LINDSBORG — On the evening of Aug. 19 in 1869, newly immigrated Swedish settlers met, aiming to fill the need for a church of their own. That was the night the Swedish Evangelical Bethany Church was born. Today, members of the same church, Bethany Lutheran Church, still gather to hear praise and witness to God’s saving Word in Jesus Christ, many of whom have ancestors who were a part of that formed the very first congregation.
In celebration of its 150th anniversary, Bethany Lutheran Church is holding special anniversary events on Sunday. At 9 a.m. in the fellowship hall, the skit “A Blast from the Past” (a reflection on the history of Bethany Lutheran Church) will be presented primarily by the youth of the church. The skit is coordinated by Lori McKinney, Joyce Peterson, and Gunnar and Sven Johnson, grandsons of Richard and Ann Johnson.
Keeping true to its heritage, the 10:30 a.m. Bethany Lutheran Church worship service will be filled with special musical offerings. Enjoy the Bell Choir ringing Processional on All Creatures of Our God and King, as arranged by Kevin McChesney. Accompanying the brass quintet and the choirs, is Bethany Lutheran Church organist of 30 years, Genevieve Bishop.
“As organist of Bethany Lutheran Church, I am excited for this Sunday’s 150th-anniversary worship service,” Genevieve Bishop said. “It has been my honor to serve as Bethany’s organist since Reformation Sunday, 1989. Soli Deo Gloria.”
Performing the prelude and postlude for this special is a quintet led by led by Kansas City based trumpeter Andrew Bishop, Principal Trumpet chair with the Des Moines Symphony. Associate Professor David Hunsicker, trumpeter with Wichita State University, WSU French Horn Assistant Professor Jeb Wallace, Wichita Public School Music Department Director and Trombone player Jeff Luttrell and Assistant Professor of Tuba and Euphonium Phil Black, will be joining Andrew Bishop.
The Bethany Church Men’s Choir will sing How Firm a Foundation, a familiar hymn tune arranged by Harold Moyer, featuring Andrew Bishop on trumpet. The text reminds us, “fear not, I am with you, oh, be not dismayed” when met with challenges and adversity. In 1869, as the firm foundation was being laid for Bethany Lutheran Church, ancestors relied on their strength of faith in Christ Jesus the Word.
Offering Gustav Holst’s choral setting of O God, Beyond All Praising, the Chancel Choir will also lead the congregation in the singing of the Bethany Church Hymn, God’s Word Shall Live Forever by Walter L. Pelz. The Chancel Choir, which has had many names through the years, is not only the oldest musical organization at Bethany Church but also the oldest in Lindsborg, having sung for the first time at the Julotta service in December 1869.
Children’s Choir Director Lori Nelson will lead a special encore children’s performance of Kära Lindsborg, lyrics by Rose Marie Wallen, music by Mike Wallen is also planned. Kära Lindsborg, a gift from the Wallens to the City of Lindsborg for its Sesquicentennial, was premiered on Feb. 20, 2019, which was the 150th anniversary of the naming of Lindsborg. By proclamation of the City of Lindsborg, it is now the official Lindsborg song.
“It has been an honor to have my SV students premier the piece for the 150th celebration. Mike composed such a beautiful piece. Rose Marie’s words to it, are perfect. They truly paint a picture of Lindsborg’s rich heritage. Whether we have a small ensemble of singers or a large choir (like for Hyllningsfest), the piece will sound lovely,” Nelson said.
Immediately following the service, there will be a potluck lunch at Swensson Park. Additionally, enjoy a trolley ride from the park to the original site of the very first church throughout the potluck. All are welcome to join in and help celebrate the momentous occasion.