BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
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Bethel Lutheran Church at Hamburg, Virginia was formed in 1858 by members who withdrew from Zion Lutheran Church (Tennessee Synod) due to discontent. The newly established Bethel members united with the Lutheran Synod of Virginia but continued to worship in the same building for another two years before taking steps to build a church of their own near Hamburg.
On January 1, 1861, the Bethel congregation received 225 acres of land on the south side of Zion Church farm. This land was Bethel’s share of land granted to Zion Church in 1781 by Lord Fairfax. The cornerstone was laid on the day that Fort Sumter was fired upon, which was the beginning of the Civil War. Because of the war, only the frame of the church was erected. Six years later, in 1867, the entire new building was completed. It was valued at $5,000 and at this time the Bethel congregation had 74 members.
In 1884, Bethel became a member of the Mount Jackson Parish with St. James and Mount Calvary. In 1951 Bethel became a member of the Edinburg Parish with Zion and St. Jacobs. With the desire to be independent growing and the need for Bethel to have its own pastor, Bethel left the Edinburg Parish in 1992.
The new addition of a social hall was added to the church in 2005. Today Bethel uses this space for many reunions, homecomings, and receptions. In its 154 years, Bethel has continued to have dedicated parishioners attending every Sunday to join in fellowship and worship. Over the years, twenty-two pastors have led sermons at Bethel and the current Pastor Kenn Nilsen has served since 1999.
Pastor Kenn retired in December 2014 and we are currently in search of a new minister through the ELCA and the VA Synod and using supply ministers for weekly worship.
On Sunday, September 16, 2018, our search ended as we installed Pastor Kirk Shipley as our new minister.