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The story of Christ’s people at Bethlehem

In the mid-1700’s, many Lutherans left their homes in Germany due to the difficult conditions with which they struggled. In hope of a better life and supplied with land grants, these German Lutherans began to settle in the area marked by the joining together of the Broad and Saluda rivers. This region is now called the Dutch Fork area, and is named from these Dutch Fork Lutherans (Deutsh Volk Lutheraner).

Bethlehem was formally organized and chartered in 1788 and is among the first Lutheran congregations in the area. Evidence exist that the community had been worshiping together before that date. Since that time, we gathered in three different locations and four different church buildings. We moved to the present location in 1899. The current sanctuary was built in 1957, the education building in 1977, and in the years that followed extensive remodeling and additions have been made. Since those early days, Christ has continued to call together the people of Bethlehem Lutheran as a loving and welcoming community rejoicing in what Christ has done, is doing, and continues to do.

Together, we are fed and nourished at the Lord’s table and by God’s word in Christ. We sing of God’s love, we pray, and we give thanks for Christ who gives of himself for our sake. We celebrate weddings, births and baptisms, and comfort one another in times of loss and sorrow. We serve as the body of Christ sent out into a world in need. Also, over the many years, the community has joined together in countless covered dish suppers.

Over the many years, generations have been born and have grown old, all the while welcoming those new to the area into the family of God’s people gathered at Bethlehem. And the story continues …

Over the years, the congregation has gathered in three different locations and  four different church buildings.

 

The drawings shown here are of prior structures that the church has used and the year that each was approximately built.

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." They moved to the present location in 1899. The current sanctuary was built in 1957, the education building in 1977, and in the years that followed extensive remodeling and additions have been made.

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