History

In December 1956, regular worship services and Sunday School started being held under the leadership of Pastor Emil Leising at the small mortuary on South Carson Street. Trinity Lutheran Church in Gardnerville supported the congregation as a mission outreach in Carson City with hopes for further outreach in Reno. Three years later, in 1959, Bethlehem Lutheran Church was formally organized; and in 1960 the church joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). 
 
In 1960, the congregation also called Rev. Rodney Jensen to serve as pastor, who served until 1965. In 1963 the property on Mountain Street was purchased and ground was broken for Bethlehem’s first building. The building was completed and the dedication was held on July 14, 1964. A large fellowship hall was added in 1964-1967, and a four bedroom parsonage was constructed on the site.
 
In 1965 Rev. Fred Rutkowski was called to serve the congregation, serving until 1969. In 1969 Rev. Douglas Thunder was called and served until he resigned in 1978. There was a vacancy in the congregation, but the Lord provided and the congregation was served by a vacancy pastor, Pastor Norman Ellerman until Rev. William Reese accepted the call to serve Bethlehem in 1980.
 
As congregational membership increased, plans were made to construct a new sanctuary on the north end of the Fellowship Hall. The new sanctuary was completed and dedicated in May 1985, along with a J. P. Mӧller pipe organ and chimes. That same year, a morning pre-school for three and four-year-olds was established. Plans for a Lutheran school were also initiated. 
 
In 1987 Pastor Reese accepted a call to serve another congregation, and Rev. Mark Demel accepted the call to Bethlehem. During this time, a Lutheran school was constructed on site. The three-classroom school opened in September 1988 with L. Joe Fichtner as principal and 1st-4th grade teacher and with Kim Kintz as kindergarten teacher. From 1990-93 John Gamble served as principal on a part-time basis. Marvin Laurente succeeded him as principal and teacher. By this time the school had expanded through 8 grades. The first 8th grade class graduated in 1993.
 
As the church and school continued to grow, the congregation voted to begin participation in the vicarage program for seminarians. In December 1989 Kene Whybrew served his vicarage year at Bethlehem, followed by Harold Bender, Jr. and Fred Page III. In the spring of 1993, former Vicar Harold Bender, Jr. accepted Bethlehem’s call to serve as Assistant Pastor, a position he held until November 1996.
 
In 1999 Pastor Demel accepted a call from another church. In March, 2000 Rev. Dr. Paul Deterding accepted the call to Bethlehem and served the congregation until 2008. In 2001 Bethlehem Lutheran School called Lonnie Karges, previously a teacher at the school, to serve as principal. In August 2010 Bethlehem called Rev. Christopher Amen as pastor. Pastor Amen served faithfully for five years, until receiving a call to a different parish in the spring of 2015.
 
In 2016, members of Bethlehem voted to call Pastor Jedidiah Maschke, who accepted the call and was installed in May of that year. Bethlehem continues to serve the community of Carson City in faithfully proclaiming the gifts of Christ in Word and Sacrament and serving the community. Christian Education and fellowship are available to all ages through Little Lambs Pre-School, Bethlehem Lutheran School, Sunday School, youth groups, and various Bible Studies.

2016-present: Rev. Jedidiah Maschke
 
2010-2015: Rev. Christopher Amen
 
2000-2008: Rev. Dr. Paul Deterding
 
1993-1996, Associate: Rev. Harold Bender
 
1987-1999: Rev. Mark Demel
 
1980-1987: Rev. William Reese
 
1969-1978: Rev. Douglas Thunder
 
1965-1969: Rev. Fred Rutkowski
 
1960-1965: Rev. Rodney Jensen
 
1959-1960: Rev. Emil Leising