Urban Ministry–St. Louis
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran Church is focusing on “vibrant and missional work in their community” in north St. Louis according to their pastor, Rev. Dr. Gerard Bolling. In addition to worship services and Bible study, Bethlehem has outreach all over the northern parts of St. Louis city and county. Their mission program is called “More Greater Things,” and they are working to duplicate this framework into other communities as well as their own.

One of the ways that Bethlehem reaches out to their community is through their program called “Taking Jesus to the Streets.” They had their first event on Easter Sunday. During this event, the congregation held their service outdoors and offered giveaways to people in the community. Pastor Bolling reported that the event was very successful and that they saw over 400 people. They are planning to hold another event in early April in which there will be music, singing, and games for those in attendance. They will have a total of 12 events throughout the spring and summer months.

Currently, Bethlehem provides after school care programs at Saint Matthew in Walnut Park, Saint Peter in Spanish Lake, and Chapel of the Cross in north county as well as at their own site. During the summer, Bethlehem will host summer camp from 9 am to 3:30 pm. In the past they have offered summer camp at three sites, but this year they are increasing to five sites. These sites will be at Grace Chapel, Saint Matthew, Bethlehem, Saint Peter, and Chapel of the Cross, and they are expecting to have an attendance of about 220 children across all of these camps. What a blessing!

Bethlehem also hosts Christ Community Lutheran School (CCLS) micro school that is for students in 3rd-5th grades. They recently received the test scores for their students and 11 of 13 students have increased beyond proficiency. At the micro school the education is individualized; the students work at their own pace rather than following the direction of a teacher in a traditional classroom. Pastor Bolling noted that this model of education has been working well for them and that they have one student in the 5th grade who has finished his course work for the 5th grade and is already beginning 6th grade coursework in April. He said this is unique for a community in which many students are multiple grades behind in their coursework.

We pray God’s blessings on all the work that Pastor Bolling and his ministry are doing in and around Bethlehem!