A Brief History

Bethany Lutheran Church’s History
Bethany Lutheran Church became a reality in 1962 when several families in Leesburg determined there was a need for a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation in this area. The first services were held in members homes and then later in the Leesburg Professional Building, formerly an old hotel at 1112 Main Street, Leesburg. The church charter was filed with the state of Florida in November of 1963. There were 48 charter members.The Griffin Road church site was purchased in 1962 with the help of the Florida-Georgia District. In 1963 this small but growing group made the decision to erect a church building. A groundbreaking service for the new church was held on December 8, 1963. Dedication services were held on May 17, 1964.

In April 1986 the voters approved a remodeling and expansion project of the church facilities. The fellowship hall and the offices were added; the sanctuary was enlarged, and the balcony and stained glass window were added. The present facilities were dedicated on March 22, 1987.

A generous gift from the Ray Graf estate enabled the congregation to purchase a new Allen organ in 1989. In 1991 handbells were acquired through gifts from the congregation and dedicated to the glory of God. In May 1992 a new Young-Chang piano was purchased for the sanctuary. The gift also helped fund the paving of the parking area. It was completed in March 1996.

In April 1997, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the congregation voted to erect a Bell Tower. The Bell Tower was dedicated on February 15, 1998. The congregation also became involved in Habitat for Humanity at this time. They also help support the work of other Christian outreach ministries in Leesburg, nationally and internationally.

Pastors serving Bethany include:
1962 – 1965 Pastor Robert Bannon is installed September 23, 1962, as the first Pastor of Leesburg Lutheran Mission Church of the FL-Ga District.
1965 – 1968 Rev. Richard Arndt installed July 25, 1965. Second pastor of Bethany.
1969 – 1973 Rev. Curtis D. Harper installed. Third pastor of Bethany.
1973 – 1980 Rev. Herman H. Heine installed July 6, 1969. Fourth pastor of Bethany.
1981 – 1982 Rev. Robert Trinklein installed November 29, 1981. Fifth pastor at Bethany.
1983 – 1988 Rev. Arthur T. Kollmeyer installed April 24, 1983. Sixth pastor at Bethany.
1989 – 1997 Rev. John Dede installed April 2, 1989. Seventh pastor at Bethany.
1998 – 2010 Rev. Dr. Gary Genzen installed August 16, 1998. Eighth pastor of Bethany.
2010 -         Rev. Marc D. Spaeth installed May 2, 2010. Ninth pastor of Bethany.