Church Vision Bethlehem Lutheran is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is a member of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin. Our Vision Statement is that we are "God's family, Serving Christ with Love". Our goal is to live this vision, to be a caring and connected group that works together serving Christ, and the community with compassion and love.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church was formally organized on November 27, 1938 after Rev. Dwight Shelhart, a synod missionary arrived in Portage. Charter members included 68 confirmed and 38 baptized. Worship services were held at the local St. John’s Episcopal Church. In 1939 the congregation purchased Engle Funeral Home, remodeled and dedicated it. In May, 1949 it was voted to purchase the property at the corner of Franklin and DeWitt Streets. The corner stone was laid on October 28, 1951 and on November 30, 1952 members dedicated the new church. As the congregation grew, expansion was necessary. In 1964 a Parsonage house was built and a Parish house was completed in 1976. The church then spread out into various structures using them for Christian education, administration, and community purposes for many years until the multiple buildings became cumbersome. In 1998 the purchase of 20 acres of land was made for the current building at W8267 Highway 33 East, Portage, WI. Construction began in Spring 2004 and in February 2006 the congregation moved to the new building, holding its first worship service.
Pastor Jen Johnson