Bethlehem Lutheran                                       First Church                                             Evangelical United 
                                                                         Evangelical Association                           Brethren Church

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Lutheran Church was a German Lutheran Church that started in 1874. The leader who established this church was Frederick Eggers, who came to the United States from Germany in 1850. On December 27, 1874, Bethlehem's first official meeting was held. Twelve immigrant German families made up the membership in 1874. At the meeting the name of the Church and the building committee were chosen. The church was first known as the Colehour German Lutheran Church. The early trustees were Fred Eggers, Fred Millis, and Harry Millis. The first church was 40 feet by 24 feet and was built by Mr. F. Blaser, a member of the congregation, at a cost of $1,175. On July 1, 1875, a school opened with an enrollment of 22 children which later increased that month. It was closed because of the lack of a teacher but was reopened in 1879. The school was dedicated to the four "R's": Reading, `Riting, `Rithmetic, and Religion. The school maintained two classes which included six grades until 1915 when a third class was added and the school expanded to eight grades. A second larger Gothic styled wooden church building (shown above) was dedicated in 1891. That building was 50 by 90 feet and the taller of the two spires was 160 feet high. The cost of that church was approximately $16,000, including furnishings. This Church burned down in a spectacular fire on Maundy Thursday, March 28, 1918. In June of 1919, the original church building was torn down for a new school to be built. On October 12, 1919, the cornerstone was finally laid and the new church built at a cost of $80,000, opened September 19, 1920. The first English services in the church were held in 1900 but German continued to be used. In the mid 1920's Bethlehem began to change over from holding their services in German to English. In recent years, as the neighborhood has become increasingly Hispanic, there has been some talk of holding services in Spanish. 

East Side United Methodist

The East Side United Methodist Church was first established in 1875. The first church was built in 1876 on Avenue J north of 99th Street and the first minister was C.J. Shuster. It was originally known as the First Church of the Evangelical Association. It was formed by some of East Side's First German and Swedish Settlers. The first Sunday School opened in 1876 with 18 pupils. In 1913 the congregation sold the property on 98th and Avenue J for $200 and built a new church located at 10323 Ewing Avenue. That building was later the meeting place of the Trinity Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal group. It is currently the location of the Community Christian Church. While Rev. Lawrence Stauss was pastor, the name of the church was changed to the First Evangelical United Brethren Church. Rev. Stauss was pastor of the church from 1936 until 1971. When he began there were 280 members and when he retired there were over 1300 members in the church. A third church located at 110th and Ewing Avenue was constructed in 1954. The architect was Albert Heino and Associates and the contractors were the Olivieri Brothers of the East Side. The church is described as Modern Gothic in style. Ground was broken on June 20, 1954, the cornerstone was laid on October 19, 1954 and the church was dedicated on October 23, 1955. A couple of years later a parsonage was built at 110th and Avenue L. A Burning of the Mortgage Ceremony was held in October 1961. After a merger with the Methodist conference in 1969, the church became known as the East Side United Methodist Church. The church has been involved in community affairs throughout its history. The church sponsored Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Explorer units and Girl Scout groups. Troops were taken on trips such as sailing and camping. Boy Scout Troop No. 701 and Girl Scout No. Troop 102 are two of the most famous groups from this church. Boy Scout Troop 701 dates it origins to 1917 and Girl Scout Troop 102 dates back to 1923. The membership of the church has changed over the years as the neighborhood has changed but the church remains very active in community affairs. 

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