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Bethany (Bethania) Lutheran Church

The following is excerpted from the article submitted by Phyllis Holte and Pastor Eleanor Ness to Memories and Milestones 1905-2005.

This image is from prairietowns.com. It is the original Bethany (Bethania) Lutheran Church. This building was destroyed by fire on the morning of Palm Sunday, 1934, as congregation members arrived for the service.

Bethany Lutheran Church was established by Swedish homesteaders in the Amisk area. By 1909 there were a number of Swedish immigrants and they felt there should be a church where they could share in worship and fellowship. Mrs. Ida Erickson was particularly active in getting the church organized. She walked from homestead to homestead to talk to settlers about starting a church and Sunday school.

By the winter of 1912, $450 had been donated by the members and surrounding community to build a church. Construction began on the church in the spring. The land was donated by John Lindgren. It was southwest of the present Bethany Lutheran Cemetery. The cemetery was established when two acres were purchased for $50 from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1912.

The congregation was fortunate to have a designer and builder of churches close by; Olof Walin was in charge of construction. He was aided by numerous volunteers from the congregation and community. Mr. Walin worked hard. He often would begin work by 4 a.m. in the summers and worked until 7 p.m. or later. He was paid $2.50 a day. The first service in the new church was held in January of 1917. The building was finally dedicated in 1923.

“I remember riding in the wagon with my parents to church that morning. As the horses walked up the hill, we saw the flames.” – Sven Nelson

Worship services were conducted in Swedish until a decision was made at the annual meeting in 1935 to conduct every other service in English. Shortly after that, English began to be used at all services.

On the morning of Palm Sunday 1934, just as people were coming to worship, the beloved church was discovered to be in flames. Although nothing could be done to extinguish the fire, all the furnishings were saved. Many of the present pews at Bethany Lutheran Church [in Hughenden] were carried out from the fire.

Amisk-Park Lutheran Church

The congregation continued to function. Services were held in the Amisk-Park Lutheran Church in Amisk for fifteen years. The, from 1949-1952, services were held in Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Hughenden. In 1952, the Morgan School was moved to the present location of Bethany Lutheran Church on the north end of Hughenden. Renovations in 1954 included lengthening the building, completely refinishing both the inside and the outside, and adding a sacristy and narthex. The building was dedicated in August of 1954 by Pastor Robert Pearson.

– Submitted to Memories and Milestones by Phyllis Holte and Pastor Eleanor Ness

The Morgan School was moved into Hughenden in 1954 and became the present home of the Bethany Lutheran congregation.
Today's Bethany Lutheran Church during an autumn sunset.

By A-H History

Our mission is to create and contribute to projects that preserve the history of the Amisk/Hughenden, Alberta area.

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