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RG3061.AM:  Bethel United Church of Christ (Nebraska City, Neb.)

Records:  1886-1972

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.


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

Reel 1


  1. Constitution-German Bethel Evangelical Church, 1918.

  2. Constitution-Bethel Evangelical Reformed Church, adopted 9 April 1953.

  3. 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


  1. January, 1892 – January, 1895 – September, 1904 [lacks 1904-1914]

  2. November, 1914 – July, 1925

  3. September, 1925 – October, 1925 [in German to this date]

  4. August, 1942 – December, 1956

  5. December, 1956 – December, 1971

Series 3 – Pastor’s Records, 1887-1970


  1. Rev. F.H. Freund; June, 1887 – May, 1895

  2. 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

Reel 2

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