At Bethlehem Lutheran Church we welcome your questions. Whether you are planning on visiting for a baptism, looking to find a home congregation or exploring the Christian faith, we hope this page helps to answer some of the questions we are often asked.
Should you have questions which are not on the list below, please do contact us.
Q: Who is Jesus? +-A:
Here is a classic expression of our faith in Jesus Christ adapted from Martin Luther’s small catechism:
“I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord. He is truly God – he has always been the Son of the Father. He is also a real human being, the virgin Mary’s son. Jesus rescued me when I was lost and sentenced to death. He set me free from all my sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.
It cost him more than gold or silver; it cost him his life. Even though he was holy and innocent, he suffered and died for me.
Jesus did this so that I can belong to him, and he can rule over me as my king. I can live under him and serve him, innocent and happy forever, just as he was raised to life, and live and rules forever.
This is certainly true.”
Q: How can I find out more about the Christian faith? +-A:
At Bethlehem we regularly run courses for those who want to learn more about the Christian faith. These are based on the Bible and Luther’s small catechism and often lead to adult baptism, or confirmation (affirmation of faith) for those who may have been baptised as infants. Please contact one of the pastors at the church office if you are interested in finding out more about these opportunities.
Q: Who are Lutherans and what do they believe? +-A:
As Lutherans we understand ourselves first as Christian people belonging to the universal Christian church. Our particular Lutheran heritage goes back to Martin Luther and the other Reformers of the 16th century. These reformers never intended to start a ‘new church’, but simply wanted to see the Church return to her central message of who Jesus Christ is and what he has done in coming to save us.
Bethlehem congregation belongs to the Lutheran Church of Australia. There is a good summary of Lutheran beliefs and practices on their website.
Q: What is involved in being baptised at Bethlehem? +-A:
Whether it’s for an adult or a child the starting place is a conversation with one of our pastors. In the case of an adult this usually leads to a period of learning more about the Christian faith either in a group setting or one-on-one. In the case of children the pastor will arrange to meet with the parents to talk about what baptism entails and organizing practical details.
Q: Is there someone I can talk to about personal issues as they relate to faith? +-A:
Yes, you are welcome to contact one of our pastors at the church office. They are always willing to meet with anyone for a chat.
Q: Where is Bethlehem and where can I park? +-A:
Bethlehem Lutheran Church is located in the Adelaide CBD, on the corner of Flinders St and Sudholz Place. On Sundays there is ample free on-street parking along Flinders St, and during the week there is a small car park directly behind the church you are welcome to use if you’re coming in to meet someone at the church or offices. There is also a U-Park directly behind Bethlehem with reasonable rates.
Q: When are worship services at Bethlehem and what can I expect? +-A:
There are three main services each Sunday at Bethlehem at 9:00am, 11:00am and 7:00pm. At all these services you can expect to find a friendly welcome, the preaching and teaching of God’s word, and the prayers and praises of God’s people. The 9:00am and 7:00pm services use organ music while the 11:00am music is led by a band. Holy Communion is offered at one of our three services each Sunday. To find out more visit our Worship page.
Q: Can I sit anywhere in the church service? What about with kids? +-A:
Yes, you are welcome to sit anywhere you like and are welcome to ask the ushers on duty if you need any direction. With young kids it’s mostly up to the parents. Some enjoy being up the back where they can make an easy exit if need be, while others find sitting further forward helps kids engage in the service. There is a sound proof ‘cry room’ at the rear of the church which is especially for parents and young kids you can use if needed. There is full visibility of the service from the room and a speaker so you can hear it as well. There is also a space to the front right-hand side of the church for people using wheelchairs and walkers.
Q: If I’m a visitor can I come to Holy Communion? (also known as the ‘Lord’s supper’ or the ‘Eucharist’) +-A:
If you are new to the Christian faith and not yet baptised, we invite you to come forward during Holy Communion for a blessing, but ask that you do not receive Holy Communion just yet. Please indicate this by crossing your arms when you come forward. We look forward to talking more about your journey and to rejoicing with you when the time is right to receive this precious gift. We believe that in Holy Communion we receive the body and blood of Jesus, and so out of reverence for God we want to use this gift responsibly. If you are a once-off visitor from another church which shares our confession in the Triune God, and that in Holy Communion we receive the very body and blood of Christ, you are welcome to come to Holy Communion.
Q: What other groups and activities are there outside worship? +-A:
There are many different groups and activities at Bethlehem for different ages and stages of life. Visit the Church Life section of the website for an extensive list of the groups for you to get involved with.
Q: Do you have a Sunday school for children? +-A:
Yes. Our Sunday school or children’s ministry is called ‘Bethlehem Kids’, or BK for short. It runs on Sunday mornings during school term time between our two morning services, that is from 10:15-11:00am. It is designed for children between 3-12 years of age and is focused on learning stories from the Bible. Towards the end of the year BK prepares to present a Nativity play at our Christmas Eve service. For more information please see the Bethlehem Kids page on this website.
Q: How are children kept safe at Bethlehem? +-A:
All our Bethlehem Kids’ (Sunday School) teachers undergo the appropriate checks and training for working with children, as well as people in other positions of responsibility within our congregation. Our community endeavors to keep this a safe place for everyone in every way.
Q: What is available for youth and young adults? +-A:
There are regular events for both youth and young adults at Bethlehem which give young people an opportunity to study God’s word together and have fun in a safe environment. For more information please see the Youth and Young Adults section of this website.
Q: I noticed you offer private confession and absolution, how does that work? +-A:
This is offered at Bethlehem in the church building every Wednesday from 12:45-1:45pm. The side door on Sudholz Place is left open for you to enter, and one of the pastors will be waiting in the ‘cry room’ at the rear of the church. They use a little booklet which contains the Lutheran church’s rite for private confession and absolution to lead you through. There is also an opportunity before, during or after this for further pastoral conversation and prayer.
Q: Does Bethlehem cater for overseas visitors and students? +-A:
Over the years we have had many overseas visitors and students attend worship and other activities at Bethlehem for various lengths of time. However we currently do not have any specific groups tailored for this purpose. If you are a student and would like some advice on connecting with Christian groups at your university, please talk to one of the pastors.
Q: How do I find out about hiring facilities? +-A:
We have limited options for hiring facilities to the public at Bethlehem. Please contact the church office for more information.
Q: What is involved in getting married at Bethlehem? +-A:
Christian weddings at Bethlehem are conducted by our pastors according to the rites of the Lutheran Church of Australia. The process leading up to a wedding involves meeting several times with one of the pastors to talk through the Biblical teaching on marriage, as well as engage in pre-marital counselling. There are costs associated with weddings at Bethlehem which will be discussed as part of this process also. Please contact one of the pastors at the church office to arrange a first meeting.