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The Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1908-1994.  

Vernon Beck converted this document to Word format and forwarded it for posting at the site. Thank you Vernon! View Pictures | Download Word Document

The author of this document was Mrs. Lilli Varga (~1923-1993), who, for unknown reasons, chose not to list her authorship.


This paper is intended to be a thoroughly researched, but brief history of the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown, Connecticut, from its founding in 1908, to the present time. It will be an attempt to cover the actual organization of the church and the various societies within its structure. A description of the Sunday School and its function will also be included.

Although the Danbury, Connecticut Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church has had close ties with the Georgetown church and finally merged with it in 1955, Trinity Church will not be included except as it interrelated with the Georgetown congregation.

The church owes much to its spiritual leaders and the dedicated people who founded the church and worked over the years to support it and improve it, also to help it to grow, These aspects, too, will be covered as competently as possible.


A hearty group of Swedish speaking immigrants to the United States from the Russian dominated islands of Aland, Finland came together in the small community of Georgetown, Connecticut, in the district of Redding in Fairfield County, to found the Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Although their political background had been varied because of military acquisitions and treaties, their cultural heritage was firmly Swedish.

Of the fifty-two charter members, (See Appendix I) only two came from Sweden, itself. The largest two sub-groups came from Sund and Saltvik in Aland. They arrived in America during the late 1890's and early 1900's, One of the earliest emigrants a Mrs. Anna Olivio Johnson Leiberg from Sweden, came in 1882, but she lived in Brooklyn, New York, until 1906. This group, far from its native land, yearned for a religious organization similar to the one they had known from childhood. Meetings were held in the private homes of interested Lutherans from time to time, and visits were made by pastors from the Seaman's Mission in Brooklyn, New York, on an infrequent basis.

Charles H. Gustafson and John Carlson were asked to go to the Finnish-Lutheran Seaman's Mission Church in Brooklyn, New York, to try to arrange for a minister to come to Georgetown to conduct religious services. Also, a member of the community was ill and desired to receive Holy Communion from a Lutheran pastor.

This momentous visit appears to be the initiating step out of which was to grow a strong and well supported Church, Pastor Torsten Hohenthal, of the Brooklyn Seaman's Mission, visited Georgetown regularly and encouraged the group to form a Mission Society.

On January 20, 1908, the people met formally and under Pastor Hohenthal's ,guidance organized as the "Finska Sjomansmissionsforeningen" (Finnish Seaman's Mission Society). Officers were chosen with Charles (Karl) Gustafson, George Anderson, Johan Karlson, Karl Johnson, August and Fred Sundquist filling the first slate. Mrs. Alma Ronnholm, Mrs. Hulda Nordlund, August Johnson and a Mrs. Englund were selected as leaders for the singing. Arrangements were made with Pastor Hohenthal to hold regular prayer meetings. He was also to buy the organizational materials such as a secretary's book, a treasurer's book, membership cards and other sundries.

The front room (living room) in the home of Mrs. Edla Petterson was rented at a cost of three dollars a month as a meeting place for religious services and business meetings.

After several enthusiastic gatherings, Pastor Hohenthal, in June of 1908, encouraged the society to form a full fledged church in affiliation with the Augustana Synod of the Lutheran Church. The Reverend Doctor Gustaf Nelsenius, President of the New York Conference which had jurisdiction of the churches in New England at the time, expedited the organizational details.

On July 7, 1908, a special meeting was held and the Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Bethlehem Church formally came into being. Officers and deacons were elected. Dues of fifty cents per man and twenty-five cents per woman per month were agreed upon. The fifty-two adults who became members on this specific day were considered to be the charter members.

Church leaders present on this inspirational occasion were Doctor Nelsenius, Pastor Hohenthal, the Reverend Doctor Peter Froeberg and John L. Benson, a divinity student from Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey, who had been engaged to conduct religious services for the newly formed congregation.


With their new church formally established, the energetic congregation proceeded with the writing of a constitution which would govern all functions of the church, religious and business, The duties of Deacons, The Board of Trustees, the minister and other officers were specifically categorized. Moreover, it delineated the moral values the members considered paramount.

The group, on August 1, 1908, made practical arrangements to house their new congregation. It was voted that a building lot should be purchased for seventy-five dollars. By September 2, 1908, this deed had been accomplished and the new communicants owned a quarter of an acre, for the seventy-five dollars, on Portland Avenue in Redding, Connecticut. One interesting stipulation in the deed gives the northwest boundary as a small oak tree.

The land was obtained from David E. and Mary E, Smith, who were large landholders in that district. The church members decided to ask Reverend Froeberg of Bridgeport, to serve as vice-pastor in order to have an ordained minister officiate at the Holy Sacraments.

To enable them to meet their financial obligations, many and varied projects were carried out. Besides the regular donations and collections of the membership, a public canvass for the building fund was begun, $279.81 was raised from non-members in the community and $269.00 from the congregation. A continuing effort was the coffee and cake sold at all meetings by the young women who had organized as a Sewing Society. The ladies also arranged lawn socials, basket suppers and auctions. Suppers were packed in baskets and auctioned off to the men. Whoever made the highest bid on an individual basket, paid for the supper and shared it with the young lady who had furnished the meal. Of course, no one was supposed to know who the feminine donor was, but this was probably the most poorly kept secret in the congregation, Some spirited and profitable bargaining went on especially if two young men were rivals for the same girl.

The fledgling church group, ambitiously working toward their goal, contracted with Mr. Michael Connery to build their church. Mr. Connery and his brother, James, owned a general store in Georgetown and provided almost anything one needed from materials to construct a church, to grain to feed a horse. Research into the church treasurer's book showed amounts paid to Connery Brothers for lanterns, oil to run them, construction materials and also payment on the principal and interest of a loan the congregation obtained from "Mike" Connery in 1909. The parish members borrowed $1000 at 5% interest, in January of 1909. As collateral they handed over to Mr. Connery, on a Mortgage Deed, the ownership of the land and the newly constructed church.

Before this time, however, as the church had been completed, the congregation gathered together for its first service in their new building on November 28, 1908. Holy Communion and dedication ceremonies were celebrated that day. Among the celebrants were Doctor Nelsenius, Doctor H. L. Beck, President of Upsala College, Pastor Froeberg and Reverends Hohentha1 and A. J. Ostlin. A student from Upsala College, Carl Lund, played the musical renditions to "everyone's satisfaction" on the organ which had been purchased and installed for the triumphant occasion. What a remarkable achievement in such a short time. Truly, these people were inspired.

To further consolidate their position, the congregation voted to become a corporation, On January 18, 1909, they filed a Certificate of Organization in Hartford, Connecticut, as a Corporation Without Capital. In July of 1913, after four and one half years of zealously raising money and judiciously making payments of principal and interest, the congregation was able to completely pay off their debt to Mr. Connery and again the land and building belonged to them.

It is interesting to note, also, the financial arrangements the members had with the ministers and the people in other paid positions. The student pastor was paid ten dollars a month for weekend services. Travelling expenses, room and board were also reimbursed. Members of the congregation would house and feed him for a reasonable sum. Visiting ministers had transportation, room and board, if needed, compensated for by the parishioners. The monetary collection from the service of the day was usually given to the minister who officiated at special ceremonies such as Holy Communion.

One weekly collection every three months was paid to Gustaf Johnson who was engaged as the organist in 1908 and was to continue in that position for about forty years. As the collections varied, so did the pay until 1912, when thirty-six dollars was set as the organist's annual salary and was raised to fifty dollars a year in 1916, with a drop to twenty-five dollars during the 1930's, the stipend was again upped to fifty dollars, and in 1949, was still at that level.


The adult communicants followed the established Lutheran religious services under the spiritual guidance of Doctor Peter Froeberg and the student pastor, John L. Benson. They were, however, naturally concerned about the religious instruction of their children and immediately proceeded to organize a Sunday School, At the first annual meeting of the church members in 1909, Mr. Karl Gustafson was selected to begin a Sunday School as soon as possible. Beginning on Sunday, February 28, 1909, with nine children and three teachers, (see author's note) the year ended with ten pupils and four instructors, not counting the Bible Class which started at the same time. Mr. John Rosendahl became the assistant superintendent and also served as a teacher. Later he became superintendent and gave long and faithful service until he resigned the positions in the late 1930's, but he remained an industrious worker for the Church for a good many years after that. Shortly after the origin of the Sunday School, Miss Esther Johnson and Mr. Alfred Karlson were voted in as additional teachers.

A. Hjalmar Letzler, a student from Upsala College, was nominated to act as Bible Class instructor and financial records of the church show he taught one and a half years.

In the Confirmation Class, only two young people, Estelle and Eric Liedberg, were old enough to join and they were confirmed on April 29, 1910.

The Sunday School was gradually set up along the grade level lines of public secular schools. The beginners would use the "Forsta Lasee Boken", (The First Reading Book) and as they moved to the higher classes they would use the ''Lilla Katekes",(The Little Catechism), The Reading Book comprised simply written, easy to read, bible stories. The Catechism consisted of The Lord's Prayer, all of the Ten Commandments, The Apostle's Creed and a few other of the biblical exhortations with explanations and interpretations. When a pupil was finished with the seventh class, or about thirteen years of age, he entered the Confirmation Class. Although in the early years the classes were all using materials written in the Swedish language, the confirmands were given the choice of using English or Swedish bibles. Until several years had passed, the majority used the latter. Regular classes for the confirmands were held each Sunday with the minister's wife often called in to be the instructor. Once a week, usually on Saturdays, from September to the following late Spring, the Confirmation Class had to attend religious instructions. These classes were the direct responsibility of the minister. After about a year of classes the confirmands had to pass an oral examination with the congregation as an audience. They were then permitted to partake of their first Holy Communion and were received into the church as members.

A Sunday School paper "The Olive Leaf" was added at a later date and a perusal of the Sunday School Secretary's minutes show the teachers received new materials to revise the instructional methods and curricula at regular intervals.

Gradually more English influences were added to the church school program. The faculty voted to sing songs, using English words, from the Junior Hymnal when and if they were so inclined. Bible picture charts were used as visual aids and the teachers made illustrations depicting the Ten Commandments, English text books were reviewed by the teachers and the Biblical A.B,C. was introduced to create greater interest for the younger children.

In recent years the "Christian Growth Series" was an innovation so that the local Sunday School would be using materials in line with the rest of the Lutheran Churches in the United States, This trend has continued and the Swedish language is no longer used for any of the Sunday School program.


By the middle of 1913, the church had been completed and was debt free. Except for minor repairs and usual upkeep, the congregation put off further improvements until after 1915, when a platform was built to provide for a pulpit and altar with a kneeling ring, It was between 1915 and 1918, that pews were constructed in the church and the beautiful stained glass windows were installed.

A need for a parsonage was evident. Student and visiting pastors had to be provided with room and board at a weekly cost which was a continuing expense with no chance to build up an equity in any property.

The eventful date was May 26, 1926. The land and buildings immediately adjacent to the church were purchased from Harry E, Reed of Norwalk for four thousand dollars, His deceased parents had owned the property. This project was made possible by a loan of three thousand dollars at 6% interest from two church members, Mr. and Mrs. Axel Ranholm. The collateral was the parsonage property.

A new furnace and other minor improvements were added. Because of the economic conditions after 1929, further expansion proceeded at a slow pace. The next major objective began with the excavation of the basement under the church and the partial completion of a parish room in the late thirties. Almost all of the work was done by members and friends of the church with the costs being shared by the Men's Brotherhood Society, the Young People's Society and The Naomi Sewing Society. In 1952, the room was renovated and kitchen facilities were added. The Brotherhood and Naomi Societies were largely responsible for this improvement.

Through the war years of the 1940's, the parishioners worked faithfully and diligently, and on the 23rd of November, in 1945, the parsonage was fully paid for and the mortgage was burned.

"Major surgery" was performed on the parsonage in 1955, with a new furnace installed, rooms, doors and porches changed, and wiring, painting and papering done throughout the house.

After having completed the refurbishing of the parsonage, attention was again turned to the church, It was agreed by the members that the enlargement of the church was not only desirable, but necessary. Plans by an architect were accepted and a contractor was hired. The work was completed and the beautifully constructed addition was dedicated in March of 1958.

The last major accomplishment to date, was the acquisition of a modern home, in a beautiful setting, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, to serve as a parsonage. The house was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Sturges. The former parsonage was changed into classrooms for the Sunday School and serves that function at the present time, as was noted on a personal visit by the author of this paper.


When the Swedish group first met to lay plans for the organization of their church, the ladies of the assemblage decided to form a Sewing Society, later named the Naomi Society, in affiliation with the Seaman's Mission. They wanted to work toward the financial realization of their church building goal. To say they were successful is a complete understatement of fact. Report after report, book after book gives evidence of their tremendous earning ability and the continuing siphoning of funds to the various church projects. When they were not making actual cash donations to the congregation, they were buying such items as a one hundred piece set of dishes for the kitchen in the church, screens for the parsonage and covering for the altar and pulpit.

The ladies used many ingenious methods to raise money including coffee and cake for fifteen cents, served after every meeting. Naturally, the men were invited to increase the profit. The suppers and auctions mentioned previously in this paper, cake sales, concerts, bazaars, and especially the annual Midsummer festival were held.

Another practical task undertaken by the women was the weekly cleaning of the church. Two women a month volunteered to be responsible for the chore. The Society is still flourishing today and some of its original members, although perhaps not as active, are working with the younger generations to support the current church projects as they arise.

The Young People's Cultural Society got an early start, also, but was not as durable as the Naomi Society. They organized as the Young People's Cultural Society of the Bethlehem Congregation in Georgetown, Connecticut, in 1908. Their goal was the spiritual, intellectual and cultural advancement of the young people of the church.

One of their most noteworthy accomplishments was the collection of books written in the Swedish language and the initiation of a Swedish Book Department in the Georgetown Public Library. Unfortunately for everyone, this Library is no longer in existence. In 1912, the Young People's Society had only eighteen members and the 1913 annual church meeting minutes does not include a report for this society. Again in 1920, the young people attempted to become functionable and their organization seems to have lasted about a year on this try. Refusing to give up, the Young People's Society #3, as the members called themselves, organized with an enrollment of thirty-two, increasing to fifty-five by the third meeting which looked promising. This time the date was 1931.

The group changed its name for a short time when it joined the Hartford District and became known as a Luther League. It reverted to its original name when it dropped its affiliation with the Hartford District of Luther Leagues because of a lack of finances.

In order to give financial aid to the church, the society gave full length plays as one of the more interesting ways of raising money. The plays were presented in the Gilbert and Bennet Elementary School and were well attended by the town's people. Tickets sold for forty cents for adults and twenty-five cents for children, and sums as high as two hundred and thirty-five dollars were realized, Of course, advertisements purchased by local merchants helped increase the total.

Any monies raised were largely used for donations to the church. The group also financed specific projects of improvements in the church properties.

Continuing to function until about 1947, this group proved to be the heartiest of the three young people's societies. The Eighty Club for young married couples and another Luther League was established a short time later, but only the League prospered and that was on an intermittent basis of cessation and re-establishment.

The men of the church created their own organization on January 29, 1916, and became known as the Men's Concordia Society, later changing the name to The Brotherhood. While the men were slower in establishing themselves as an integral group, they have been every bit as energetic and proficient in raising funds to donate to the church. Many were the projects they not only financed, but more important, they gave generously of their many and varying skills.

The Young Women's Missionary Society was activated in August of 1933. Visiting missionaries described their work in foreign countries. The young women sent letters and received answers from workers in the foreign missionary field. The society's goal was to arouse interest in the Lutheran missions and to try to support them to the best of their ability. The demise of this society came within five years.

The most recent organization in the church was the Double or Nothing Club composed of young married couples who "offered recreation and decent get-togethers". At first, only husbands and wives, as a couple, were permitted to join. That has since been changed as there were too many widows in the congregation, and singles (men or women) are permitted to participate.


The Swedish immigrants, strangers in a new land, naturally brought their customs with them from Aland and Sweden. The celebration of prime importance to the Lutherans was the Julafton (Christmas Eve) festivities which culminated in a church attendance before daybreak called. Julotta. This ceremony was the religious celebration of Christ's birth, On a crisp, wintery morning about 5 A.M., most of the parishioners walking to church, it was almost impossible not to feel a sense of reverence and joy at the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. With the candle light glowing and the muted voices of the congregation singing the songs of the season, it offered a feeling of joyful, reverential peace.

The celebration of next greatest importance to the Scandinavians was the Mid-Summer Night's festival, This activity dated back to the days of the Vikings, It was dedicated to the glorification of nature and was later solemnized religiously as St. John the Baptist's day. Usually, the festival was held around June 24th. Outdoor dancing, eating and game plain were enjoyed.

One of the games enjoyed by the people of Aland and later brought to Georgetown, was the "Enke-leken sista paret" (Widower's game, last pair), The young men and women would line up, one couple behind the other. A man (the widower) would stand in front of the group with his back to them, He would call, "Last pair out," and the couple would run around opposite sides of the group. The object was that the young man was to catch the girl before the widower could, If the man lost, he would take the place of the widower and the game would proceed with the newly formed couple taking their place at the front of the line.

Of great importance to the young bogs and girls of the congregation, was the day of confirmation, They would have been prepared by the minister on the material that would be covered at the oral, public examination. Sometimes, as many as a hundred questions were involved and the young students did not know which queries they would be called upon to answer.

If the confirmand successfully passed his examination, given before as many of the church members as wanted to attend the ceremony, he was accepted as a member of the church. This oral performance was not taken lightly and was subject to the comment of any or all of the parishioners. It was even listed in the congregational register whether a confirmand's knowledge of the church's literature was adequate or very good.

Once accepted into the church the new member was permitted to receive Holy Communion which was the Lord's Supper consisting of a dry wafer and wine, This symbolically represented the body and blood of Christ.

As the new Americans came from a hearty, active Scandinavian stock, many of their activities were held outdoors. Games were enjoyed, good food supplied and eaten in quantity, and of course, singing was always included. No meeting or recreational event ended without a religious song of blessing, the thanksgiving for all the benefits these people felt they had gained and enjoyed.


From the very beginning, this bustling, thriving church has had to depend on divinity students from Upsala College and vice pastors from other congregations for much of their spiritual guidance. The first resident pastor, Reverend Carl A. Benander, arrived in 1911, but only remained a year. It was not intil 1915, that Reverend Samuel R. Swenson began his residency. During his tenure of approximately three years, many improvements were made to the church. Another resident pastor was not to appear until Reverend O. O. Eckardt was called in 1930. Pastor Eckardt was to remain for seven years and was the first minister to occupy the parsonage. After the resignation of Pastor Eckardt, a hiatus on resident pastors continued until 1948. From then until 1954, Reverend Harold Faust, Reverend Martin Leeseberg and Reverend John Nosco were resident pastors for short periods of time. During Reverend Elmer L. Olsen's pastorate, dating from 1955, the Golden Anniversary of the founding of the church was held. Some of the charter members were present, including Charles H. Gustafson, a leading spirit in the founding of the church. Completed in time for the celebration was the new addition to the church.

It was also during Pastor Olsen's period of office that the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Danbury, Connecticut, which had over the years shared ministers and student pastors with the Georgetown church, asked to affiliate with the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. The local church accepted and the Trinity congregation became members and turned over all its assets and liabilities to the Georgetown church.

Pastor Olsen was to remain until late in the year of 1964, and then the present spiritual leader, Reverend Thomas B. Kline came to the Lutheran Church in the spring of 1965. Under his guidance the new parsonage was purchased in Ridgefield.

[When Pastor Kline retired in 1973, the Rev. Donald L. Kent was called to be pastor. Property behind the church was purchased from the John Nordlund estate in 1975. In 1979, the back entrance to the parish house was added and the parking lot was constructed on this added property. The Rev. John R. Henrich was called to serve as pastor in 1983 and Bethlehem became a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988. The Rev. William Mark White received the call to serve Bethlehem in 1989.

In January of 1994, the third and present parsonage, the former John Nordlund home, was purchased. This purchase included land and outbuildings, thereby providing potential for future expansion and development, The second parsonage on Branchville Road was sold to Mr. Philip Lodewick, a member of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Ridgefield. He held ownership of this building until it was possible for St. Andrew's to sell their parsonage. At that time, ownership was transferred to St. Andrew's and they are presently using this Branchville Road property as their new parsonage.

The Christian Education Building was renovated in 1994 to meet the State standards set for use by a nursery school. In September, 1994, The Waldorf School Program began a nursery school called The Rose Garden School in this building. It continues to grow and at this time has expanded to two sessions per day with a waiting list of families who wish to participate.

In December, 1994, Bethlehem called the Rev. Sandra M. Marotz to be pastor. ]

Throughout all these years the church has thrived and while it has changed its complexion somewhat, it is still growing. Salaries for the ministers have shown an increase. A sum of one thousand dollars and full use of the parsonage at no cost, was recommended as payment for a resident pastor in 1948. In 1958, it was raised to four thousand three hundred dollars a year with living quarters provided. Fringe benefits included utilities, Social Security payments and an automobile expense allowance. During the intervening years up to the present, the annual salary has risen to seventy-five hundred dollars with parsonage use, utilities, Social Security fees and reimbursement for car expenses in addition.

Membership has shown a decided growth. From a beginning with fifty-two charter members and seventeen children, the church register presently shows an enrollment of two hundred eighty adult parishioners and one hundred fifty-four youngsters.

As the years progressed, many non-Swedish speaking people showed an interest in the church. To encourage an expansion in membership, services in the English language were offered on alternate Sundays. As the older members became more accustomed to America and the younger generations began growing up, less Swedish was spoken in the homes. Gradually, the English language has taken over in all phases of the church's functions and in 1949, the name of the church was changed to the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The annual Christmas morning Service is no longer called Julotta, and its observance has been changed to a Midnight Service held on Christmas Eve so it runs into Christmas morning. The Choir serves faithfully, the children of each succeeding generation taking the place of their parents. Newly enrolled members, also, help to increase the size of the Choir and to provide the music which is an essential part of the Lutheran religion.

A rewarding and prosperous future would seem to be inevitable for such a dedicated people, New goals will be sought and successfully accomplished. "The church's location is considered to be the most beautiful in Georgetown," was a statement made in 1933, in an historical research survey article, As this writer noted during a personal visit, with the loving care tendered by a devoted congregation, it is even more beautiful today. (See Appendix II)


A profound discovery was made. There is no such thing as a brief history of an institution such as the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, even though it has existed for only sixty-two years.

A great deal of time was spent over a period of three years in research. Church records were carefully studied, volumes of them written in Swedish which had to be translated into English. Private interviews in towns as widely separated as Hartford and Stamford, Connecticut, were conducted.

Public documents in Hartford, Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton were researched. Letters were sent to Aland; Finland; Orange, New Jersey; Massachusetts and various Connecticut towns. A research project of this type is immensely interesting, but one contact offers another lead, and it never ends.

An endeavor like this is a most enjoyable task, but it is much too time consuming.


January 1908

Pastor Torsten M, Hohenthal of the Seamen's Mission in Brooklyn, New York, conducts services for Lutherans in Georgetown. The group rents space in Mrs. Edla Peterson's house for meetings.

June 1908

John L. Benson, a student at Upsala College, conducts services. The Rev. Dr. Peter Froeberg, Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, later President of Upsala College, is first vice-pastor.

July 7, 1908

The Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown is organized with 53 adults and 17 children. The Rev. Dr. Gustaf Nelsenius, President of the New York Conference officiates.

August 11, 1908

The present church property is purchased for $75, Contract is made with Michael Connery to build a church for $1,700,

November 29, 1908

The first service is held in the new church. Charles Gustafson becomes first Sunday School Superintendent and Gustaf R. Johnson the first Organist.


The Rev, Carl A, Bernander becomes first resident pastor.


The Rev. Samuel R. Swenson becomes pastor.


Congregation purchases the "Read" house for a parsonage.


First service is held in English.


The Rev. O.O. Eckhardt becomes pastor.


Church undercroft is completed by members of the Congregation.


Name of the congregation is changed to Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.


The Rev. Elmer L. Olsen becomes pastor.

March 23, 1958

The New Parish House and renovated church is dedicated.


Bethlehem Lutheran Church becomes a member of the Lutheran Church in America.


The Rev, Thomas B, Kline becomes pastor. The Branchville Road parsonage is purchased.


The Rev, Donald L. Kent becomes pastor.


Property behind the church is purchased from the John Nordlund Estate for parking and future expansion.


The back entrance to the church is added and the parking lot is constructed.


The Rev, John R. Henrich becomes pastor.


Bethlehem Lutheran Church becomes a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


The Rev. William Mark White becomes Pastor.

January 1994

The present parsonage (the former John Nordlund home is purchased. (This purchase includes land and outbuildings for future expansion.)

March 1994

The former Branchville Road parsonage is sold to Philip Lodewick, a member of St. Andrew's Cutheran Church. It is eventually transferred over to St. Andrew's and is being used as their parsonage.

September 1994

The Christian Education Building (the first parsonage) has been remodeled to meet State codes and The Waldorf School (nursery school program) called The Rose Garden School begins classes.

December 1994

The Rev. Sandra M. Marotz becomes pastor.


Anderson, Evert

Anderson, Victoria Gustava (Johanson)

Anderson, Sixtus Georg

Anderson, Alma Josefina

Bamberg, Victor Conrad

Carlson, Carl August

Carlson, Hanna Wilhelmina (Nordstrom)

Carlson, Carl Alfred

Carlson, Jennie Augusta Ingrid

Carlson, Gustaf Alfred

Carlson, Robert Gideon

Carlson, Victor Emil

Ericson, Eric Victor

Ericson, Cecelia Emerentia

Erikson, Erik Ferdinand

Erikson, Lydia Olivia (Johanson)

Fagerstrom, Carl Hugo

Fagerstrom, Aina Wilhelmina (Johanson)

Gustafson, Carl Halvar

Gustafson, Ceralia Erika Maria

Gustafson, Carl August Emanuel

Gustafson, Carl Gunnar

Johnson, Carl Emanuel

Johnson, Olga Exenia (Mattson)

Johnson, Johan Julius

Johnson, Signe Sofia (Gustafson)

Johnson, August Astrid

Johnson, Olga (Sjogren)

Johnson, Gustaf Reinhold

Johanson, Johan Evert

Liedberg, Charles Ludvig

Liedberg, Anna Olivia (Johnson)

Lindholm, Ilma Sicilia

Lindstrom, Elin Maria (Johanson)

Lindstrom, Carl August

Lindstrom, Sigrid (Johanson)

Mattson, Edla Esther (Johnson)

Mattson, Eric Victor

Nordlund, Johan Erik

Nordlund, Hulda Irene (Gustafson)

Pehrson, Maria Wilhelmina (Karlson)

Peterson, Edla

Ronnholm, Axel Emanuel Knut

Ronnholm, Alma Celina (Hohnstrom)

Rosenquist, Gustaf Adolf

Rosenquist, Beata Sofie (Hemming)

Rosendahl, Johan Fredrik

Soderlund, Arthur Severin Soderlund

Soderlund, (Erika Wilhelmina)Mimmi (Ronnholm)

Soderlund, Carl Victor

Sundlof, John Hjalmar

Tengstrom, Aina Augusta


Ta'Agan Point Danbury, Connecticut

Hartford Seminary Foundation
55 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, Connecticut

Dear Sir:

While engaged in some research in your fine library some time ago, I was looking for material on the Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Connecticut. Your library had this church listed as located in Wilton, Connecticut, I have checked the land records in the Wilton and Redding Town Offices. This church is and always has been located in Redding, Connecticut. The article, itself, is incorrect as it states that this church is in Wilton, Connecticut, For whatever value this information may be to you, the article is in:

Inventory of the Church Archives of Connecticut Lutheran, Vol. II, Prepared by the Historical Record Survey Division of Community Service Program Work Projects Administration Sponsored by the Connecticut State Library New Haven, Connecticut March, 1941, p. 105, entry 50.

Yours truly,

(Mrs.) Lilli Varga

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Baily, Thomas A. The American Pageant. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1961.

Burns, Edward McNall Western Civilizations, New York: W. W, Norton and Company, 1958.

Du Chaillu, Paul B, The Land of the Midnight Sun New York: Harper and Brothers, 1981.

Herdenstam, O. G, Swedish Life in Town and Country New York: G . P . Putnam's Sons, 1904.

Liddle, William Sweden and Finland. New York: MacMillan Co., 1921.

Luther, Martin Lilla Katekes ("Little Catechism"), Illinois: Augustana Book Concern, n.d.

O'Dell, Andrew C, The Scandinavian World, London: Longman, Green and Co., 1957.

Platt, Roger R. ed. Finland and its Geography: an American Geographical Handbook. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1955.


New England Lutheran (Connecticut), March, 1952.

Norwalk Hour (Connecticut), September 6, 1958.


Erikson, Thorvald Aland: an Autonomous Province, pamphlet. Mariehamn, Aland, Finland: Alands Landslapsstyrelse, 1965.

Connecticut, Inventory of the Church Archives of the Connecticut Lutheran Churches, Vol., II, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1941.

Connecticut, Office of the Secretary of State, Certificate of Name. Vol. XXXII, Hartford, Connecticut, n.d.

Connecticut, Office of the Secretary of State, Corporations Without Capital. Vol. VII, Hartford, Connecticut, 1910.

Redding, Connecticut, General Land Index, Grantee, 1767-1921 inclusive Vol. XXXIV.

Redding, Connecticut, Land Records, Vols. XXVIII, XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIV, LXIII.

Ridgefield, Connecticut, Land Records. Vol. III.


Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, "Church Secretary", Georgetown, Connecticut: 1947. (Handwritten.)

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, "Congregational Register", Georgetown, Connecticut: 1950. (Handwritten.)

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, "Fiftieth Anniversary", Georgetown, Connecticut: 1908-1958. (Printed.)

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Minutes of Sunday School Meetings, Georgetown, Connecticut: 1929, (Handwritten.)

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, "Sixtieth Anniversary", Georgetown, Connecticut: 1908-1968, (Printed,)

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Treasury Book, Georgetown Connecticut: 1943, (Handwritten.)

Brotherhood, Minutes of Meetings, Georgetown, Connecticut: Church Records, 1937. (Handwritten.)

Gustafson, Charles A. letter to Reverend Elmer L. Olsen Georgetown, Connecticut: Church Records, August 2, 1958. (Handwritten.)

"Kassa Bok for Finska Sjomansmissionsforenigen" (Treasury Book for Finnish Seaman's Mission Society), Georgetown, Connecticut Church Records, 1908, (Handwritten.)

Svenska-Finska Bethleheme Forsamlingen (Swedish-Finnish Bethlehem Congregation, "Protokoll Bok" (Minutes of Annual Church Meetings) Georgetown, Connecticut: 1908. (Handwritten.)

Svenska-Finska Evangelisk Luterska Bethlehem Forsamlingen (Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation) "Protokoll Bok", (Minutes of Annual Church Meetings) Georgetown, Connecticut: 1918. (Handwritten.)

Svenska-Finska Evangelisk Luterska Bethlehem Forsamlingen (Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation) "Protokoll Bok", (Minutes of Annual Church Meetings) Georgetown, Connecticut 1934. (Handwritten.)

Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Bethlehem Church "Congregational Register", Georgetown, Connecticut: 1908, (Handwritten.)

Swedish-Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church "Journal", Georgetown Connecticut, 1908. (Handwritten.)

Syforeningen, Naomi (Naomi Sewing Society) Minutes of Meetings, Georgetown, Connecticut: Church Records, 1926. (Handwritten.)

Syforeningen Naomi Kassor Bok (Naomi Sewing Society Treasurer's Book), Georgetown, Connecticut: Church Records, 1940, (Handwritten,)

Young People's Missionary Society, Minutes of Meetings, Georgetown, Connecticut Church Records, 1933. (Handwritten.)

Young People's Society, Minutes of Monthly Meetings Georgetown Connecticut: Church Records, 1920. (Handwritten.)


Carlson, Agnes and Arthur, personal interview, Georgetown, Connecticut, June, 1968.

Erikson, Lydia, personal interview, Georgetown, Connecticut, June, 1968.

Hall, Exenia, Personal interview, Norwalk, Connecticut, April, 1968.

Lindstrom, Elin, personal interview, Stamford, Connecticut, April, 1968.

Mattson, Esther and Mauritz, personal interview, Georgetown, Connecticut, April, 1968.

Oliverson, Elin, personal interview, Georgetown, Connecticut, April, 1970.

Oliverson, Elin and William, personal interviews, Georgetown, Connecticut, April, May, June, 1968; February, 1969; March, April, 1970.

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