will be in touch with local services for those who are homeless for practical ways we can help that already vulnerable population.
This is not the last you will hear from us in the coming weeks. But please know that you continue in our prayers as each of us navigates the many challenges that are to come from these “interesting times.” We welcome your prayers as we face unprecedented decisions and challenges. And perhaps we all do well to heed the words of Jesus, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34). We turn to God in these times of worry and uncertainty, trusting in God’s abundant love and steadfast mercy.
Pastor Jennie and the Congregation Council
Thrivent Choice Dollars
Thrivent Choice Dollars reminder: you can still direct 2019 Choice Dollars before the deadline at the end of the month. Designation of eligible organizations (including Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church) to receive charitable contributions based on 2019 premiums and contract values must be made by March 31, 2020. To do so, or for questions about the program, call Thrivent Financial at 800-847-4836 or log in online to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice and click the “Get Started” link to begin. If you have any questions about directing Choice Dollars you can contact our Member Connection Center at 1-800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” at the prompt. It’s an easy way to help our congregation.
It's time to get ready for summer! We invite all kids who will be entering grades 1 - 6 in the fall to attend Peace Camp. This year's theme is "Come Together." Peace Camp will be held June 29 - July 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The cost is $50 per child. Peace Camp is a wonderful opportunity for children to have fun, make friends, and learn how to be peace makers in God's world. The four days of camp will include yoga, art, time in nature, lessons on non-violent conflict resolution, daily peace circles, and more! Registration opens in early April. Have questions or want to help with Peace Camp? Talk to Linda Bond (email@example.com) or Pastor Jennie.
Bethlehem has scholarship funds available to members who will be full time undergraduate college/university students in the 2020-2021 academic years. The guidelines can be found here 2020_Scholarship_WOV.pdf here and the application form can be found at https://form.jotform.com/90841428249. The deadline for application is April 19.
Men's Discussion Group
Join the Men’s Discussion Group every Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. at Markland Hubbard located at 1739 W. 99th Street. Join them for fellowship, conversation, coffee and sweet treats.
Click here for this month's calendar.
Pastor Jennie began her ministry at Bethlehem in 2008. She is a passionate preacher, a committed teacher, and loves watching people use their God-given gifts at Bethlehem and in the world. A native of the northwest side of Chicago, she enjoys living in Beverly with her husband and their young daughter. She served her first call in Grand Forks, North Dakota, for almost 7 years. She is a graduate of Luther Seminary (M.Div.) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (Th.M. in Old Testament), as well as Gustavus Adolphus College. She enjoys gardening, reading, running, live music, and spending time with family and friends.
Contact Pastor Jennie at Pastor@bethlehem-chicago.org
DIRECTOR OF MUSIC
David has served as Bethlehem's organist since 2011. In 2013 he
became the Director of Music. David seeks to enhance the congregation's worship
experience each week through music. Working with the Pastor and the worship
committee, he selects hymns and songs from a variety of different traditions
and cultures. He directs the choir, which not only provides a musical offering
most weeks, but also helps to lead the assembly’s singing and worship. He enjoys
working with other musicians in the congregation whenever possible.
David is a lifelong Lutheran with 45 years of experience as a church musician. He has served congregations of various denominations in the Midwest and southeast and is a graduate of Indiana University (MMus) and Valparaiso University. He is also a full time CPA and enjoys singing in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago.
Susan Evans has worked as Bethlehem's faithful office manager nearly since the start of the consolidated congregation. Hers is the friendly voice you hear when you call the church office. She manages the congregation's communication via the weekly worship bulletin, monthly newsletter, regular email blasts and more. She keeps everything at Bethlehem running smoothly.
Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org
We're glad you found us! Below are some questions we often get from visitors and newcomers, along with our responses. If you have other questions or need information you cannot find on our site, please call or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you and hope to see you soon!
Do I have to be a Lutheran to attend services?
Nope. We welcome visitors from all faith backgrounds, as well as visitors who don't currently subscribe to any particular religious faith and just want to hear and know more about the Christian faith. Even our members come from very diverse religious (and non-religious) backgrounds.
How should I dress for Sunday services?
Be yourself – be comfortable. You will see worshipers in anything from jeans to their "Sunday Best".
Should visitors or newcomers participate in communion?
It is up to each individual worshiper. We practice open communion every Sunday, welcoming all who believe in Jesus to join in communion at the Lord's table. This includes welcoming children of all ages at the table.
Am I expected to put something in the offering plate?
We do not expect visitors to contribute an offering. Offerings are given of free will and are not considered payment for attending services.
Can I bring small children to Sunday services?
Please do! Many families with small children regularly worship together in the sanctuary during Sunday services. If you prefer, children 4 and under may spend service time comfortable and well-supervised in the nursery. Little ones typically return for the Children's Sermon and join their parents for communion. The nursery is attended during the service and is available to you and your child at any time.
I have many questions about religion and what spiritual path is right for me. How do I find answers to these questions?
Questions and the discourse they provoke are important parts of helping each of us define who we are and what choices to make. Our Pastor would welcome your call or email to discuss your questions and offer spiritual guidance. Click on the "Contact Us" section of this site for Pastor Jennie's contact information. You may also find that attending services and joining one of our small discussion/study groups will bring the clarity you seek. Whether it's one-on-one with our Pastor, within a small group, or just between you and God...keep asking those questions!
Click here for Mapquest Driving Directions to help you find your way from home to our neighborhood. Please use our driving directions below and refer to the dashed red lines on the map to the right for the most direct route to the church once you are in the neighborhood. Our directions (and map) consider one way streets, dead ends and traffic barriers which mapquest does not.
Most Direct Route
From Western Avenue: East on 91st St., then right (south) on Oakley Ave. 3 blocks to the church which is on the south east corner of 94th and Oakley.
Street parking is permitted without restriction in our neighborhood.
Our building is handicap accessible. A wheelchair ramp is located at the Oakley worship entrance.