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Bethany Lutheran Church papers

Identifier: MSS-303

Scope and Contents

This collection includes various administrative and financial records and reports, as well as publications and bulletins, photographs, and correspondence, and ranges in date from 1870 to about the year 2000. The early records of the church are mostly in the older ledgers and journals and are in Swedish through about 1928-1929, although some groups, like the youth group and Young Ladies Sewing Circle, changed to English at an earlier date. The records from the later years are a combination of ledgers and journals and loose papers in folders. Boxes 1-3 of the photos are older and are from the "old church", while box four is newer photos and from the "new church." Some materials have been separated for conservation treatment.


  • 1800 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions and is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Bethany Lutheran Church maintains copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is one of the oldest churches in Ishpeming, Michigan, and the second oldest ELCA Lutheran church in the Upper Peninsula. It was chartered in October of 1870 by a group of Swedish immigrants. At that time, it was known as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Bethany Church. In 1873, the first minister was called. A church building was built in the 1880's on the corner of Fourth and Division streets in Ishpeming. In the early years, all activities were conducted in Swedish, but by the 1920's, some groups had meetings in English. In 1932, the church decided to have services in English, with one service a month in Swedish. By the 1960's, the wood frame church building was feeling its age and, after much debate, the church purchased property on Mather Avenue in what is known as Ishpeming's Eighth Addition and built a new facility there. The education wing and fellowship hall were built first and for some years the congregation worshipped in the fellowship hall. In 1970 the sanctuary was finished and dedicated, just in time for the centennial festivities. In the early 1980s, the bell tower was removed from the roof and a new roof was built.


24 boxes

Language of Materials

Multiple languages

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These records were donated to the archives by Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ishpeming in the summer of 2014.

Physical Description

Many of the ledgers are old, somewhat musty smelling and should be handled with care. The old (1870-1927) membership records and mininsterial acts records are very fragile and have been digitized.

Bethany Lutheran Church papers
Karen Kasper
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
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