A Brief History

First English Church
Just look for the big white church
on the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 8th Street
The first worship service was held in July 1905 with Rev. CT Carlson, Pastor. This new congregation was called, Bethlehem Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1906 the property on the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 8th Street was purchased.


Services were originally conducted in Swedish and held in the Basement of the Church. The Swedish language was dropped in 1921 and the name of the Church changed to “First English Evangelical Lutheran Church” in 1926. The original building has been expanded twice, once in 1948 and again in 1990.


Pastor Barb Gwynn


Pastor Barb


Apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus:I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Eph. 3:16-19

Nearly every church in America remembers a time when sanctuaries were full of people and young kids and high school youth were all over the place. Post WWII families (yes, “baby boomers”) boosted church attendance in waves of growth over 30 years. In that era both church and schools were at the hub of community life. That is no longer the case for our culture. Currently, Americans are awash in individual choices for all we do. The phenomenon has a huge impact on “if” & “when” people seek God within a church.

Don’t’ get me wrong: I see many faithful people involved in the ministry of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church. Thanks be to God! Yet, I know we are being called to new ways of “being church” for a culture that has disengaged with church and steps to the beat of individualized spirituality.

So how will we at FELC know where to begin? Let’s explore the dimensions of faith that Paul describes: the High, Deep & Wide of being relational with God and the people of our world. Let’s go higher in our relationship with God, deeper in side-by-side discipleship and faith practices at FELC, and wider in our relationship with neighbors. Each of these areas has a good base in our church. It’s time to embrace those roots and move creatively into 21st century living.

Stay tuned to The First Inkling as the Holy Spirit expands this conversation over the summer months! I invite you to share your joys of summer and where/when you have realized God’s active presence. How would we do this? You could participate on the FELC Facebook page (internet) and/or a new bulletin board in Bethlehem Hall. Either will be a great place to post your thoughts & photos- and keep sharing the love of Christ.

New life, every morning – in Christ,

Pastor Barb