In the early 1950's an interest was shown by some members of Hope Reformed Church of Sheboygan, WI to establish another Reformed Church near the southern boundries of the city. At a congregational meeting of Hope Church in 1955, a policy was adopted to provide assistance for such a move. Two years later several men began actual planning for the new church and the first meeting of those interested in this venture was held, with 17 families in attendance. With the help of Rev. Harold Colenbrander, a steering committee was appointed to look for a building in which to conduct services.
The first worship service was held on May 4, 1958 in the James Madison Elementary School, with 32 families in attendance. After five weeks it was necessary to move to the Y.M.C.A. where services were held for more than one year. It was in June of that year that the name, Bethany Reformed Church was officially adopted. Hope Church, in a dramatic gesture of support, presented nearly ten acres of excellent property to Bethany, immediately across from the new South High School. That summer Mr. Donald De Braal served the congregation as student pastor.
The official organization of the Bethany Reformed Church was held at Hope Church on September 22, 1958. Thirty-four families then became charter members. This included 65 communicant members and 66 baptized non-communicants, one person made profession of faith and another reaffirmation of faith at the time of the service.
The first permanent pastor of Bethany Church, the Rev. Harold Lenters, was installed at hope Church on June 22, 1959. Just a few weeks later the ground breaking service for the Educational Unit (the temporary sanctuary) was held with the cornerstone of the building being laid on December 7,1959. The new building was dedicated to the Glory of God at a special service on September 18, 1960.
In the following years the membership of Bethany grew steadily, and the leadership began to develop among many members who had not previously been involved in the work of Christ's church. In November of 1964 Pastor Lenters accepted a call to serve a church in Florida. After several months of being vacant, Bethany was the scene of the Ordination and Installation of the Rev. Bruce Laverman on June 16, 1965.
In May of 1969, Rev. Laverman accepted a call to Palos Heights, Illinois. A called was extended to Rev. Delmar Thiesse and he was installed on October 2, 1969.
During the summer of 1969 it became evident that Bethany had grown to the point that the present facilities were being taxed. At a congregational meeting in December 1969 it was decided to engage an architect to make a preliminary study of our needs and present sketches of a proposed building addition. After several congregational meetings the decision to proceed with the building of a sanctuary and parsonage was approved. Plans were completed and ground breaking was October 18, 1970 with completion in 1971.
Bethany has been served by seven pastors: the Rev. Harold Lenters; the Rev. Bruce Laverman; the Rev Del Thiesse; the Rev Larry Izenbart, the Rev. Al Pruis; the Rev. Lyle Zumdahl; and is currently being served by the Rev. Bruce Wilterdink, Interim Senior Pastor. The Lord has blessed Bethany with several student pastors and associate pastors as well.
In 1994 Bethany added a seeker's service on Saturday Night. Many said it couldn't be done within the Reformed Church and it started as a 9-week trial service. With the many blessings the Lord has given Bethany...the Saturday Night Service is still very much alive many years later. Not long after the beginning of the Saturday Night Service Bethany's membership exploded and there were two more services added to the Sunday morning worship schedule. With four services a weekend Bethany offered a style of worship to fit many needs: Saturday Night - seeker's service; Daybreak - contemporary service; Traditional - yes, a traditional feel; and Triumph - a multi-sensory service.
Being the daughter of Hope Reformed Church and thriving, it was time for Bethany to give Hope a grandchild. In 2010, the Triumph Service stepped out, changed its name to Remedy, and moved downtown to begin its new mission in the downtown area. Remedy is currently led by Pastor Bob Abel.
Bethany continues to thrive and has grown to over 900 members. Through the commitment of reaching out to the Sheboygan area with God's saving grace and healing love, Bethany continues to bring new brothers and sisters into our church family as a wonderful privilege through Christ.
Bethany has been blessed with many pastors, leaders, innovative ideas, new services, building expansions, outreach ministries, and most importantly, believers in Jesus Christ. God continues to use Bethany for His Kingdom's work in an atmosphere of love, excitement, acceptance, and service.
The Lord has truly blessed us through the years and we look forward to the blessings He has in store for our future.