“The Lord hath helped me hitherto,” or, as they would have said in the early years of our congregation, “Bis hieher hat mich Gott gebracht.” For 125 years, Bethlehem Lutheran Congregation of Evanston, or Deutsche evangelische lutheranische Bethlehems Gemeinde, as it used to be called, has enjoyed the grace of God through good times and bad. This booklet has been prepared to give the reader a sense of the history of our congregation and of the times through which it has survived. Thus the history of the congregation includes notes about the history of the city of Evanston, the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, the United States of America, and the world, as well as the history of the Lutheran churches in America and of other religious organizations in Evanston.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church is, as Richard Avery’s song says, “not a building, not a steeple, not a resting place, but a people.” While many, many more people could have been mentioned in this history, the goal was to produce a booklet, not a book. There- fore the names mentioned are representative of all those who have passed through the doors of our church buildings and into the world.
We pray on this occasion that all who read this booklet will be able to say with us, “The Lord hath helped me hitherto…” and will receive the Holy Spirit to accept Christ as their complete and only Savior from sin so that they may join us in eternal celebration.
Marilyn Gardner – November 5, 1997