Bethany Lutheran Free Church

A group of people began getting together for worship and prayer in various homes in the Binford area in the late eighties under the leadership of Reverend Ole Swenson.  Reverend Swenson was at the time serving churches in the McVille area.  Homes mentioned mostly in his Ministerial Book as meeting places were those of Tollef Tweed, Eric Watne, Gabriel Gabrielson (Gilbertson), Erik Jacobson, K. J. Tufteland, Eric Ommedal, Swensons, Red Willow and Rorvig schoolhouses.

The Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized at the Erick Jacobson home January 1, 1901 with the following charter members: 

Mr. and Mrs. Tollef Tweed and five children: 

1.     Wilhelm,

2.     Lars Gustav

3.     Alfred

4.     Carl

5.     Dena

Mr. and Mrs. Eric Watne and five children: 

1.     Edwin

2.     Lise

3.     Gerda

4.     Gunhild 

5.     Bertha

Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Gilbertson and six children: 

1.     Sven

2.     Gilbert

3.     Sina

4.     Mary

5.     Olive

6.     Emma

Mr. and Mrs. Lars Ulledal and five children: 

1.     Martha

2.     Gustav

3.     Anna

4.     Reinhart

5.     and Clarence

Jorgen Pederson (Sina Gilbertson) and Inga

Willis T. Tweed

Mrs. Kari Thune

Knudt, Emma, Karoline and Christine.  Other familiar names of the early 1900's are: 



Knudt Oien's







Grove and Gudmundson.

After the church was built they continued to meet in the homes (where it was always good and warm) for Ladies Aid, Mission work, confirmation classes, prayer meetings and business meetings.

The Bethany church is located on Lots 17 and 18 in the City of Binford.  The bell in the steeple was a gift to the congregation from Mrs. Kari Thune, a very faithful church member.

Sunday School picnics and other special occasions were usually held by Jessie Lake, quite a gathering place in those days.

The first baptism recorded after organization was that of Albert Stromme on January 22, 1901.  Also that year was Clara Ulledal and Thoralf Tweed.

The first marriage was that of Mary Gilbertson to Anton Miller at the bride's home, on November 14, 1901.

The first funeral was that of Bertina Ramsfield.

The first confirmation was December 7, 1902 with four members: 

Alfred and Carl Tweed, Edwin Watne, and Olive Gilbertson.  One member of this class is still living, Edwin Watne, who lives together with his wife in Glenfield, North Dakota

Some families of the north end of the county decided to start another congregation: 

Bethlehem -Willow, as distance was a hindrance in those days.  They organized in July of the same year at the Gabriel Gabrielson home.  Charter members were the K. J. Tufteland family, Erick Jacobson and family and the Eric Ommedal's.  At their second meeting, they were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Anton Miller, the Emil and Peter Miller families.  They continued to share pastors with Bethany until November 17, 1959, when they accepted the invitation of Bethany to join with them.  The following pastors have served the congregation:

Reverend O. Swenson            January 1, 1901-November 19, 1911

Reverend L. M. Halling            March 1, 1912-November 15, 1933

Reverend Ingvald Norum July 1, 1935-December 1, 1938

Reverend John Loland            April 1, 1939-August 31, 1947

Reverend George Melby  March 21, 1948-til fall of '49

Reverend M. E. Helland            October 5, 1950-June 5, 1960

Reverend Oscar Johnson            February 1, 1960-Dec., 1962

Reverend Ernest Langness            December 1, 1963-July 1, 1971

Reverend Kenneth Anderson            Aug., 1972 -

During vacancies we have had the services of several pastors from the Zion Lutheran Brethren Church of Cooperstown and others.  The past two summers, our pastor has been assisted by Seminary students - namely Timothy Skramstad of Valley City, North Dakota and Dean Casselton of Mound, Minnesota

Bethany is still a very active congregation concerned for the salvation of souls and is affiliated with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 16

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