5303 Madison Avenue
Bethel Park, PA 15102


Our History

Bethany Lutheran Church History
Bethany Lutheran Church History

Inspiring is the history of Bethany Lutheran Church – in a short span of only seven months, during ‘The Great Depression’, the existence of Bethany Lutheran Church went from being an idea shared by four men to becoming a reality when the Church held its first Sunday worship service on July 1, 1934.

As is chronicled in a 1939 pamphlet published by the Church for the celebration of its fifth anniversary: In January of 1934, four Lutheran men got together to discuss the possibility of starting a Lutheran Mission in what was then called Bethel Township. One of those men was the Reverend George Knauff. In February, those same men canvassed the township and contacted 60 families; 47 of those families signed a request that the men start a mission immediately.

On March, 2, 1934, the four met with another eight men and officially organized Bethany Lutheran Church. A short time thereafter, property for the church building was purchased (on what was then known as Bethel Road, today South Park Road) for $1,200.00. On Sunday afternoon, April 8, 1934, ground-breaking services were held with the Reverend George Schuster as speaker and the Reverend Lambert Redelfs officiating. There were more than 500 people in attendance. A week later construction started on the (original) church structure, which had a dimension of only 32 feet by 60 feet, with a seating capacity of 250. On May 20, 1934, a Holy Bible was place inside a block and the cornerstone for the church was laid.

While the church building was still under construction, the congregation called Rev. George Knauff to be the first pastor. On the first day of July 1934, with but only the basement of the church structure complete, Bethany Lutheran Church held its first worship service. One-hundred and eighty-five people were in attendance for that first worship service in the basement! By the end of that July, construction of the church was complete, and on July 29th the congregation held its first service in the church auditorium.

Other historical facts about Bethany Lutheran Church:

  • Sunday, July 29, 1934, the first child was baptized in the church; he was five month old Donald Lee Scharfetter, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Scharfetter.
  • Sunday, August 12, 1934: the first Communion service was held with 118 communing.
  • Sunday September 30, 1934: the congregation was given an opportunity to make a pledge toward the new church – pledges totaled $4,750.00 – that’s approximately $60,000.00 in today’s economy!
  • 1934: the Church organized a Mission Society, which comprised 51 active members.
  • 1935: attendance in the Sunday school increased to about 300 students.
  • 1956: our current sanctuary and fellowship hall was erected onto Bethany Lutheran Church’s original structure; at that time, the original auditorium became part Sunday school classrooms and a meeting hall for the congregational ministries.

our goal:


Worship God | Serve Others | Follow Jesus