Restoration of rural Bethlehem Lutheran church is completed

The latest addition to the exterior of Bethlehem church is the huge wooden cross designed and made by Neil Gustafson. Lights inside the cross can be turned on and off by the flip of a switch. (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)

This part of the old piano is now an attractive coat rack. (photo submitted by Kristi Gustafson)

The church interior was beautifully decorated for an upcoming wedding that was postponed due to the Coronavirus-19 Pandemic. (photo submitted by Kristi Gustafson)

“It’s a long way up there!” (photo submitted by Kristi Gustafson)

Colorful llght rays reflect through a stained glass window.

Some of those responsible for the completion of the remodeling of the Bethlehem Lutheran church, from left to right, are: Teahna Anderson, Peyton Svegdahl, Kristi Gustafson, Neil Gustafson, Teresa Garcias, Natalie Korczak, Merilee Svegdahl, and Dianne Anderson. Pictured on the scaffold is Marty Anderson. (photo submitted by Kristi Gustafson)

After fifteen years of remaining empty, the Bethlehem Lutheran church of rural Greenbush had been restored to the point where a Christmas Concert was held the evening of December 21, 2014. In the summer of 2012, former parishioners Darcy (Hagen) Reese, Noel Svegdahl, Neil Gustafson, and Mardy Anderson chaired a “Help Save Bethlehem” committee. They, along with many others, were determined to save their beloved little countryside church from going by the wayside.

For the last five years, “Darcy Reese and Friends” have continued to come from Thief River Falls in December and present another outstanding concert. Reese is director of the Lincoln High school choral program in Thief River Falls.

Over time and thanks to continued donations, gradual improvements were made. The church structure was reinforced, basement was filled in, steel roofing replaced worn-out shingles, and the exterior of the church received a new coat of paint, to name a few.

The completion of the church makeover recently took place. Responsible for this undertaking were: Mardy Anderson, Noel, Marilee and Payton Svegdahl, Neil, Kristi, Shanetelle and Ian Gustafson, Nancy Gustafson, Natalie Korczak, Dianne Anderson, Terhya Nygard, Teahna Anderson, Zack Berg, and Teresa Garcia, recently completed the church makeover.

Those who now enter in will be surrounded by the brightness of its white ceiling, cream-colored walls, and the beige-painted floor including the altar area. The old carpeting leading to the altar has been replaced with attractive carpet squares.

A portion of the old, unuseable piano was taken apart by Neil and Kristi Gustafson and remade into the beautiful coat rack standing in the entry.

The first wedding to take place in the “new” church, that of Teahna Anderson and Zack Berg, was postponed due to the Coronavirus-19 Pandemic.

To see the full story, read the March 25 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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