On July 27, 1887, a small group of Swedish pioneers to Templeton began worshiping in the living room of a local house. Amid small hotels, general stores, blacksmiths, and saloons, Bethel Lutheran Church was born. Not long afterward, ground broke for the sanctuary. The railroad would bring more intrepid settlers to the end of the line where in three short years, the building was completed. With bricks made from mud from the Salinas River, the altar and pulpit carved from redwood, a massive bell ringing for the neighborhood to this day, Bethel has gathered the faithful for over 130 years. Under the shade of heritage oaks, it has sheltered the joys and sorrows, struggles and wisdom of generations in this county.
Over its history on the Central Coast, Bethel has weathered economic crises, war rations, Spanish influenza, civil unrest, earthquakes, and drought. The resilience of the people and their reliance upon the God of grace has nurtured not just the people here, but all those connected to us. The church continues to thrive with the gifts of all its people in shared ministry: all who arrive here receive and give, offer and discover. We are the best of small church: vibrant, inter-generational, alive.
We look to prayer, a fresh hearing of God's Word, and the sharing of our Lord's presence at the Table....all to sustain our communal life together. We cherish our heritage and transform for the future in the joy of our service.
Photo Credits: Missy Schwartz and Reverend Amy Beveridge
Candles: In celebration of All Saints Day and in memory of all who came before us.