The Mission Board of the Augustana Lutheran Synod sent the Rev. F. Lagerman to Colorado in 1876 to investigate the prospects of organizing Swedish Lutheran Churches in Colorado. On September 20, 1878, six people met to organize the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church (now Augustana Lutheran Church). Dr. Johannes Tellen, was called by the Mission Board to take charge of this small congregation. He arrived on April 7, 1880 and stayed until 1884.
Dr. G. A. Brandelle was called to Denver as Augustana Church’s second pastor. He delivered his first sermon on July 12, 1884. In 1886, lots for a mission were purchased at 38th and Franklin St. for $850.00. A chapel was built on these lots in 1887 to serve the Swedish people in the area. (This building still exists as a church building). The Augustana pastors conducted weekly services there for many years.
In 1907 Dr. Robert P. Acsell was sent by the Augustana Mission Board to organize and become Bethany’s first pastor. “The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Bethany” Church was organized, January 29, 1908. He served as pastor until he retired in 1935.
A new church building and parsonage at 32nd and Gilpin was started in September 1908. Four pastors faithfully served Bethany in this location. Many of these were hard years for the church. World War I brought hardships especially during the flu epidemic of 1918 – 1918 when fourteen of the members of this small church died.
The depression and drought of 1930 also caused much hardship as many of the church were without work.
Then World War II again tested and brought much sorrow to the members of the church. Fifty-six members were on the service rolls, and one member paid a supreme sacrifice.
On March 13, 1955, the decision was made by the congregation to purchase lots on East Hampden. The first unit of a new church was completed June 8, 1958. This building was expanded during the years and completed in early 1972.
On the morning of November 15, 1984 at 2:50 AM a three-alarm fire engulfed and destroyed the entire sanctuary. Fundraising began immediately, and on January 5, 1986 groundbreaking took place for the present building. On June 28, 1987 the first service was held.
Bethany has had nine Senior Pastors. Pastor Ron Glusenkamp accepted Bethany’s call as Senior Pastor in 2006, serving until 2014. Bethany Lutheran Church now has over 4,000 baptized members. Pastor Ruth Ann Loughry accepted Bethany’s call as Associate Pastor in 2007, serving until 2014.
2015: Bethany Lutheran Church now has over 4,000 baptized members. Pastor Debra Engquist served as Interim Lead Pastor while the search for a permanent Lead Pastor was underway. Pastor Russ Britton joined the Bethany staff in 2014 and now serves as Associate Pastor. Pastor Brigette Weier, Pastor of Faith Formation joined Bethany in the Fall of 2015.
2016: Lead Pastor Gary Sandberg was called and installed to Bethany Lutheran Church in Summer of 2016.