Chicago Lutheran History: Bethel Lutheran Church-1894

James Huenink
3 min readMay 4, 2021

*Edit: A reader from the Logan Square Preservation Archive sent me a photograph. Thank you!

In 1896, the German Lutheran churches of Chicago published Geschichte der Gründung und Ausbreitung der zur Synode von Missouri, Ohio und Andern Staaten gehörenden Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gemeinden U. A. C. zu Chicago, Illinois, a history of their growth in the city beginning with First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, now located on LaSalle and Goethe streets in Chicago. As far as I know, there is no English translation of this document, so I offer this translation to share this history with you. Follow me to get updates about the rest of this work.

Photograph courtesy of the Logan Square Preservation Archive

Bethel Lutheran Church served on the corner of Springfield and Hirsch since they bought the property in 1895. While they hadn’t built a building by the time the history was published, the final building was built in 1910, or at least that’s what it says on the building’s cornerstone. Bethel’s building is now a New Life church, a Chicago mini-denomination with 20 churches. According to their Facebook group, Bethel gave the building to New Life when they closed in 2008.

Unfortunately, I have no documents or photographs to share about the church. Even the history doesn’t have an illustration of the church building, since it hadn’t been built by 1896. If any of my readers have anything they would like to submit to improve the article, send it to me, and I’ll include it.

Evangelical Lutheran Bethel Congregation

Preaching station and local school, Kamerling and Crawford Ave

Pastor: C. A. E. Pfund, 623 Springfield Ave

A number of Lutheran Christians lived a few miles northwest of Emmaus church. These people were consulted by Pastor M. Fülling, and mission school was set up at Chicago and Lawndale Avenue, in which classes were held by students in the day school and sermons preached on Sundays. Later, they rented a suitable site at 40th Street and Grand Ave. There they organized the Evangelical Lutheran Bethel Congregation on the 22nd of June, 1894. 5 members secured their release from Emmaus Congregation, and they, along with some other Lutherans, signed the constitution. On the 11th of July, 1894, the preaching candidate, C. A. E. Pfund was called, and on the 2nd of September, the 15th Sunday after Trinity, he was ordained and installed by Pastor M. Fülling. On the 10th of July, 1895, the congregation bought two lots on the northwest corner of Springfield Ave and Frederick Str., to build a church. Currently, classes and divine services are still being held at the premises on Kamerling and Crawford Ave.

This congregation was considered a mission station, and it was supported by the treasury for Inner Mission. 19 members belong to the congregation, and 45 families attend divine services. 25 children attend the school. Building a church should be undertaken in earnest in the near future.