E:\PROGRA~2\CAERE\OMNIPA~1\DATA\BLC75DYK.htm     God said, Let there be light" and so He created the sun, the moon, and the stars.
    All down 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.
    Bethel church 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.
    Time and 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.
    This large 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 plant.
    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.
    For those 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.

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Revised 2 Sept 1999