July Newsletter

Introducing our Vacancy Pastor

Pastor Joel Hess

July 3 was Pastor Kellerman’s last day as pastor of the church. Pastor Joel Hess will take over as vacancy pastor until our congregation can determine how best to configure its future ministry and whom to call to serve as our pastor.

Pastor Hess has served as senior pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in the nearby Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago since 2018. Since last September, Pastor David Keating has assisted him by serving as the associate pastor of that church. St. James is a rather large congregation with a nationally accredited school that serves 200 pupils.

Pastor Hess and Pastor Keating will take turns conducting the worship services at First Bethlehem during the summer. They will both be present at St. James’ 8:30 am service and perhaps for part of their 9:45 am Bible class, but one of them will then come to First Bethlehem for our 10:45 am service. The other will conduct the 11 am worship service at St. James.

This arrangement will work well for the summer when life is a little bit slower at their church. But when the fall comes, they will need both of their pastors at both of their services. Thus, we will have to change our worship service time. Pastor Hess will work with First Bethlehem to arrive at a time that will work best for our church as well as for him.


  • Vacancy pastor: Pastor Joel Hess, assisted by Pastor David Keating.
  • Bible class: Eric, Jon, and Adrian.
  • Bulletin, newsletter, and worship folder preparation: Eddy and Jon.
  • Birthday cards: Sandra.
  • Website: Jon and Terrick.
  • Altar Guild: Tose, Dianny , Eddy, and Vincent.
  • Food Pantry: Kevin and Valencia, with Stan getting the food.


The church council voted to drop the annual church picnic in August, since our anniversary service in May was a comparable social event.

The Wednesday evening Bible class has been dropped for the time being. A weekday Bible class may be revived at a later date.

The Sunday Bible class, Sunday Divine Service, and the food pantry will continue on as usual.