Bethany Lutheran Church, 3701 W. Slaughter Lane, is embarking on a new phase in their ministry in South and Southwest Austin and Northern Hays County. On Sunday, June 3, they will dedicate their newly completed Community Life Center. Bethany, originally located at 6215 Manchaca Road, began serving the community in 1962. At that time, approximately 100 people gathered to begin a congregation in what was then far south Austin. Present membership is 2300.
The new 26,000 square foot facility includes a gymnasium, fellowship hall, commercial kitchen, classrooms, and a special area for youth gatherings and activities. It is the second phase of a master plan, the first phase being the construction of a sanctuary, classrooms, and fellowship areas completed in 2000. Bethany presently has four worship services each Sunday. One is a traditional liturgical service, one follows a contemporary format, and two are a blend of both.
2012 is Bethany’s “Jubilee” year, its 50th year as a congregation. During these years, Bethany has served the community in a variety of ways, according to church officials. It has been a meeting place for numerous community groups, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, AA, Better Breathers, neighborhood associations, James Bowie High School choirs, Austin Civic Orchestra, Austin Symphonic Band, professional training associations, divorce and grief support groups, and others. In addition, its preschool as impacted thousands of families over the years, said officials, and continues to be a vital part of Bethany’s ministry.
Integral to Bethany’s mission as a Christian congregation is service to the people in the community. The new facilities were planned and designed to “facilitate” additional opportunities for such service, church officials said. In addition to opening additional physical space for community group meetings, the gymnasium will meet a need for athletic events and activies, and will provide a large meeting space for people of all ages in the community. Bethany will host its third annual heath fare July 28. Plans are also being made for seminars focusing on parenting, family relationships, and the challenges posed by issues related to anxiety, stress, and depression. The topics will be approached from a Christian world-view perspective and open to all.
One of the first activities that will fill the new facilities is Bethany’s Vacation Bible School, to be held June 18-22. A second event is Camp Bethany, which will offer activities for children in grades 1-6 for five summer weeks beginning June 25. For more information regarding either of these two exciting, child friendly events go to www.blcms.org. William B. Knippa is the Senior Pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church. – submitted