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Christ has called together the people of Bethlehem Lutheran as a loving and welcoming community in order to give thanks and to worship our Lord, and to be the body of Christ in the world. Christ gathers us are together in worship and service.
In worship, we are gathered in God’s name, as those who freely acknowledge our own sinfulness the confidant expectation and assured promise of forgiveness in Christ, and through Baptism. Having heard the proclamation of our forgiveness, we are then fed through word and sacrament, in which God reveals himself as the source of infinitely abundant love and grace. Together we join our voices in prayer and song. In response to Christ’s gift of himself, we give thanks for his abiding, creative, life giving, redemptive, healing, transformative presence. We are then sent forth in the peace of Christ in order to serve God, serve one another, and serve all around us.
As such, we understand the worship service within the four walls of the church as continuing in lives lived in worship and service in the world beyond our doors. Our calling in Baptism informs and shapes all aspects of our life and our lives together. Our lives thus become a thankful response for what Christ has done, is doing, and continues to do.
Bethlehem also shares a rich history which begins in the mid-1700’s when many Lutherans left their homes in Germany due to the difficult conditions with which they struggled, and began to settle in what is now called the Dutch Fork area. The name "Dutch Fork" is derived from these Dutch Fork Lutherans (Deutsh Volk Lutheraner). The first recorded date of formal organization for the Bethlehem congregation is 1788. Since that time, the people of Bethlehem have continued to welcome all to share lives of faith and joy in Christ.
The congregation takes its name, of course, from the small town in which Christ was born. The town of Bethlehem was at that time little more than a rural crossroads near the city of Jerusalem. And yet, we know that it was in there that God “would do a new thing !”
While most easily identify the town of Bethlehem as the place of our saviors birth, the significance of the name of Bethlehem extends further. The name of Bethlehem is actually based in an ancient Hebrew word “Beth -lechem” and literally means “house of bread”. So remarkably, Jesus who was humbly born in that small town named “house of bread” would later come to say to those who were following, “I am the bread of life.”
So, we remember that in the small town called Irmo at a church called Bethlehem (“house of bread”) God continues to do a new thing in Christ. In Christ, we are fed by word and sacrament as the one who is truly is the very “bread of life.” Christ continues to give all that he is even as he serves both as host and meal given for us. We give thanks to God.