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New pastor hopes to grow Bethany Lutheran Church

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 10:45 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Elaina Salmon started as Bethany Lutheran Church's new pastor May 1.

LEMONT – Bethany Lutheran Church in Lemont is under the leadership of new part-time pastor Elaina Salmon.

Salmon began her ministry May 1 and was officially installed last Sunday.

She previously served as pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Muncie, Ind., and moved to the Chicago area last fall after her husband took a new job. She was looking for a new church to work with and said she was excited when she saw the paperwork for Bethany.

"I saw a strong foundation to build upon," she said. "There was a great sense of hope and determination in that paperwork."

Bethany's church council chairwoman Sandy Doebert said Salmon was approved by a call committee, the church council and the Bethany congregation before she was named the new pastor.

"When you meet her, there is no way not to experience the joy of faith," Doebert said.

She said Salmon also has experience working as a part-time minister with a church that wants to grow. Doebert said the 142-year-old church would like to grow enough to have a full-time pastor.

Salmon said the key to growth is nurturing a vibrant faith community. She is in the process of learning more about the community, which includes moving to Lemont with her husband and two children.

She said she enjoys the peace and quiet of Lemont compared to living in Chicago. The feel of the town is comparable to her hometown of Dixon.

Making house visits and frequenting places in town, she has gotten to know some of the people of Lemont. For instance, she says she goes to the Starbucks at least once a week.

"Now, I can go and bump into somebody I know by name, and that's a good feeling," she said.

Most of all, she is getting to know the people of her congregation.

"I've been very warmly received, cared for and loved already," she said. "I'm in awe of them."

Doebert said the welcoming nature is one of the strengths of the church.

"Even as someone such as myself who did not grow up in Lemont, I've found I have been welcomed as a family member," she said.

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More about Bethany

Bethany Lutheran Church was founded in 1872 by a group of Swedish immigrants. Its current building at 500 Lemont St. was built in 1895. It was not until 1937 that the church held all of its services in English.

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