Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
718.748.9502
We welcome the opportunity to host your special occasion or see you at our Sunday worship service. Although the heart of our church is our members, the building itself and its fixtures are renowned for their beauty and simple dignity.  

Our Church Building

The present Bethlehem Lutheran Church building was constructed between 1922 and 1930. The church was designed by Koch & Wagner (32 Court Street, Brooklyn), one of New York's most prominent architecture firms --- the designers of the landmark Ralph Bunche House, numerous public buildings and banks, and parts of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. The exterior dimensions are 90 by 50 feet. It has a massive tower rising to a height of 75 feet and is built of gray tapestry brick ornamented with terra cotta trim. Bethlehem's church is of English Gothic design throughout, with an interior space richly decorated and trimmed with polished oak.  

The windows are all of opalescent glass, each set with a hand painted symbol and painted Gothic leaves in red and blue. A focal point is the "Christ blessing the children" interior art glass. The organ, built by George Kilgen & Son of St. Louis, Missouri, contains 533 pipes and 418 notes. In 1937 it was augmented by the Opus 6494 organ panel by the M. P. Möller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland.  

The main auditorium seats 330, with an additional 96 in the gallery, and 24 choir stalls. The entire cost of the church and adjoining parsonage, including all furnishings, was $140,000 in 1930 (more than $1.89 million in 2014 dollars).  

Member Donations

It is appropriate to remember and acknowledge the members of Bethlehem who helped organize our congregation and in the 1920's contributed to our beautiful church building. When you visit Bethlehem you will see how some of their dedication lives to this day for the benefit and enjoyment of all who worship here. Researching our records is a never ending project, but here are just a few of the contributions that are memorialized in our church building.  

Lily window over the gallery/entrance: In memory of Mathilda Hirschmann nee Koehler 1895 - 1929 presented by Mr. Henry Hirschmann and the Koehler Family. In 2015 the window was restored through a generous bequest, and in loving memory of Howard, Winnie and Donald Kaliebe.
Close up of the Lily feature.
Two Rose windows flank each side of the Lily glass.
Each of our side windows has the same general pattern with floral and Gothic motifs, crests on each side, and a different glass feature in the center.  The following images will display each one separately.
The donation is noted in the window itself.
Alpha/Omega window: Presented by Mr. & Mrs. Fred B. Newman
Baptismal Font window: In memory of Julius F. Breden presented by Mrs. Bertha Breden
Chalice window: In memory of Richard Zeller presented by the Congregation
Crown/Anchor window: Given in memory of Joachim Wilkens by his wife and children
Faith, Hope & Charity window: Presented by Fred Koehler, Sr.
IHS window: In memory of her parents Peter & Elsabe Jappe by Mrs. John F. Dunker
God is Love window: In memory of her parents Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Springer by Mrs. John Osterndorf
Palms window: In memory of Anna Schumacher nee Tietjen 1864 - 1929
Christ Blessing the Children interior Baptismal window: In memory of Anna Topp presented by Mr. & Mrs. Martin Topp
Window over altar, presented by Mr. & Mrs. Fred G. Stumpf
Windows
Study / Reception Room

  • Original furnishings: Presented by the Bethlehem Quilting Club 
  • Room: Gladys Koehler (September 30, 1905 - June 4, 1944) 
  • Window: In memory of Martha Wilkens (August 7, 1872 - December 21, 1943) 
  • Refurnishing: In memory of Henry H. Lowe (September 29, 1908 - August 9, 1974)

Altar


  • Altar: Presented by Bethlehem Ladies Aid Society 
  • Pastor's Pulpit: In memory of Henry & Louise Kliebe by Miss Ethel Kliebe 
  • Lectern: Presented by Bethlehem Walther League 
  • Clergy Seat: Presented by the Camp Fire Girls 
  • Clergy Seat: Presented by Mrs. John Wilkens & her daughter Mrs. John Bauer 
  • Floor Candles: In loving memory of Emma H. Fischer 
  • Alms Basin and Offering Plates: In memory of her father - Charles Anderson - presented by Lillian A. Koehler 
  • Bible stand: In memory of Paul G. Lieneck, Jr. presented by Miss Meta Lieneck 
  • Altar candles (2): In memory of Paul G. Lieneck, Jr. presented by Miss Meta Lieneck 
  • Altar vases (2): In memory of Frederick W. Lieneck 
  • Altar cross: In memory of Maria Lieneck presented by Miss Meta Lieneck 
  • Crucifix: In memory of the parents of Rose & Rudy Mattfeld 
  • Communion Set and Tray: Presented by Mr. & Mrs. John F. Dunker 
  • Organ: In memory of Henry & Anna Bahrenburg and William & Meta M. Rose presented by Mr. & Mrs. John H. Bahrenburg 
  • Advent Wreath & Stand: In memory of Gail Topp presented by Bethlehem's Choir (2007)

Church Interior & Exterior 

  • Baptismal font: In memory of Mary Bauer presented by Mr. Christian Bauer, Mrs. Anna Brown and Mr. John Bauer 
  • Hymn boards: Presented by Master Warren Dunker & Miss Audrey Dunker 
  • Crosses with Norwegian Rosemaling: Created and presented by Ellen Fjermedal 
  • Pews: Presented by the Bethlehem Ladies' Aid Society 
  • Exterior sign: Presented by the Bethlehem Brotherhood 
  • 100th Anniversary oil painting of Bethlehem Lutheran Church: Painted and presented by Ellen Fjermedal (2005) 
  • Bench in courtyard: In memory of Peter Hansen 
  • Set of 37 Schulmerich Handbells originally donated by LES: Reconditioned in memory of Dorothy Topp (2010) 
  • Carillon in bell tower: In memory of those listed on the plaque (2011)
  • Nilavilakku Oil Lamp: In memory of Mrs. Thompson presented by Paul Paulraj
  • Stained glass windows restored in memory of Howard, Winnie and Donald Kaliebe (2015)
Church interior looking toward altar
Church interior looking toward entrance
Church ceiling
Altar
Altar
100th Anniversary oil painting of Bethlehem Lutheran Church; Painted and presented by Ellen Fjermedal (2005)
Nilavilakku Oil Lamp donated by Paul Paulraj in memory of Mrs. Thompson
Exterior sign on corner of 4th & Ovington Avenues, presented by the Bethlehem Brotherhood; restored in 2013
Organ built by George Kilgen & Son, contains 533 pipes and 418 notes. Augmented by the Opus 6494 organ panel by the M. P. Möller Company.  Donated in memory of Henry & Anna Bahrenburg and William & Meta M. Rose presented by Mr. & Mrs. John H. Bahrenburg.
Photo Gallery
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Photo Gallery
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Photo Gallery
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Tour our Church
Bethlehem Lutheran Church has been the setting to more than 4,000 Sunday services and hundreds of weddings and baptisms. At Bethlehem we welcome all couples who deeply desire to make their commitment to each other before God in a church setting with their church family present. However, we only perform weddings for couples who have an association with our church, or affiliated ministries (such as our school, senior center or domestic violence center). 
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)


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