Friday, September 3, 2010
Bethany Lutheran Church (ELCA), Rural Axtell, NE
Just south of Highway 44 near Axtell, Nebraska stands Bethany Lutheran Church. Swedish immigrants began to call Kearney County home as early as 1873 and in 1876, Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church became the first church in Kearney County. A sod church was built in 1878 and the current building dates from 1885.
The church's exterior has changed very little since its construction.
Note the ornate pressed tin shingles and pinnacles which grace the steeple.
The rather humble exterior gives way to a soaring interior that is nothing short of impressive!
Dominating the sanctuary is the altar painting, He Dwelt Among Us, painted in 1900 by famed Swedish painter Olof Grafström.
The interior is further enhanced by a large "U" shaped balcony.
Notice how the walls gracefully curve and flow into the ceiling.
Lots of light, shadows, and lines!
Bethany also features a very large pipe organ in the gallery.
For more information on this particular instrument, click here.
The length of the pillars more clearly shows the height of the interior.
The nave windows feature a slightly more ornate design, though they are largely obscured by the balcony.
The facade windows are a bit more simple, and perhaps older.