Bethlehem Lutheran Church is:
A mid-sized congregation; small enough to know and care about each other and large enough to make a difference through our ministries.
Committed to traditional values and new ideas. As one of the oldest churches in Irmo and a pillar in the Dutch Fork community we celebrate our rich German Lutheran heritage made relevant to today's needs. We practice Lutheran theology. We study God's Word. We educate ourselves using an ongoing, respectful and thoughtful approach. All of this allows us to grow in the Spirit and better understand God's Grace.
Friendly, approachable and spiritually engaging. People are drawn to and stay with our congregation because it is uplifting, caring, vibrant and relates to them. After worshipping at Bethlehem Lutheran Church we feel called, fed and sent.
Actively and visibly doing God's work in our church, our community and our world. We carry out God's work with love, compassion and humility. Through our ministries God is glorified.
A BRIEF HISTORY
In the mid 1700's, German Lutherans came to South Carolina with land grants from England. These grants provided them with a new place to call home and their presence provided a buffer between the prosperous English occupied coastal cities of SC and the Native American tribes of the SC foothills. Dutch Fork Lutherans (Deutsh Volk Lutheraner) had good relationships with the indigenous people of South Carolina and their German traditions and Lutheran faith have greatly shaped the central counties of Sotuh Carolina. Bethlehem Lutheran Church was one of the first congregations in the Irmo area and is first officially recorded in 1788. However, there is information indicating that the congregation is older than that date. Since this time, the church has served its members in three different locations.
Of the four known church buildings in the Irmo area constructed since 1788, the first was known as the "Ellisor Church" located near the present day St. John's Lutheran Church of Irmo. In 1847, the congregation moved to another location off of Koon Road where the church was known as the "Bookman Church" and finally in 1897, the congregation moved to its present location on Broad River Road and built an edifice that was painted white on the inside and outside; thus, it was known as the "White Church". With a tall graceful steeple, that building seated around 150 people, but by 1950, the congregation outgrew the facility and in 1951, the present structure was built. Fortunately, the Bethlehem family continued to experience growth, so in 1977 the present educational building was constructed, and in 1994, extensive remodeling and additions were made.
A Pamphlet cover cataloged at Bethlehem Lutheran Church that shows each of the buildings that the church has used and the year that each was approximately built