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Bethany began as World War 2 raged. Port Orchard's population continued to grow as more people moved here to work at the Naval shipyard. The people of Memorial Lutheran Church in Bremerton, saw a need to minister to these families across the inlet and so on June 6, 1944, their pastor and one other member crossed the water between these two towns. Coming ashore they unloaded their supplies of Bibles and other materials to conduct a Vacation Bible School. A year later this outreach effort had grown into a small church family and on October 21, 1945, the first organizational meeting of the "Evangelical Lutheran Church of East Port Orchard" was held. Our name was changed in May of 1946 to "Bethany."
It is a good name for our church family. The "original" Bethany was a small town outside of the big city of Jerusalem. There among close friends Jesus found comfort, a place to rest, and even a home. It was there too, among the hectic everyday schedule of those friends, that He spoke the words which have been our Bethany's motto all these years: "One thing is needful." Mary was pausing amid the busy pace of life to sit at Jesus' feet and hear His Word. 
We pray that our Bethany is the same kind of place as was theirs.
When the war ended many of the ships built by Bethany members were mothballed. In 1991, when we had outgrown our log cabin church on Sydney and were moving into the campus on Tremont, a bell from one of those warships was placed in our belfry. As this congregation began that bell would have sounded out orders and rung out warnings. Now it calls the people of our community to come, as Mary did at that first Bethany, and hear Jesus' Word of peace.
our history
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