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Bethlehem Lutheran Church Records (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

 Record Group
Identifier: Collection ID-0279


  • 1888 - 2013

Biographical / Historical

Bethlehem Lutheran Church was officially organized on May 13, 1888. Church services were held as early as 1886 in Bethlehem Lutheran School by Rev. Henry Sprengler and Rev. W. Knief. The school had been built as a branch of Trinity Lutheran School in 1883. In 1887, the school was moved one-half block west so the church could be built on the corner. The cornerstone for the church was laid on September 23, 1887. Ninety-three members were released from Trinity to the newly-formed Bethlehem congregation. The building was dedicated on August 19, 1888. By January 1898, the building was too small for its 1533 members, so it was enlarged by adding a transept and was rededicated on August 21, 1898. In 1910, Bethlehem became the first "German church" to hold English services. As of 1988, the church was no longer a suburban church of German immigrants, but a racially mixed city center church. On March 19, 2000 a service of Unity and Celebration took place in joining Bethlehem and Hope Lutheran Church (Milwaukee Wisconsin) as a dual parish. Bethlehem closed on August 11, 2013.

List of Pastors

  • John C. Schlerf 1898-1910
  • Oscar Kaiser 1910-1942 head pastor, 1942-1952 assistant pastor
  • Clarence Kaiser 1925-1942 assistant pastor 1942-1952 head pastor
  • Harvey Wangerin 1953-1965
  • James Farrelly called as lay minister in 1963-1968
  • Wilbert Sallach 1965-1970
  • Philip Schmidt 1968-1970 assistant pastor
  • William Lewis 1970-1973
  • Paul Nehrig 1975-1978
  • David Boettcher 1979-?
  • (incomplete list)


4 Linear Feet (Three cubic foot boxes, One 5" legal box, One small flat box, One loose church record book)

Language of Materials



Physical Location -

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Concordia Historical Institute Repository

804 Seminary Place
Saint Louis MO 63105 USA