Our Story

This is an innovative, compassionate, and welcoming Christian community that is over 165 years old, founded by followers of Jesus in 1865 who were early entrepreneurs in Madison. One of those early Christian entrepreneurs was Halle Steensland, whose historic house is located at the parking lot entrance, built the bridge over the Yahara River in Madison as a gift. Bethel has been building bridges ever since.

With each new generation, Bethel innovated in some new way to build bridges bringing people together and close to Jesus Christ. Through radio programming, TV broadcasts, the internationally known Bethel Bible Series, a 550-acre camp called Bethel Horizons which includes the Adamah Pottery Center, global mission work in Poland, Ukraine, Rwanda, and Puerto Rico, and resettlement of Nepali speaking Bhutanese refugees, who form a part of our worshiping community, Bethel helps overcome what divides people from their neighbor and from God. Today we continue investing in the lives of people to close the gap. Heavily invested in hunger relief, serving with and among people who are experiencing homelessness, working for racial justice and healing in our community, leading in the care for creation, Bethel builds bridges to healing, hope, and community. In worship and study of the Bible, Bethel centers on the source of life in Jesus Christ. Building bridges is rich and rewarding work. It is something Bethel has done for over a century and a half. It is something we will continue doing. Welcome to Bethel.

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