Bethesda Lutheran Church in Hot Springs, SD, celebrated its 100th anniversary on July 7th, 2019. The pastors that participated in the worship service were (from L to R): Pastor Gary Jacobsen, current pastor of Bethesda; Pastor Scott Sailer, who was pastor at Bethesda from 1989 to 1994 and is current SD District LCMS President; Pastor Ed Bode who was pastor at Bethesda from 1979 to 1988; and Pastor Robert Nowak who served as a vicar at Bethesda from 1977 to 1978. The first congregational meeting of Bethesda Lutheran Church was held on November 21, 1919. Due to the warm, healing waters of the Evans Plunge and other bath houses in Hot Springs, it was decided to call the church “Bethesda” after the healing pool in Jerusalem. Pastor Scott Sailer’s anniversary sermon, “House of Mercy, Heaven’s Plunge” picked up on this theme.
A large tent was set up on the Bethesda property in the open field of the playground. The main feature of the meal was pulled pork. One of the highlights of the Saturday evening gathering was the opening of the time capsule that was in the cornerstone of the original Bethesda church building. Some of the items in the time capsule were a copy of the Hot Springs Star newspaper, a copy of The Lutheran Witness, a hymn book, Small Catechism, and a Bible.
On Sunday morning, July 7th , the 100th Anniversary worship service began at 9 AM at Bethesda Lutheran Church. Our featured speaker was former Bethesda pastor and current SD District President of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Scott Sailer. The service included communion and other returning former pastors.
Following the service there was an opportunity to view a looping video of historical pictures in the Bethesda Fellowship Hall as well as other displays. In addition, there was an anniversary reception served back under the tent to include cake and a light lunch.
A Thank Offering was collected to help Evergreen Lutheran Church at Porcupine replace their two aging church vans which are used to bring people to worship. Evergreen Lutheran is the church that Larry & Doris Belitz serve as missionaries to. Please consider giving to this special ministry. Thank you!