2019 is Bethesda’s 225th Anniversary!
William and Charlotte Berczy led the first 67 families from Germany to Markham in 1794. Christian (George) Sigmund Liebich came with them to minister to their spiritual needs. This is the beginning of our Bethesda Congregation. Pastor Liebich returned to Europe in 1802. Several German speaking itinerate pastors served the group until 1819 when Rev. John D. Peterson arrived and determined that the group needed a permanent meeting house. Up until this time the group had been meeting in the Eckardt home, still standing near the Cemetery.
Two log church buildings were erected in 1820: St. Phillips on Kennedy road, north of 16th Avenue on the site of the Bethesda Lutheran Cemetery and St. John’s on Woodbine Avenue in Buttonville (closed in 1925 with its pews donated to Bethesda).
Some of the people who contributed to the building of our first church building included Franz A. Schmidt, Philip Eckardt, Franz Stoeber, Johan Sommerfeldt, Joachim Ritter, Hinrich Pingel and Joachim Lunau. These are founding members of our Congregation.