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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bethlehem Lutheran dedicates Outdoor Ministry Building

Monday, June 22, 2009

Singing God's Praises in a "Natural" Setting - Pastor Jim Steen (left) and Heidi Church (not pictured) played the guitar, joined by Koreen Anderson on keyboard and Kevin Skadeland on bass, as they led the congregation in singing praise hymns at Sunday's outdoor service. Photo by Dan Whitney.
Congregation members at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee have been blessed with a large lot at their location at 300 E. Bow Dr., allowing them to build a magnificent church building and have a good-sized parking lot.

If one goes behind the church, they would also see a wonderful view overlooking the Little Sioux River Valley. And now, thanks to some hard-working members of the congregation, that view of the surrounding trees and valley will be part of some of the Sunday worship services in the summer.

Several members of the congregation constructed an Outdoor Ministry Building behind the church and the building was dedicated at the Sunday morning service on June 14. Though the skies were threatening as the 9:30 a.m. service began and a few light sprinkles did fall, they were brief and the service went on as scheduled. Had it continued to rain, though, people could have gone to their vehicles, tuned in to 1690 AM on their radio, and still been able to hear the service.

Several members of the congregation brought their own lawn chairs for the service, and for those who didn't, there were comfortable folding chairs available. Rolls and coffee were also served, and several people chose to partake of these items while they participated in the worship service.

Song books had been brought out from the church building, and Pastor Jim Steen and Youth Director Heidi Church began the service by leading the congregation in singing hymns of praise. The two accompanied themselves with acoustic guitars, and Koreen Anderson and Kevin Skadeland added their musical talents on keyboard and electric bass guitar, respectively.

The service then proceeded as usual, a "normal" Sunday morning service - with the obvious exception of the casual setting in the great outdoors.

The Outdoor Ministry Building is a small structure, with crosses on both the northeast and southwest peaks, and it served as an appropriate backdrop for Pastor Steen as he presented his message Sunday. A small altar has also been constructed for the outdor use.

The building is more than just a backdrop for the service, though. It is also very functional. It has a garage door, which lifts up to reveal storage area for church property, including the Congregational float for parades, which is a scale model of the Bethlehem Church. A loft above will also be available for youth gatherings and the grass area around the building, which has a fire pit and picnic table, is available for use by small groups for Bible studies.

Though the outdoor service will not be held each Sunday, the congregation's plan at this time is to make use of this wonderful addition by having services in this setting periodically throughout the summer.

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