History of Bethel Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Florida

11/06/72   –         Rev. Carl A. Sammetinger of Miami, Florida, came to the northeast Clearwater area as Mission Developer for the Florida-Georgia District.

01/05/74   –         The first meeting of a group of Christians interested in starting a new Lutheran mission was held.

01/26/75   –         The first service of worship was held at the Recreation Hall of Bays End Manor with 56 persons in attendance.

05/04/75   –         The congregation was officially organized as Bethel Lutheran Church. The first members were received: 25 adults and 5 children signed the Charter.

06/18/75   –         The Congregation received its official Charter from the State of Florida.

05/20/76   –         The present church site was purchased.

06/06/76   –         The contract was signed with William H. Mason, Architect.

03/13/77   –         A groundbreaking ceremony for our church was held.

08/07/77   –         The first service of Worship was held in the newly completed church.

01/22/78   –         Our House of God was dedicated to the glory of God.

06/16/78   –         Bethel Lutheran Church was accepted into the membership of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

05/04/80   –         Our fifth anniversary celebration was held.

10/31/82   –         Groundbreaking for the expansion of our House of God was held.

02/20/83   –         We rededicated our House of God to the glory of His Holy Name.

05/05/85   –         Our tenth anniversary celebration was held.

03/30/87   –         Rev. Timothy J. Parsch was installed as Associate Pastor.

11/87        –         Our new addition was completed.

06/30/91   –         Rev. Carl A. Sammetinger retired after faithfully serving forty years in the ministry.

09/91        –         Rev. Timothy J. Parsch was called as Administrative Pastor.

10/06/91   –         Groundbreaking ceremony for our new sanctuary was held.

04/05/92   –         Dedication of our new sanctuary and remodeled existing facilities was held to the glory of God.

10/01/94   –         Rev. Walter R. Holzheimer assumed the duties of Pastoral Assistant.

03/26/95   –         The 20th anniversary of Bethel Lutheran Church was celebrated.

03/31/96   –         Sing a New Song, supplemental songbook was dedicated.

09/96        –         Sanctuary renovation begins to add seating and increase visibility from the balcony.

01/19/97   –         Dedication service for the Allen MDS-40-SSC Digital Organ was held.

09/13/97   –         Pastor Parsch was married to Sherri Sloatman Stuart

09/23/97   –         Rev. Walter R. Holzheimer was called home to heaven and received the Crown of Life from Jesus Christ

09/28/97   –         Memorial Service for Reverend Walter R. Holzheimer

11/16/97   –         Arnold E. Kromphardt, LL.D., installed as Pastoral Assistant

11/29&30/97      –        Bethel celebrates the 150th anniversary of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod with special services and seminars led by Dr. Paul A. Maier

12/13/98   –         Dedication service for the Schulmerich Carillons Novabell III system

6/29/99     –         Purchase of land adjacent to the church to be used for overflow parking

10/99        –         Prayer/Meditation Garden built as part of Eagle Scout Project

11/13&14/99      Celebration of the 25th anniversary of Rev. T. J. Parsch in the office of the Holy Ministry

3/1/00       –         The Reverend Jack E. Jacobsen, Ph.D., installed as Pastoral Assistant

4/16/00     –         Congregational Voter’s Assembly approved contract for architectural & structural design services with Gould Evans Associates to program and design expansion

1/10/01     –         Began design meetings with architects

3/11/01     –         The Reverend Timothy J. Parsch was awarded Doctor of Divinity degree from the Minnesota Graduate School of Theology

5/20/01     –         Constitution Revision approved by Voters Assembly

10/07/01   –         Suzuki Tone Chimes dedicated

6/7/02       –         LCEF Mortgage Loan for 1992 construction Paid In Full

8/18/02     –         Vicar Benjamin Harju inducted

9/03          –         Rev. Robert C. Elsner installed as Pastoral Assistant

5/04          –         Received design models and renderings for building expansion project

11/04        –         “Visions of Opportunity From Hearts of Gratitude” / Stewardship Program

4/19/05     –         LCEF Loan Closing held for building expansion program

5/8/05       –         Groundbreaking ceremony held for $3.2-million expansion program to build a new Fellowship Hall/administrative office space, renovate & enlarge classroom space, enlarge sanctuary

5/31/05     –         Fellowship Hall demolished – construction begins!

2/18/07     –         Newly renovated & constructed facilities were dedicated.

1/2008      –         Voter’s Assembly approved the Call of Andrew Stumpf, DCE

7/6/08       –         Andrew Stumpf installed as Director of Christian Education

11/13/11   –         Call Committee begins search for qualified candidate

9/8/13       –         Garden of Faith dedicated

1/12/13     –         Voter’s Assembly approved the Call of Eric T. Eichinger, Associate Pastor

3/30/14     –         The Reverend Eric T. Eichinger installed as Associate Pastor

4/02/16     –         The Reverend Doctor Timothy J. Parsch Retires

4/02/16     –         The Reverend Eric T. Eichinger installed as Administrative Pastor.