Under the Pastoral care of the Rev. David Earhart, our church was organized as a congregation on April 1, 1850. Founded as St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, the original 19 members soon secured property on Leechburg Road (behind what is now Clementine’s Restaurant) and constructed a frame church building. On November 2, 1852 the building was dedicated as Bethesda Evangelical Lutheran Church.
As the congregation grew, the need arose for construction of a new church closer to the homes of the members. A site near the present Burrell Lake Park was chosen. The adjacent Bethesda Cemetery is still located in Upper Burrell Township. Worship services were held for two years in Yetter's school house. This church was built during the Civil War years and was dedicated on Sunday June 26 1864 by The Rev. L. M. Kuhns. Which is located on Bethesda Drive off Markle Road at Schafer Drive on one end of Bethesda Drive and Guyer Road at the other end of Bethesda Drive in Upper Burrell Twp.
In the 1920’s, with New Kensington’s development into the “Aluminum City” and additional growth in the areas surrounding Leechburg Road, Bethesda answered the need for a providing convenient place of worship. Construction of our present building was begun in 1940. At a total cost of $9000 and many hours of sweat equity, the ‘new” Bethesda soon became a cornerstone of the growing Lower Burrell community.
In 1957, the sanctuary was enlarged, as you see it today, and the education unit added.
Today, Bethesda Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to grow and thrive, meeting the ever changing needs of the congregation and the community…Loving God, Loving People.