NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG3061.AM: Bethel United Church of Christ (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Nebraska City, Otoe County, Neb.: United Church of Christ
Size: 2 reels of microfilm
The Bethel United Church of Christ was organized as the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nebraska City by Rev. F.H. Freund on December 4, 1887. For the first two years services were held in the Christian Church and later in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The original church structure was built at Twelfth and First Corso in 1889. Although various improvements in the church edifice were made during the ensuing years, an addition was not made until 1934. This enlargement sufficed until the early 1950s when the congregation’s growth necessitated either a new addition or a completely new structure. In 1954 the church body approved the construction of a new church. The completed building was dedicated on August 25, 1957. The Bethel United Church of Christ celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1962.
The denomination of which the church is a part has changed its name several times. From the Evangelical Lutheran Church, it became the Evangelical Synod of North America. Through a union with the reformed church in 1934 it became the Evangelical and Reformed church. In 1961 the Evangelical and Reformed church merged with the Congregational Christian churches, forming the United Church of Christ.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of the records of the Bethel United Church of Christ, Nebraska City, Nebraska, arranged in four series: 1) Church constitutions, 1918, 1931, 1953, and 1968; 2) Church Secretary’s records, 1892-1971; 3) Pastor’s Records, 1887-1970; and 4) Printed Matter, 1954-1972. The records relate to the history and activities of the church from 1886-1972. Included are the lists of members, baptisms, births, marriages, deaths, confirmants, communicants, financial contributions, minutes of the church council, the official monthly publication entitled The Bethel Beacon, several constitutions of the church, a number of programs, booklets relating to the construction and dedication of the church structure completed in 1957, and a 1972 Church Directory. Other than the absence of the Church Secretary’s records for 1904-1914, the records generally appear to be complete.
Series 1 – Church Constitutions
- Constitution-German Bethel Evangelical Church, 1918.
- Constitution-Bethel Evangelical Reformed Church, adopted 9 April 1953.
- Constitution-Bethel United Church of Christ, revised and adopted 14 January 1968.
Note: Book #4 of the Secretary’s minutes includes the Church’s Constitution as revised and translated from the German language, 11 January 1931, pp. 52-67.
Series 2 – Church Secretary’s Records
- January, 1892 – January, 1895 – September, 1904 [lacks 1904-1914]
- November, 1914 – July, 1925
- September, 1925 – October, 1925 [in German to this date]
- August, 1942 – December, 1956
- December, 1956 – December, 1971
Series 3 – Pastor’s Records, 1887-1970
- Rev. F.H. Freund; June, 1887 – May, 1895
- Rev. P.P. Tester; June, 1895 – March 1909
Rev. F.J. Langhorst; June, 1909 – August, 1914
Rev. W. K. Schulz; August, 1914 – March, 1920
Rev. Theo. Berlekamp; May, 1920 – April 1925
Rev. Geo. F. Duensing; June, 1925 – July, 1954
Rev. A.F. Rinne; August, 1954 – March, 1970
Interim Pastor Wayne W. Wetz; April – June, 1970
Note: Volume 2 also includes a list of members, baptisms, births, marriages, deaths, confirmants, financial contributors, and brief synopses of important events in the church’s history.
Series 4 – Printed Matter, 1954-1972
The Bethel Beacon, Sept. 1954 – March 1956
The Bethel Beacon, April 1956 – Dec. 1971
Printed Material relating to Church Construction and Dedication, 1956-1958
Ladies Aid Fiftieth Anniversary booklet, 1886-1936
Bethel Evangelical Church Fiftieth Anniversary booklet, 1887-1937
Bethel United Church of Christ Seventy-fifth Anniversary booklet, 1887-1962
Church Directory, 1972
Bethel United Church of Christ (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Nebraska
Evangelical Lutheran Church (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Evangelical and Reformed Church (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Lutheran Church in Nebraska
Nebraska City (Neb.) — Churches
Otoe County (Neb.) — Churches
United Church of Christ in Nebraska
Revised 06-08-2009 TMM