Churches of Miller County
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH, ELDON
The building of the first church at 630 East High originated and was consummated to a great extent by the efforts of Pastor N.H. Schwab, then circuit visitor, who conducted the first services on Sunday evening, 4, 1940, in an abandoned furniture exchange building on West Seventh Street.
Rev. Herbert Pregma, Bunceton; Rev. E. G. Builtman, Honey Creek; and Rev. Peterson Shubert followed as visiting pastors, conducting Sunday night services two times a month.
Pastor Schwab was able to obtain a seminary student, Max Tacheignerer, who conducted the first congregational meeting on October 26, 1947, at which time the organization of the church initiated. The constitution was adopted and the church named Bethany Lutheran on January 18, 1948. The first elected officers were: Wm. Mueller, Chairman; Ray Behrens, Vice-Chairman; and Victor Meyer, Secretary-Treasurer. Other officers elected June, 1948, were: Wm. Mueller and Ray Wallace, Elders; V. Meyer and Roy Behrens, Trustees; Vic Alpers and Ellie Jacobs, Financial Secretary; H. Gershefski and H. Holt, Building Committee; D. Wallace and W. Keturakat, Ushers.
Bethany's Charter was obtained and incorporated under laws of the state of Missouri on August 3, 1949.
Mr. Wm. Mueller donated the lot for the church building and construction started in May, 1949 with the laying of the corner stone July 3, 1949. Pastor Keturakat conducted the first services in the basement September 4, 1949. The building was completed and dedicated on April 30, 1950.
Property at Grand & Jemphrey was purchased in July, 1960 from Mrs. Della Jemphrey. It was the desire of the congregation at that time to build a parsonage and later a new larger Bethany Church.
In September, 1962, the Eldon Congregation voted to withdraw from the dual parish with Versailles and call a pastor to serve Bethany.
In September, 1963, plans were initiated to build a parsonage on the Jemphrey property. The Lawrence Jackson Construction Co. of Eldon was awarded the contract to build with a low bid of $21,500--building to commence May, 1964.
Pastor Donald Veitengruber arrived in June, 1965 and started services not only at Bethany but also at the Glaize Mission, Osage Beach, during the summer months. The parsonage was completed in January, 1965.
During April, 1966, Glaize Chapel, at Osage Beach, started a full-time, year round mission with some of Bethany's members transferring there.
On March 21, 1976 the congregation voted to build a new church at the Grand and Jemphrey property adjacent to the parsonage. A building committee was appointed and plans were initiated.
The old church (East High St.) was sold to J.C.J. Investment Company on July 8, 1977 with provision that the congregation continue meeting there until the new church was completed.
The groundbreaking for the new church was done March 19, 1978. The new Bethany Lutheran Church has become a landmark and conversation piece because of its unique architecture. It is one of the very few structures in Central Missouri designed for the eventual installation of solar heating.
A request from both Bethany and Hope for the division of the Parish was granted by the Mission Board to take effect in January 1979.
The new church building, built by Curtis-Manes of Eldon, was dedicated on December 10, 1978. Pastor Ralph Egolf, who served Bethany during the planning and building of the new church went into semi-retirement, continuing to serve Hope Chapel at Osage Beach. Pastor Stewart Schulz was installed on September 9, 1979 as the first full-time pastor at Bethany.