(First printed by the Odebolt Chronicle in 1938)
Swedish Settlers Organized Bethel Lutheran Church in ‘75
Seventeen Different Pastors Have Served in 52 Years

A group of early Swedish settlers first met for worship in an old schoolhouse one mile east of Kiron in the territory that is now known as “Old Kiron”. Under the leadership of the Rev. J. Telleen of Des Moines they held their first service. These first Swedish settlers came to the community in 1867 and at that time they were called “Separatists”, having separated from the Church of Sweden. They organized the first Swedish Baptist church in 1868. A theological student by the name of Joseph Swenson was the first one stationed here to preach.

In 1875, the present Bethel Lutheran congregation was organized with 25 charter members. Six other were admitted later in the year, making a total of 31.

A. P. Lindblad, who served for 30 years as a deacon in the church, arrived in 1874. After working hard on his farm through the week, he often would fill the pulpit on Sunday and preach a wonderful sermon.

Traveling Difficult

From its organization until 1881, the congregation was served by pastors of the conference who were close enough to get here, but in those days the roads were poor and the traveling very difficult.

Meetings were held six months in the schoolhouse in Old Kiron and the other six months in the schoolhouse two miles north in Sac county. The building of the church was begun in 1879, but for some reason it was not completed until two years later. For this reason it was not dedicated until it was remodeled in 1888.

Later Pastors

The Rev. P. A. Philgren accepted a call and came during the years of 1881 to 1886. After the Rev. Mr. Philgren resigned in 1886, he was followed by the Rev. S. J. Siljegren, who passed away in 1890. The Rev. A. M. Broleen of Pomeroy came next. He served the church in Odebolt also. Following his resignation in 1898, a theological student, Jules Mauritzson, was the next to serve the church. In 1903, he was called by his Alma Mater to act as spiritual advisor and teacher in the college. From the years of 1903 to 1906, the congregation was under the guidance of the Rev. J. A. Benander, who was called to a larger congregation in Aurora, Illinois and later went to Rockford. The Rev. E. C. Jessup served during the years 1906 - 1907. The Rev. J. A. Christenson came and was with the church for the next eight years. In the spring of 1916, he and his family moved to Newman Grove, Nebraska.

A theological student, J. A. Martin, came during the summer of 1915. In the fall a call was issued to the Rev. N. E. Glad of Council Bluffs, who served both in Odebolt and in Bethel. He remained in charge until 1926. Since that time the following ministers have served: Rev. Harry Lindberg, 1927 - 30; Rev. Anton Linden, 1930 - 33; Rev. G. Dagner, 1935; Rev. Herbert Johnson, 1935 to the present.

At the present time the membership consists of 158 adult members and 37 children.

 Return to Bethel Lutheran Church History TOC

Revised 2 Sept 1999