Bethlehem Evangelical Free Church


In the year of 1907 Rev. H. F. Josephson began to hold Sunday evening services in the Bateman Hall above the Bateman Drug Store. About that time the Saron Evangelical Free Church started a branch Sunday School in the Bateman Hall which was conducted Sunday afternoons. R. S. Lunde was the superintendent of the Sunday School. The Sunday evening service and the Sunday School continued in the Bateman Hall until 1909 when the Saron Church purchased the Electrical Building for a Reading Room. The Sunday evening service and the Sunday School were then conducted in the reading room which became known as the Mission

Hall. During this time a number of people were meeting in homes for a mid-week service and a number of women were active in mission aid work. Rev. H. F. Josephson left Cooperstown in 1916 and Rev. L. R. Lunde of the Saron Church continued to hold services in the Mission Hall on Sunday evenings.

In the year of 1919 Rev. Krag Wuflestad organized the "Cooperstown Skandinaviske Missions-forening" and the services continued in the Mission Hall for a short while. In 1920 services were held in the Baptist Church and a move was made to purchase the church from the Baptists. This business deal was made in December of 1920. At a business meeting of the "Missionsforening" on February 1st of 1921 a resolution was made to cal! the church the Bethlehem Evangelical Free Church. Rev. K. P. Wuflestad continued to serve the church as pastor until 1926. Succeeding him as pastors were: Rev. Arthur Larson, 1927-29; Rev. Oscar Mars, 1930-32;. In the year of 1931 the members of the Swedish Mission Church west of Cooperstown joined the Bethlehem Church. Rev. L. R. Lunde of the Saron Church again served as pastor of Bethlehem Church from 1933 to 1937. The pastors serving up to the present time were: Rev. Roy Newlin, 1938-1943; Rev. K. P. Wuflestad, 1944-49; Rev. E. V. Folden, 1949-51; Rev. Arvid Nyquist, 1951-55; and Rev. Carl P. Cornelius from 1955 to the present time.

The charter members of the Bethlehem Evangelical Church were: Mr. R. S. Lunde, Rev. Krag Wuflestad, Mrs. M. R. Wagle, Mrs. Elise Wuflestad, Miss Emma Skaar, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Seldal, Mrs. E. T. Thompson (nee Esther Lunde), Mrs. Clarence Lunde (nee Irma Seldah), Mr. E. T. Thompson, Mr. Christian Haaland, Mrs. R. S. Lunde, Miss Carn Wuflestad, Miss Nora Wuflestad and Mrs. Inga Anderson.

Some of the early members of the church were: Mrs. N. P. Nelson, Miss Emma Dahlborn, Ole Herigstad and Elise Roisland.

Source:  Cooperstown Diamond Jubilee 1882-1957 Page 25

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