The Birth of a Congregation

From its very inception, Lutheran Brethren Conference Center, now known as Tuscarora Inn & Conference Center, had stated as one of its goals to plant a congregation with a ministry to the local area.  By the Fall of 1978, the demands of a growing Conference Center ministry made it necessary for the full time staff of Tuscarora Inn, (then 7 people), to develop a Sunday worship service on the Conference Center grounds.  These "magnificent seven," plus the weekend youth staff and the members of the Board of Directors and their families, swelled the ranks to an average attendance of approximately 20 each Sunday.  It was an exciting day when in September of 1980, 19 adults signed a charter, formally instituting Mt. Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church as a Home Mission church within the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.  

The Foundation Laid

Filled with enthusiasm, this young mission congregation soon called their first pastor and by April of 1981, Rev. Rick Bridston arrived.  It was during these formative years that the church reaffirmed her commitment to local ministry and became a "community church" in the best sense of the term.  In December of 1988, a new church facility was constructed (our present site), making the church even more accessible to the community.

The Ministry Established

Rev. Mark Jarvinen, the congregation's second pastor, began his ministry in August of 1989.  He and his family faithfully served Mt. Bethel for over 16 years.  A primary focus of his ministry was to oversee the development of a network of ministries to a cross section of age and interest groups.  With faithful, Christ-centered preaching and programming, a far reaching music ministry, and an intentional concentration on children, youth, and their families, the congregation experienced great growth.

The growth was so great that additional staff persons were added – including first a full-time Youth Director and ultimately an Associate Pastor.  In response to this expanding ministry, the church dedicated an educational wing in April of 1996.

The Ministry Continued

Pastor Chris Priestaf, the congregation’s third pastor, began his ministry in September of 2004 as an Associate Pastor.  He was called to be the Senior Pastor in October of 2006.  God continues to do wonderful things amongst his people at Mt. Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church.  We look forward to God’s continued faithfulness and work in our midst, and pray that people would continue to have their lives changed by His glorious Gospel.