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
- People of all races and ethnic groups
- Families of every kind
- People with differing abilities
- People of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions
The best way to get to know us is to come and see!
Please see the Events Page for coming events.
From the Transition Committee:
Update - February 18, 2021
I am writing to provide you with an update from the Transition Team which has been closely monitoring the ongoing COVID pandemic over the past eleven months. As you may recall, we resumed in-person worship for Reformation Sunday last October--and spiking positivity rates and hospitalizations forced us to suspend in-person worship the very next week.
We are excited to report that we have finally returned to the same low positivity and hospitalization rates that allowed us to briefly resume in-person worship in the fall, and if the numbers stay low we are ready to welcome back those of you who wish to worship in person on Sunday, February 28th. Now to reiterate what we told you in the fall, please keep in mind that things are not returning to "normal." In-person attendance will be capped at 40 worshipers. You will have to register online beforehand if you wish to attend. You will have to remain masked and socially distanced. There will be no singing, and there will be no in-person fellowship beforehand or afterward.
For those of you who would rather continue to attend virtually, we wish to reassure you that our online services will continue to be available via Facebook. We do not want anybody to feel pressured to attend in person, and we would not resume in-person worship if it were at the expense of our members who would prefer to worship with us virtually.
Finally, we realize that despite the encouraging numbers right now, this pandemic is by no means over, and we will not hesitate to suspend in-person service if we feel that it is no longer safe to do so. With that in mind, we would like to share our requirements for both resuming in-person worship and subsequently suspending it if necessary. Once Chicago's 7-day averaged positivity rates drop below 4.5% (which they already have, thankfully) we will resume in-person worship after two weeks so long as the numbers don't rise back above 4.5% for two or more consecutive days. And once we resume in-person worship, we will continue unless the positivity rate exceeds 5.5% by the Thursday before worship--this way we can inform everybody in the Thursday weekly email if in-person worship will be suspended for Sunday. We're happy to discuss these metrics further if you like, but rest assured we'll be tracking them so you don't have to.
We thank you for your patience throughout the past year. The members of the Transition Team have been trying our best to balance our desire to return to the sanctuary with our obligation to keep both our members and the community safe. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to call (312-316-3326) or email (email@example.com). We look forward to seeing you soon, whether it's in two weeks or next year.
Transition Team Chair
Bethlehem’s online worship service will continue with a live stream. To make viewing the service easier, follow these instructions. These apply to those who are members of Facebook. Those who are not members should be able to go to our page at 9:30 and view the live video.
- Go to Bethlehem’s page. Please be sure you “like” the page. Click the button with three dots. Select “follow settings”. Under “Notifications” choose either “standard” or “highlights.
- Before Sunday, look for the scheduled live video post on Bethlehem’s Facebook page. Click “Get reminder” on the post.
- When Bethlehem goes live you should receive a notification that will take you immediately to the live stream video.
All live stream videos will be able to be accessed after they are completed. Go to the “live” tab on our Facebook page to access all past videos. Live streaming will also continue after we have returned to in-person worship.
Call in worship: Do you know someone who wants to participate in our worship but does not have access to a computer or other streaming device? We have set up a live streaming phone number: 773-932-5545.
People can call the number and listen to the entire service both in real time (at 9:30 Sunday mornings) or after the service is over. People can opt in to have the service call them when worship is starting! Please share this information with friends who might be feeling particularly isolated without internet access at this time.
Members who normally contribute to our budget are encouraged to please continue to do so either by mailing a check to the church office or by making an on-line contribution. Detailed instructions on how to do this, follow below.
At the upper right corner of the home page is the word Donate. Click that and scroll down on the next page to the words MAKE A DONATION and click that. Scroll down again and it leads to a series of blue boxes with a range of amounts from $10 to $500 or a box where you can type in your own amount. Click one of these boxes and you are given a credit card option where you can type in your name, card number, expiration date, and CVV2 ( the security number from the back of your card), and your billing information (the envelope number is optional). Finally click the blue option that reads Make a Donation.
You may also see a tutorial video on on-line giving by clicking this link.
For more information about upcoming events, please see the Events page..
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.