Bethany Lutheran Cemetery

8 Miles 220th Avenue. 2 Miles S.
Goodridge, MN 56725

The First 100 Years


Get the Tidbits of History File

If we are to get an authentic picture of the history of the Bethany Ladies Aid, we must go back to March 7, 1905. This was the date when the first Aid was organized, and since that date, it has been a faithful and influential working organization of this church.

The aims of the newly founded organization were to work for a church building fund; Parochial school; and to aid Foreign and Home Missions.

The charter members of this group were: Mrs. Albert Narum, Mrs. O.M. Pederson, Mrs. Tobias Skjerping, Mrs. Ole Valtinson, Mrs. Fred Lane, Mrs. Dan Johnson, Mrs. Joseph Wickum, Mrs. Tom Elefson, and Miss Clara Talifson. Election of officers was held, with Mrs. O.M. Pederson elected as president, vice president was Mrs. Tobias Skjerping, and secretary-treasurer was Mrs. Albert Narum.

The Ladies Aid meetings would be held in the homes and the Norwegian Language was used exclusively. In the early days, there was very little social activities, but when someone entertained the “Kvindeforeing”, every member made a special effort to be present. Traveling with horses and sleigh in the winter time, meant that these pioneer ladies would have to dress very warm. Most usually, the stockings, scarfs and mittens were made from home carded, spun and knitted yarn. Their better clothes at this time, were rather fancy hats with many feathers (which they wore for several years), long, full sweeping dark skirts, with light belts and white blouses. The blouses were lace and tuck trimmings, were made with long, full sleeves and high tight collars.

The Ladies Aid served their first supper (Oyster Stew) at the B.B. Hammer home, a two room home. This made it necessary to remove most of the furniture in order to make room for the supper guests. The amount of money taken in that day was $20.00, a very handsome sum, in those days.

Some of the earliest actual events we can state specifically, concern the congregational picnic held at the L.O. Stenseth farm on July 4, 1914. This was the year that the church was built and in October of that year, the church was dedicated.

In 1914, the congregation and the Ladies Aid, together, decided to have an altar, altar ring, baptismal font and pulpit made for the new church. Mr. Albert Angell was selected to make them, for the sum of $150.00, installed in the church. The material was oak, with much of the work done by hand and woodcarving chisels, turning lathe and band saw were also used. The color is weathered oak, with gold tincture trimming. These beautifully constructed pieces still grace our church today.

Mrs. O.M. Pederson was the guiding hand in this organization. She always seemed to have the energy and the ability to do just a little bit more than usual to keep things running smoothly. Even while busy caring for her home and family, she also answered sick calls in this community for many years. Bethany has been blessed with many presidents of the ladies aid over the years to keep our organization strong.

If you want or need something done in the church or need extra money to meet the bills, where do you go?? To the Ladies Aid, later called the American Lutheran Church Women and now the Evangelical Lutheran Church Women. We, of this present day, are justly proud of these pioneer ladies who so aptly carried on the early work of this Aid and in our congregation. We are deeply grateful to all persons of this community, that through their early efforts, the Kingdom of God has gone forward. We most humbly pray for Divine guidance in carrying on the aims of this pioneer group.

Some of the excerpts from past annual reports:

1934 – During this year, the old tradition of a hostess being able to serve as much as she wanted, was discontinued. She may now serve only 4 things and coffee. She must also try and serve aid twice a year.

1941 – It was decided that each member was to pay the 15 cents for lunch, whether they were present at the meetings or not.

1948 – It was decided that a hostess may now serve only three things, not including pickles and coffee.

1949 – During this year, our President introduced us to the Flower Fund. That is, each member gave a nickel and signed a slip. When all the names were in, one name was drawn and this person received a surprise gift, furnished by the one who received it the meeting before. The money was used to buy flowers and gifts for our members who were sick.

Our church was partially destroyed in June of 1949, by a windstorm. The south and north walls of the basement were almost completely gone. The church was partially held up by the west and east basement walls. The chimney and furnace were badly damaged. Electrical wires were torn loose and shingles were blown from the roof.

1951 – During this year, the Ladies Aid Chorus was formed with the members being: Mrs. Art Knutson, Mrs. Joe Johnson, Mrs. Robert Pederson, Mrs. S.S. Nelson, Mrs. Walter Aubol, Mrs. Frank Hardisty, Mrs. Gust Homme, Mrs. J.W. Lendobeja and Mrs. Arnold Hammer. Mrs. Hammer served us as director.

1952 – The church proper was also given a “Face-lifting”. We have varnished, waxed and painted and generally dressed up our church, to the best of our ability. Many hands and the companionship of the others, make the work seem easy.

1957 – It was decided to serve napkin lunches at our meetings, rather than the large lunches we have been serving.

1963 - The women decided to divide into 4 groups for serving. The groups were
Ester, Mary, Ruth, Sarah

1965 - Had 4 complete altar cloths with paramount cloth.

1969 - A motion was passed to give the church 50% of our monthly offering to the
church with exception of December to be kept in the treasury. $174.21

1971 - Indoor outdoor carpet was installed in the entry.

1973 - Christmas goodie boxes were started. Each were to bring 2 doz. to pack for
elderly and bachelors.

1978 - Many stewardship projects were done through-out years. Especially Lutheran
World Relief. This year 55 quilts were made.

1980 - Plans were completed which included digging a well, installing bathrooms
running water and a new hot water heater in the new kitchen.

1981 - We celebrated the 75th Anniversary with special morning service and
dedicating our new organ and remodeling project.

1988 - ALCW was changed to ELCW and we made our first recipe book

1992 - A new flooring was installed in the basement. We adopted a wedding reception

1997 - The pews were padded and a matching altar knee pad was installed.

2001 - A changed format for monthly hostess to be in charge of events.

2002 - The main part of the church was painted from ceiling to floor.

2005 - We celebrate our centennial with a new directory and cook-book.

God Bless You!
Bethany ELCW - 2005

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