Bethany Lutheran Church

Bethany Lutheran Church (The Evangelical Protestant Church), formally known as the Evangelical-Catholic Church, was organized on March 27, 1887 when, under the leadership of Pastor J. Heinzelmann, who served until April 1891, a new constitution was adopted and church officials chosen.  The name “Evangelical Church”, which accepts the original Augsburg Confession and Luther’s small catechism, was adopted.  Until the congregation erected its own building, worship services were held in the Southern Methodist Church.

The cornerstone was laid on April 14, 1889.  Items placed in the corner stone included the history of the church, and political papers, including a copy of the “Friederichsburger Wochenblatt”, and a number of gold and silver coins.  The church was dedicated on September 17, 1889.  Five months of toil lay between the cornerstone laying and the day of dedication.  The building, constructed of masonry, is of simple Gothic architecture.  It is 36 feet wide, 48 feet long, and 18 feet high to the ceiling with a raised gallery and a 75 foot steeple which is properly equipped with two bells.

By the time the masonry was complete, the necessary lumber was on hand.  It had been delivered to the site by teamsters who brought it from Kerrville.  While the work was being done on the tower, the pulpit, altar, pews, and chancel riser were being completed.  When the last nail was driven, clean-up work began.  Following this was the work of painting, plastering, and whitewashing the walls.  The congregation also installed an organ and built a parsonage near the church.    The parsonage consisted of four rooms, a hall, and a small porch.  Excluding the volunteer labor of many of the members, the cost of the newly constructed church and parsonage was about $4,000.  On the day of dedication, the church stood debt-free.

Electric lighting for the church was installed in February of 1903.  Sometime between the years of 1906 and 1911, during the service of Pastor G. J. Ide, a pipe organ costing $650 was purchased from a company in St. Louis.  A new altar was added in 1912 to replace the first one, which was given to the mission congregation in Kerrville, where it is still in use today.  Sometime after August 1914, the Sunday School was established.  Also in 1914, the Women's Missionary Society was organized.

In 1938, the congregation elected to buy additional property for a much needed expansion.  In 1945, a large two-story house and lot adjoining the church was bought.  The house sold and an educational unit was proposed to be built to which the new church could later be attached.  In 1948, additional land was purchased to give the building site its present size of approximately three acres.  In September of 1953, ground was finally broken for the new structure and building began.  The new buildings were dedicated on August 15, 1954.  In 1963, an annex including classrooms, bathrooms, and offices was added.  In 1992, a new pipe organ was installed.  A new fellowship hall and additional Sunday School rooms were added and dedicated in 2000.