Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Pastor's Reflections

The Bethany Swedish Lutheran Congregation in Ishpeming, Michigan was formally organized on October 2, 1870, 150 years ago. October of this year, 2020, was supposed to have included a celebratory worship service and congregational dinner to culminate this 150th anniversary year. Instead, the year of 2020 will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic with most church activities coming to a halt in mid-March as people were encouraged to “shelter in place” and in person gatherings were to include no more than 10 people. Among those cancelled activities were those that were to be part of the anniversary year including those scheduled for this month.

As of now, the plan is to reschedule things for next year, but even that is uncertain as it depends on what the virus does. From the get go, the “experts” haven’t agreed on much but they all seem to agree that there will be another wave later in the year so we’ll have to see how that plays out. For months, it seems that every conversation about this has ended with “We just don’t know,” and that is still the case.

As October begins, life here at Bethany still isn’t close to what we have thought of as normal in the past. In person worship did resume in mid-July and there has been an average of about 20 people in attendance. Most people are still choosing to worship virtually and that’s OK. The quilters have been meeting on Tuesdays, the Weight Watchers people are here on Wednesdays, some committee meetings have taken place in person including council meetings. In October we’ll start with confirmation and Bible study and see how things go. All in person activities are being done with masks and appropriate physical distancing as keeping everyone safe and healthy continues to be a priority.

For me personally, I’ve pretty much tried to continue with the same routine throughout these months. For a long time we weren’t gathering for worship but all along we’ve been recording and offering an online worship option so sermons still have to be written; now I have to have them done by Wednesday as we record on Thursday so that part of my routine has changed. Most of the groups and committees I’m involved with have continued to meet either by phone conference or by ZOOM. I didn’t know what ZOOM was before all this started but now I know not only what ZOOM is but also what ZOOM fatigue is as doing so much with a camera and a screen becomes tiring. On the other hand, without it, things would have been that much more difficult.

The biggest difference for me has been the restrictions on visiting people, especially in hospitals and residential facilities. It’s harder to know what’s going on in people’s lives. On the bright side, there has definitely been a savings on travel and mileage! When I did make a visit to the hospital and they asked if I’d traveled outside of the country in the past two weeks, I said I didn’t think I’d traveled outside of Ishpeming; Marquette and Gwinn, that’s about it.

It most certainly has not been the anniversary year we anticipated. As I keep reminding myself and you though, we worship a God who brings new life out of brokenness. This year of 2020 has felt pretty broken but we trust that somehow God is at work and that something good will come out of it. As far as what that good might be…we just don’t know.

Pastor Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
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one who
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