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Bethesda Governing Documents

Our Story is God’s Story

God has a plan, and God uses us to execute that plan. As part of the Body of Christ, God calls us and empowers us to serve. We are God’s hands and feet in the world. We at Bethesda have been blessed to serve God for over 110 years here in Ames and across the world. Our journey began in some ways in towns in Norway, and continues today in towns in Tanzania. This is our story, God’s story.

Bethesda Lutheran Church shares a history with many congregations in America–we began as an immigrant church. As the United States was growing during the early 20th century people arrived in America with great hope and deep faith. The congregations that were founded in the early 1900’s looked and sounded like the congregations from the homeland, and Bethesda’s founders were mostly Norwegian. In 1905, the first constitution was adopted. Services and Sunday School were conducted in Norwegian until 1923. In 1928, Bethesda purchased property and built the first sanctuary at Kellogg and 7th Street in Ames, Iowa.

As the congregation grew, the need for a larger campus became clear. Property was purchased for the current site at Northwestern and 16th Street in 1961. Since the dedication of our current facility, Bethesda Lutheran Church has continued to lead the community of Ames in providing for the needs of God’s people by helping to establish the Beloit Children’s Home, the Lutheran Campus Center at Iowa State University, and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. We have partnered with other congregations in the area to provide assistance through the Good Neighbor and Home for Awhile programs. At our campus on Northwestern Avenue, we provide a variety of worship and education experiences, Food Pantry, Clothing Closet, reading and tutoring services, and ample space for other community organizations to gather.

In 2011 Bethesda led the stewardship way in the Ames community by installing a geothermal heating and cooling system that leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than our previous boiler. We did not embark on that project only to save on energy costs, but to save energy for future generations. We desire to hand down what was handed to us by our ancestors: a hope for the future and a deep faith in Christ.

Bethesda was awarded the Story County Outstanding Business Philanthropist Award in 2014, thanks to a nomination by Lutheran Services of Iowa~Beloit Campus. Our church, community and global ministries are the life-work of Bethesda. We are proud to serve on the Story County Alliance for Philanthropy to continue local awareness and acknowledgement of service efforts in our region.

In November 2014 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of that faith-guided decision back in 1964 to build a new church location . . . and NOW we further commit to serving God for the next 50 years and beyond. All are welcome, and we invite you to worship and serve with Bethesda Lutheran Church.