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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BETHLEHEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

BETHLEHEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

BETHLEHEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (1888-1954), at the corner of Broadway and Fowler avenues, had its origins in Protestant missionary work among Czech immigrants in Cleveland in the early 1880s. In 1883 a Bohemian Mission Board of Cleveland was incorporated to coordinate the work of Cleveland Congregational churches with the Bohemian colony, and in 1884 Bethlehem Church was built at the corner of Broadway and Fowler. Named for the church in Prague in which the Bohemian martyr John Huss had preached, the church was dedicated in Jan. 1885 by Dr. HENRY A. SCHAUFFLER. In Mar. 1888 a wooden structure, Bethlehem Congregational Church, was organized with the aid of a council of Cleveland Congregational churches. The cornerstone for a new chapel was laid on the original site on 2 Nov. 1919. The brick chapel served as a sanctuary and a chapel for SCHAUFFLER COLLEGE OF RELIGIOUS & SOCIAL WORK. The merger of Schauffler College with Oberlin College, population shifts, and steadily declining membership led to the dissolution of Bethlehem Congregational Church in 1954.


See also CONGREGATIONALISTS, RELIGION.