Bethlehem’s History

Bethlehem Lutheran Church was founded in 1879 by group of Swedish Immigrants who, during a time in which most people walked to church, found the 8 mile trek to Baillytown (now located in the town limits of Porter, IN) too far. They decided to organize a congregation closer to home, and to share the pastor at the church in Baillytown.

Bethlehem’s first building, located in downtown Chesterton, was built in 1880, and it was the congregation’s home until 1999. In that place, many families celebrated baptisms, weddings, and funerals, as well as a great number of worship services, community service projects, and social gatherings occurred. For a long time, Bethlehem was the largest congregation in Chesterton.

Yet, while many generations of families called that building their church home, the hard decision was made to move to a more modern building that was handicapped accessible and climate controlled.

The current building of Bethlehem Lutheran, on the south side of Chesterton, became our home in 1999 with the construction, by Lutheran Mission Builders, of what is now the Fellowship Hall and offices. The current sanctuary was constructed in 2002, again with the help of Lutheran Mission Builders.

In this new space, we have welcomed both old friends and newcomers alike. We actively participate in community activities, and we host several ongoing service clubs (like Quilting and Young at Heart), as well as community groups (AA and NA). Our hope is that our church home is a place that all would be welcome, whether they worship with us regularly or they are part of a group that uses the building.