Transition Information

Nov. 2019 - A few new possibilities for a Minister for Bethany have been brought to Council's attention.
#1.  HIre a minister, then "rent" the minister to another nearby church.  We would do the hiring and pay for all expenses.  We would be reimbursed by the partner church for part of these expenses.  That person would spend most of their time at Bethany, some the balance at the partner church.
32.  Co-op Minister - This person, who would not a be a minister yet as of the date of coming to Betheny, would be a student working for their degree.  They would work for Bethany part time, and attend school the rest of the time.  This person would have to attend one year of Seminary before taking the position, and would have to work under the direction of a pastor at a nearby church.


Mission Statement as Adopted July 2019: We exist to welcome people to Jesus Christ, equip them with a faith that works on real life, and send them into the world to serve in Jesus' name.

March 10, 2019 - Pastor-of-Record Greg Zajac visited Bethany to lead the worship service, share the Fellowship Half-hour, and offer us his experiences as we continued work on the Misson Statement Profile.

Bishop John Stanley Macholz visited Bethany Lutheran Church, Central Bridge, on Sunday, February 3, 2019.  Bishop Macholz obtained his Master of Divinity from Christ Seminary-Seminex in St. Louis, Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Concordia College in Bronxville, NY.  He was ordained on November 23, 1980.  He served his first call as Pastor at Faith, Glenmont from 11/1980 to 8/1990 and was Dean of the Hudson Mohawk Conference from the Fall of 1988 to the summer of 1990.  He then began serving as Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Rochester from August 1990 to September 1, 2014 and served as Dean of the Genesee Finger Lakes Conference when he became Bishop of the Upstate New York Synod.

At the Oct. 14, 2018 Congregational Meeting:  Presiden Chris Cornwell opened the meeting by leading the unison reading of the Transition Prayer.  Next, a Constitutional Amendment to include the sentence "The Lay President will chair the business of the Church Council and Congregation during all meetings." was unanimously passed.

Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church

Central Bridge, NY, 12035

Annual Congregational Meeting

January 27, 2019


  • Minutes of last year’s Annual Congregational Meeting (Pgs 2 & 3)

  • Summary of Church Councils meetings in 2018 (Pgs 4, 5, & 6)

  • Consideration of Reports

    • Pastor’s/Council Presidents (Pg 7)

    • Treasurer’s (Pgs 8, 9, & 10)

    • Ladies Auxiliary report (Pg 11)

    • Ladies Auxiliary Financial Report (Pg 12)

    • Sunday School Report (Pg 13)

    • Worship and Music (Pg 14)

    • Mission Partners (Pg 14)

    • Prayer Chain (Pg 14)

    • Prayer Shawl Ministry (Pg 15)

    • Emergency Food Pantry (Pg 15)

    • Men’s Ministry (Pg 15)

    • Other reports – e-mail, information sheets, ushers, acolytes, lectors (Pg 15&16)

    • Upstate New York Synod (Pgs 21, 22, 23 & 24)

  • Old Business

  • New Business

    • Budget Committee (Pgs 18 & 19)

    • Budget Approval

    • Nominating Committee (Pg 17)

    • Election of Church Council

      • Officers

      • Members

    • Constitution Review (Pg 20 & Under Separate Cover)

    • Pastor of Record (Pg 20)

    • Mission Site Profile (Pg 20)

    • Other Business

  • Adjournment


Bethany Church Council Minutes

Annual Summary 2018


Pastor: Rev. Steffen A. Zehrfuhs (Retired May 31, 2018)

Church Council Officers:

Lay President: Chris Cornwell

Secretary: Venus (Ludewig) Louise

Treasurer: Jeanette Cornwell

Financial Secretary: Dennis Tilison

Church Council Members:

Jillian Hahn Shirley Lawyer Mike Taccone

Yvonne Keller-Baker Annie Poquette Mark VanDerwerken

Katryna Lawyer Denise Price Carol Wilber


  • Maintenance Projects:

    • Lawnmowing and snowplowing as needed

    • Spring and Fall cleanup days

    • Renewed furnace contract with MPB Plumbing and Heating

    • Internet Access is in the process of being established.

    • Installed new carpets in entrance ways and on the staircase.

    • Removed carpet in “Sunday School” room, exposing a beautiful hardwood floor.

    • Cal Barber built another closet in the “Sunday School” room.

    • Parking lot lines repainted by Dennis Tillson.

    • Copier contract will be cancelled after annual reports are done and copier is serviced.

    • Cancelled garbage service.

  • School Closing Network: In the event of a winter storm or emergency closing, will be on local channels.

  • Council Meetings: The Church Council met numerous other times during the year to address Pastor Zehrfuhs retirement in June of 2018. We also met several times to discuss the possibility of the offer for Pastor Rahel Hahn and Deacon Tom Collins come to Bethany to serve as Pastor and Deacon. However, after several meetings with both and a consensus of the Congregation it was decided not to accept this calling due to cost and scheduling.

  • Pastor of Record: At our December meeting, we were offered a Pastor of Record to serve Bethany beginning January 2019. This will be at a cost of $550.00 a month plus mileage. This will involve 20 hours per month. If we exceed the 20 hours per month, his time will be billed at an hourly rate of $25.00 per hour.

  • Sexton: Shirley Barber continue her duties of light housekeeping. Cathy Caiazzo continues to open on Sundays, with either Chris Cornwell, Jeanette Cornwell or Cathy closing the church.

  • Outside Work Days: June 10 and November 11. Weather cooperated for our team to clean up the yard around the church and parsonage in the spring. However, in the fall the cleanup was cancelled due to the weather. However, before the snow arrived Charles Cornwell came and mowed up the leaves from the yard.

  • Coin Jar Offerings for 2018:

    • January/February $144.34 to Schoharie Valley Animal Shelter

    • March/April $50.90 to Schoharie Search and Rescue

    • May/June $55.60 to Central Bridge Fire Department

    • July/August $20.00 to Catskill Area Hospice

    • September/October $65.28 to Ronald McDonald House

    • November/December $124.86 to Salvation Army

  • Lenten Offerings for 2018 total of $525.00 donated to:

    • $100 ELCA Youth Gathering

    • $50 God Gives Hope (banners)

    • $100. Foothills Conference

    • $175. Deacon training Program

    • $100. Serena Drobnack – Youth Gathering-Texas


  • Sunday School 2018 Activities:

    • Classes held 1st and 3rd of the month

    • May 21 ‘Sundae’ Sunday (last day of the year)

    • September 13, 2018 (first day of the new year)

    • October 2018 Operation Christmas Child (filled 9 shoeboxes)

    • December 2018 Christmas Program

  • Bethany Family Ministries:

    • Annual Yard Sale - May 25 and 26, 2018 raised $1,374, Gifted $100 to Dan Smith family; victims of a house fire in Schoharie.

    • Apple Picking at Terrace Mountain – September 23, 2018 (8 people)

  • Ladies Auxiliary 2018 Activities:

    • February 2018 2018 booklets, birthday list and address list handed out

    • March 2018 Easter Baskets for members who are “shut-in”

    • May 11, 2018 Smorgasbord Dinner 125 pp / $1,076.00, bake sale $61.00

    • May 19-20,2018 Pastor Zehrfuhs Retirement Dinner/ Open House

    • October 4, 2018 Turkey Supper (detailed below)

    • November 17, 2018 Harvest Dinner/Evening of Music

Theme “Christmas” 32 dinner, 38 show

    • December 2018 Instead of Holiday Baskets for members of congregation

who are “shut-in, money was donated to Bethany Memorial fund in their honor

    • December 2018 Birth of Jesus Reception – refreshments.

    • Funeral receptions throughout the year.

  • Vacation Bible School: No Vacation Bible School.

  • Annual Turkey Supper: October 2018 profit of $4,425.00 from 308 sit-down dinners, 200 take outs, plus $84.00 from bake sale and $205 from Silent Raffle. Total $4,714.00

  • Confirmation Class: There is no new confirmation class this year. Adults and children are welcome to assist as acolyte.

  • Annual Church Picnic: August 5, 2018. In the basement due to extreme heat, 32 attendees.

  • Boy Scout Badge: George Nelson earned his God and Family badge for Boys Scouts working with Pastor Stef.


  • Audit of Church Books: Audit Committee (Shirley Lawyer and Venus Ludewig) met with Treasurer, Jeanette Cornwell to review Church Council bookkeeping in early spring 2018. No issues found.

  • American Clothing Drop Box: $437.35 for the year

  • Fennimore Asset Management Account: As outlined in treasurer’s report

  • Lenten Offerings: As outlined above.

  • Coin Jar Offerings: As outlined above.


  • Special Collections/Offerings in 2018:

    • January Emergency Food Pantry

    • February Schoharie Valley Animal Shelter

    • August Schoharie County Community Action Program – school supplies

    • October Operation Christmas Child

    • November Clinton Home Christmas gifts

  • Food Pantry: As outlined in the Pastor’s report.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: Ongoing monthly meetings.

  • Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group: Now Bethany Care Team, continues to meet.

  • Annual Congregational Meeting: January 21, 2018, after church service, the 2018 Budget was presented for approval. Reports from Pastor Zehrfuhs, Treasurer, Secretary, Ladies Auxiliary, and Sunday School were presented.


  • Prayer Chain: Continue to submit names of people in need of prayer

  • Prayer Shawl Ministry: continues with blessing held in January, May, September

  • Foothills Conference: “Spring Assembly” April 28, 2018

  • Upstate NY Synod: Annual meeting June 7-9, 2018.

  • Zimbabwe Mission Partner: No communication

  • Salvation Army Bethany Bell ringers: Continue the Black Friday shift in front of Cobleskill Wal-Mart

  • Website: Maintained by Cathy Caiazzo, who also donates the cost of the annual fee.

  • Email:


  • Sacrament of Holy Communion: Pastor Zehrfuhs offered communion 2x/month. After June we averaged twice a month for communion based upon Supply Pastors.

  • Lenten Sermon Series: “God Gives Hope”

    • Ash Wednesday – February 14, 2018 1 PM and 7:30 PM (Ashes and Communion at both)

    • Maundy Thursday – March 29, 2018, Living Last Supper @ C.B. Methodist Church

    • Good Friday – March 30, 2018 service at 5:00

  • Easter: April 1, 2018 7 AM Sunrise service, pancake breakfast, and 10 AM service. (Communion)

  • Wednesday Worship: No Wednesday service after Pastor Zehrfuhs retired.

  • Thanksgiving Eve: November - a few of our congregation attended service held at the Methodist Church

  • Christmas Eve: December 23, 2018 9:30 AM Sunday School Christmas Program

    • Candle light services Dec. 24 at 9:00PM with Pastor Bert Mayne (Communion)


Respectfully submitted;


Venus D. (Ludewig) Louise, Secretary



Pastor’s /President Report

Congregation Record for 2018

Sunday Worship Services

Led by Pastor Zehrfuhs - 22 Led by Pastor Bill Siss – 3

Led by Pastor Dennis Meyers - 3 Led by Pastor James Crouthamel -8

Led by Deacon Mary Rainey - 6 Led by Roger Behrens - 4

Led by Pastor Bert Mayne – 2 Led by Elaine Berg – 1

Led by Pastor Rahel Hahn – 1 Led by Deacon Tom Collins - 1


Wednesday Services led by Pastor Zehrfuhs – 5

Holy Communion - 29

Other Worship Services

Ash Wednesday – 2

Maundy Thursday - 1

Good Friday - 1

Easter early morning -1

Children’s Sermons - 18

Church Council Meetings - 12

Baptisms: Trent Schultz Warner and Jack Bear Bohl

Funerals: Richard Schaefer, William LaTulipe, Thomas Williams*, Susan Crandall, George

Manor, Ethel Fisher, Calvert Barber* (*denotes member of Bethany)


Weddings: Venus Ludewig and Paul Louise, by Pastor Zehrfuhs

Denise Carpenter and Scott Price, by Pastor Simurro

New Members - none

Home pastoral visits – 55 Home visits by Pastor Ken Simurro - 1

Hospital pastoral visits - 3

Annual Congregational Meeting – 1

Special Congregational Meeting – 2

Bethany Lutheran Church for the year 2018 had the following:

104 members who received the Sacrament of Holy Communion at least once

83 'voting’ members who communed and made a financial contribution of records


Ladies Auxiliary Report 2018

During the year 2018, the Ladies held twelve meetings with an average attendance of eight members. Activities and Events during the year included the following:

  • Ladies Auxiliary Booklets were distributed, as well as Birthday and Anniversary List and Updated Church address list

  • Purchase and donated by Jeanette Cornwell, two ivy vines to be used on the Altar if someone forgets flowers for the week.

  • Purchased and donated by Carol Wilber, two brass vases for the vines

  • Planned a farewell dinner and open house for the retiring Pastor Zehrfuhs after 42 years of service to Bethany. A catered dinner in the church basement with 145 people attending, followed by a program upstairs with a slide presentation. The Open House was held the following day, with over 100 people stopping by to say goodbye

  • Held an Easter morning breakfast after the early morning service. Thanks to Chris Cornwell for cooking, and special thanks to Nate and Angela Armstrong for the donation of eggs and to the Mau family for the donation of the sausage.

  • Distributed Easter baskets to the shut ins, with the help of the Sunday School

  • Hosted a funeral reception for long time member Tom Williams

  • Accepted a donation of a food cart for use in the Kitchen

  • Elected a new Treasurer, Betty Taccone, upon the retirement of Susan Zehrfuhs. Betty assumed duties in June

  • Held our annual garage sale at the home of Nate and Angela Armstrong which netted $1274.00. In addition, we gave $100. To Dan Smith of Schoharie whose home had just been destroyed by fire

  • Held our yearly smorgasbord which served 125 people, netting a profit of $1076., plus $61. For the bake sale

  • Held our June meeting at the Parsonage, where we took a tour of the building, as many of our members had never been in the building

  • Assisted with the annual church picnic in August, following a special congregational meeting, with over 30 people in attendance. This was held inside due the extreme heat outside

  • Hosted a greet and meet for Pastor Hahn and Tom Collins with a covered dish luncheon

  • Gave Christmas gifts to our organist and sexton

  • Donated money to the Memorial Fund at Bethany in honor of our shut ins, instead of the candy which we have done in the past

  • Gave $3000, towards the fuel bill at Bethany, and voted to do this again in 2019

  • Hosted the Evening of Music in November, the theme “Christmas” with 32 attending the dinner and 38 attending the program. Special Thanks to Carol Wilber

  • Hosted another successful Turkey Supper, netting a profit of $4714.

  • Purchased poinsettias for the Altar

  • Hosted the Sunday School Reception after the Christmas Program

  • Decided not to have meetings in January and February or July and August in 2019

  • Decided to have meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 10:00 AM at the Parsonage


These are most of the activities and events that the small group of the Ladies Auxiliary were involved with. Of course, we could not do any of these activities without the help of our congregation. We have a few special people we need to thank for their help when we ask – Matt Mau, Rob Armstrong, Charles Cornwell, Will Armstrong and Brooke, and especially Chris Cornwell who has always been there to help us with our projects. Join us for one of our meetings. Respectfully submitted,

Jeanette Cornwell, President Ladies Auxiliary


Ladies Auxiliary Officers 2019

President Jeanette Cornwell

Vice President Elaine Cooper

Secretary Cathy Caiazzo

Treasurer Betty Taccone

Bethany Lutheran Church

Ladies Auxiliary Financial Report 2018


Savings Account January 1, 2018 $9,436.91

December 31, 2018 $7,040.55

Checking Account January 1, 2018 $310.45

December 31, 2018 $4,881.09


Fuel Oil $3000.00

Propane $269.06

Turkey Supper 308 Sit-downs/ 200 Takeout’s

Net Profit $4425.00

Bake sale $84.00

Silent Auction $205.00

Smorgasbord 125 Served

Net Profit $1076.00

Bake Sale $61.00

Respectfully submitted,

Betty Taccone, Treasurer

Bethany Lutheran Church Sunday School Report 2018

Number of children registered: 15

Average number of children Attending: 8

Teaching Staff: Yvonne Keller-Baker and Jillian Hahn

Helpers: Janice Wilkens, Samantha Nelson

2018 activities - our students have mastered The Lord's Prayer and we are working on The Apostles Creed. We have been enjoying joining the congregation for children's sermon. We follow the same pattern as previous years- short service, lesson, craft and snack.

We look forward to having a family picnic at the end of the year and maybe vacation Bible school?

Operation Christmas child- we packed fewer boxes this year but with higher quality items. Yvonne delivered the boxes to Middleburgh. (Nine Boxes)

2018 Christmas program- 12 symbols of Christmas. We had our highest attendance during the preparation for this program. It would be nice to continue to have so many children participate year round.

2019 future plans- we look forward to having a full-time pastor again. We would like to work on more service projects, especially ones that focus on recycling and helping the environment.

Respectfully Submitted,

Yvonne Keller-Baker & Jillian Hahn, Sunday School Coordinator

Worship and Music

For the year 2018, we had an average of 40 people attending our Sunday morning worship service at Bethany Lutheran Church. In addition, we held the following worship services Ash Wednesday 20+11, Good Friday 15, Easter 7:00 Am Service 50, Christmas Eve 9:00PM 60 people.

We held Wednesday services from January to May with an average of 5 people attending. Unfortunately, we have discontinued our Wednesday service on the third Wednesday of the month, until a later date when we can possibly resume.

Thanksgiving Eve Service was held at the Methodist Church, where we were invited to join them for this worship service.

A Children’s sermon was offered from January to May on the fourth Sunday of the month. The remainder of the year Children’s Sermons were held whenever there were children in the congregation. In 2019, we will have children’s sermon on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays. On the 1st Sunday the children will join us for communion.

We have a sign-up sheet for Ushers, acolytes, lectors and flowers as well as bread for communion and fellowship half hour. Thanks to all who help. If you would like to assist please see our Council president.,

Other church wide activities for worship included the Maundy Thursday service with the Central Bridge Methodist Church. We shared a soup and bread meal, followed by a drama presentation.

Mission Partners

Shashe Lutheran Parish, Beitbridge, Zimbabwe (Africa), Is our congregational “twin.” Unfortunately, in 2017 Pastor Dube returned to seminary. His replacement Deacon Abdinus Ntseny assumed duties, and in 2018 we have had no communication from them.

Prayer Chain

Our Prayer Chain, which began in 2004. Names of people to pray for are placed on a yellow prayer card, and placed in the prayer concerns box, on the table in the back of the church. If you might like to participate in the Prayer Chain, please contact Linda Klingbeil or Jeanne Hay.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Our Prayer Shawl Ministry began with a Blessing of 2 Prayer Shawls on Sunday May 7, 2006. In 2018 a total of -38 shawls were blessed, and 28 given out. Since the beginning, a total of 600 shawls have been blessed, and 649 given out. We bless shawls in January, May and September.

Thanks to all who have participated in this ministry --- those making, those donating yarn, and those who have been given these shawls.

Emergency Food Pantry

Our Emergency Food Pantry is a social ministry which began in 1977. We receive donations from the Post Office, also from the United Methodist Church in Central Bridge, the Joshua Project, and individuals and groups from our congregation. The Civic Association also gave us gift cards.

During 2018, the food pantry was used 26 times helping 52 people. In addition, at Thanksgiving time we donated food from our pantry to the Joshua Project, to help with the dinners they distributed.

New for 2019, we will have set hours for our food pantry. This will be on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, from 9 to 11am, for two hours. We are hoping this works out with our congregations stepping up to serve on the dates it is open. We need people to help with this project. If you are interested in helping, please contact Chris Cornwell.

Men’s Ministry

All men of our congregation can serve in a men’s ministry. Ways you can help are serving at our worship service as ushers, lectors, helping at our two dinners – Smorgasbord and Turkey Supper. We have work days to do maintenance around the church, we also need assistance mowing lawn, snow shoveling, along with repair and maintenance of our church buildings. Please volunteer to do any other the above items you can help with around the church. We do not have any meetings but if interested contact Chris Cornwell.

Church e-mail

New in 2018, we began sending newsletter and other information by e-mail. About forty percent of our congregation, gets information this way. To those who do not have e-mail, we continue to send out newsletters. If you do not get an e-mail and wish receive periodic updates, please contact Chris Cornwell.

Church Information Sheets

In 2018, we sent out information update sheets to members of our congregation. This was an opportunity to update mailing, e-mail, phone number, birthday information, etc. If you did not fill a form out, please contact Chris Cornwell.


This year we are trying to have usher signups for a two-week time frame. We have a list we are using and alternate thru the list. If you are willing to help usher see Chris or Jeanette Cornwell to be placed on the rotating list. Duties include greeting and handing out Bulletins before church, collecting the offering, and assisting with communion on the first of the month.


We need acolytes to light and extinguish the candles each week, assist with the offering, and assist with communion when we have intinction. To sign up please see Jeanette Cornwell


Each week we have someone read the Lessons. If interested in reading, please see Jeanette Cornwell to sign up.

Confirmation Class

In 2019, we will be trying to have a new confirmation class, probably starting in the fall. Students should be in fifth or sixth grade. If you know of anyone in this age group, please contact a member of Church Council. This is a two-year program and then the students become members of Bethany.

Wednesday Worship

In 2019, we will probably reinstate the Wednesday afternoon service. We are currently in discussion with Pastor Zajac (Pastor of Record), who would lead the worship service.

Nominating Committee

The Church Council Nominating Committee, consisting of all Church Council, recommends the following people for membership of the Church Council of Bethany Lutheran Church


(1-year terms) President Christopher Cornwell

Vice President Carol Wilber **Per Constitution By-Law Amendment**

Secretary Venus Ludwig

Treasurer Jeanette Cornwell

Financial Secretary Dennis Tillson



(3-year terms) Shirley Lawyer (1st term)

Linda Lange Carmen (1st term)


2019 Church Council Members

President Christopher Cornwell

Vice President Carol Wilber

Secretary Venus Ludwig

Treasurer Jeanette Cornwell

Financial Secretary Dennis Tillson


Jilian Hahn (1st) Mark VanDerwerken (1st) Shirley Lawyer (1st)

Yvonne Keller Baker (1st) Denise Carpenter (1st) Linda Lange Carman (1st)

Mike Taccone (1st) Annie Poquette (2nd)

2019 Term expires 2020 Term expries 2021 Term expires




We have been notified that Bethany needs to update our constitution. We last updated this in 2006 and 2007.

At the last few council meetings we have reviewed the changes we need to make to bring it up to date. At our last meeting we agreed to send a copy of an updated version to Synod for review. Upon their approval, it will be sent back to Bethany where we will call a special congregational meeting to vote on the changes. As it takes two congregational meetings to approve a new constitution, we will then vote again next January 2020, and adopt the updated constitution.

The major change that we will make in the new constitution is the structure of our church council. It will still consist of the same number of persons, however, we have deleted one member and added a vice President position to assist the President.


Pastor of Record

As of January 1, 2019, we welcome Pastor Greg Zajac as our Pastor of Record. Pastor Zajac will be the contact person if someone needs to talk to a minister, have a visit at home or in the hospital, wants to become a member of our church, have someone baptized, married, or if there is a death in the family.

He is on a contract with us for six months, which is then renewable. He will be available in the office by appointments only. He will assist us in preparing our Mission site Profile survey, which needs to be done before we can be considered for a minister at Bethany.

He will be present at our monthly council meetings, help assist us in filling out paper work for synod, and any other forms needed to be completed.

Please welcome Pastor Zajac in this capacity.

If you need to reach him, please call the church office.

Mission Site Profile

In order to advertise for a Minister for Bethany, we will need to complete a 11-page form and return it to Synod and the National Synod. Council has already started to work on this project and have had your input when we did the yellow and green survey sheets last fall. The goal of council is to have this Profile survey to the Synod before the end of March 2019.