God said, Let
there be light" and so He created the sun, the moon, and the stars.
through the ages man has devised means of lighting his pathway. Especially
after homes and churches were built, did man desire other light than that
offered by the sun, moon, and stars.
has a rather interesting history on 'Light.' In the beginning coal oil
or kerosene lamps were used. These were hung from the ceiling on long chains
and could be moved up or down at will. An old fashioned lantern was used
outside the entrance door. A beautiful wrought iron chandelier, a gift
of the S. N. Sandstroms, was hung in the center of the auditorium. These
lamps served to light the way until in 1911 when gas or carbide lights
were installed. What a change! We wondered how we had ever been able to
read the scriptures and sing the hymns. But alas! Oft times we were tempted
to wish for the bygone days of the kerosene lamps. Light was produced from
a gas being formed when water came in contact with the carbide through
a mechanical process. The carbide was placed in cans and the cans lowered
into tanks of water. The gas formed was then piped all over the building.
again, in the midst of a sermon, a choir song, a voice or piano solo, the
lights went out. Then the sexton or some one familiar
with the tanks had to hurry
to the basement and replenish the carbide (empty out the old and refill
with a new supply.) causing delays of many minutes.
tank holding the carbide cans was installed in a room built for that purpose
in the southwest corner of the dining room. One evening when two of the
Luther League members prepared to light up the basement, a terrific explosion
occurred. Doors were blown shut, some windows shattered. Both the young
men were badly burned, complications setting in on one of them and later
causing his death. Then it was that the cave was built to house the gas
In due time,
about the year 1927, a 32 volt electric plant was installed. The wiring
of the church was done by some of the Luther League members. This plant
was used for about three years when it caused a near tragedy. It seems
the motor refused to run properly unless some one was at hand to turn the
wheels. One evening two of the men were working with it when one of them
complained of illness. lie started out of the cave stumbling as he went.
The second man followed and both fell as they reached the air, overcome
by gas. This plant was then replaced by a new one and moved into a building
above the ground where it served the church for several years.
In time the
32 volt plant having served its purpose, began causing trouble. Repairs
were hard to get and so in 1936 this was replaced by the R. E. A. (Rural
Electrification.) The R.E.A. has made it possible for the use of an electric
sweeper for the rugs, an electric stove for the kitchen and last but not
least, the beautiful Hammond Electric Organ. The chandelier, removed when
gas lights were installed, has been converted to electricity and rehung
in its familiar place in the Sanctuary.
Can it be
we have reached the peak? Perhaps at some future time our homes and churches
will be heated and lighted by Atomic Energy.
who are saved in Christ, "There shall be night no more; and they need no
light of lamp, neither light of sun; for the Lord God shall give them light:
and they shall reign for ever and ever." Revelation 22:5.
- in 1880 the communicant fee
was $6.00 for men and $4.00 for women and at the end of the year there
was $15.53 in the Treasury?
- Nicholas Lindblad was elected
church sexton at a salary of $5.00 a year?
- Fredena Carlson has been Sunday
School Treasurer for 15 years?
- in 1888 one dollar was charged
for all non members to be buried in Bethel cemetery?
- in 1890 the Pastor's salary
was $400.00, 150 bushels of corn, hay enough for one horse and one cow
and free house rent?
- the first church clock was
bought in 1890?
- Mildred Lundell Leonard started
the first English Sunday School class in the year 1917?
- in 1918 on motion at the Annual
Meeting it was decided the entire Sunday School be conducted in the English
- the first trees on the church
yard were planted by Nicholas Lindblad?
- the Church bell weighs (1200)
pounds and cost $251.76?
- Mrs. George Lundell with the
exception of one year has been organist for 24 years?
Return to Bethel Lutheran
Church History TOC
Revised 2 Sept 1999