Nurture with Love, Serve with Hope
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH
Meet The Pastor
Meet the Staff & Leaders
Having started in May 2014, Pastor Elaina Salmon is excited to companion the people of Bethany Lutheran Church on the journey of faith. She has been called here to foster renewal and growth in faith, worship, outreach and stewardship.
Pastor Elaina has served in two other congregations--Lutheran Church of the Cross, Muncie,IN (5+years of ministry) and Ashburn Lutheran Church, Chicago (3 month interim position). She loves being a pastor! It brings together her love of God and love of people.
Her husband and two children bring laughter, love, messes and craziness to her life! For fun, Pastor Elaina enjoys reading, playing frisbee, dancing, trying new recipes, watching shows like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. and squeezing in time for a bit of exercise.
Bethany is part of the ELCA, a denomination made up of over 10,000 congregations and over 4 million members. As ELCA Lutherans, we believe in God who created and loves all of creation -- the earth and the seas and all of the world’s inhabitants. We believe that God's Son, Jesus Christ, transforms lives through his death on the cross and his new life. We trust that God's Spirit is active in the world.
The Church Council, made up of 12 Bethany members, works with the pastor in the areas of visioning and strategic planning.
Marge McLaughlin -
In the late 1860’s, Swedish families arrived in America with the same hopes as all immigrants--a better life. The limestone quarries along the Illinois and Michigan canal proved to be the ticket to just that and so they headed to Lemont and settled on what became known as Swede’s Hill. Though they were acclimating to a melting pot of cultures in Lemont, these families held tight to Swedish traditions which not only comforted them in their fears but reminded them of their identity. Key to their Swedish identity were their Lutheran roots as well as their commitment to be a family of God (forsamlingen) in America. This led to the prayer meetings at the homes of Swedish Lutheran families followed by the decision to form a congregation. On September 22nd of 1872, Svenska Evangeliska Lutherska Bethania was formally organized with a membership of 31 Swedish immigrants.
When the congregation outgrew its first frame building, a new church was built in 1895. Though the exterior was constructed of Lemont limestone, the interior resembled the design of a typical Church of Sweden sanctuary. Worship services were conducted in Swedish and Bethany offered a Swedish school so that children could learn to read and write in the mother tongue. It was not until 1937 that all worship services were held in English. Three years later, the church name was changed to Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Over the years, pastors [CLICK HERE SEE BETHANY’S PASTORS PAGE] came and went... parishioners celebrated the the baptisms of new generations of Bethany members and mourned the deaths of their forebears...children heard in English the same Bible stories their counterparts a century earlier had heard in Swedish...the Sewing Society sewed and the Quilting Circle quilted...thousands of pounds of non-perishables were donated and then given to neighbors in need. And the old Swedish hymn Children of the Heavenly Father was sung again and again...which only makes sense in this American forsamlingen...in this family of God.