Sonlight: Church News

Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

Discover God's 

World of Wonders

July 28-31 from 6-8 p.m. at our location in Arcadia.
For children entering K - 6th grade.

To learn more and register your child, click HERE.

Welcome to
Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:7)

Take a closer look!  We offer: 

  • An honest message rooted in the ageless text of the Bible – God’s Word.
  • A helpful message that addresses our real life needs.
  • A caring ministry from a pastor who will know you by name and make house calls.
  • A genuine connection with people who are not perfect, but who are forgiven and grateful.
  • A unique opportunity to be a part of a growing Trempealeau County-wide congregation.
  • A world-wide ministry as a part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.


From Pastor Jon N. Cox

Hello! It is good to be able to greet all the visitors to the Bethel Lutheran Church website.  While we have this opportunity to "meet", it seems helpful to tell you a little about myself. 

Let me begin by directing you to the picture on the left.  This is a picture of my wife, Doreen, and I.  We have been married for 24 years.  How time flies!  God has certainly blessed us by giving us a life together.  In addition to our shared faith in Christ, God blessed us with five children who believe and confess that saving faith with us.  Our children range in age from 21 to 12. We have been in the area for almost three years now, living in the community of Galesville.  It is such a blessing to live in this area of the state; we love the scenery that God's has provided in the coulee region.

I grew up in the area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my mom and dad and four brothers.  God blessed me and enabled me to know the unconditional love of God through his Word and the example of my family. 

Having served as a pastor since 1992 in College Station, Texas and Fond du Lac, it is exciting now to be a servant among the people here at Bethel. I am always pleased to meet visitors and anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith, our congregation, and the WELS.  Feel free to call me at (608) 582-9998 or call either church office.  The number in Arcadia is (608) 323-3270; in Galesville it is (608) 582-4329.


We are one congregation with two locations.

In Arcadia, Sunday worship is at 8:30 a.m.,
followed by Bible study and Sunday school at 10:00 a.m.

In Galesville, our Sunday worship time is 10:30 a.m. 
Bible study and Sunday school happen before worship at 9:00 a.m.
We also offer a Wednesday evening service at 6:00 p.m. in Galesville.

Faith Related Q and A

Justified by faith alone?

Hi. I talked to you on the phone a few days ago and, as it goes, one question leads to another. Seems like Lutherans always talk about faith as if that is the only thing that justifies, but when I read Scripture it seems we are justified by a lot, like 1. grace, 2. faith, 3. the blood of Christ, 4. saved in hope, 5. baptism saves us, 6. justified by works. It's not just one but all these. Would you agree?


Greetings.  Your question illustrates that God, in his Word, describes our salvation from different viewpoints or angles.  Let me briefly work through your list.

We are justified, declared not guilty of our sins, by God’s grace entirely (Romans 3:24).  We do not deserve salvation.  It is a gift from God.

We are justified only through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).  Our works do not enter the picture of our salvation.

We are justified because of Jesus’ sacrifice in our behalf (Romans 5:9).

As redeemed children of God, we long for our eternal home in heaven (Romans 8:24).

Being connected to Jesus Christ in faith brings into our lives the salvation he won by his holy life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.  Because God can work saving faith through baptism, Scripture can say that baptism saves (1 Peter 1:21).

Faith alone in Jesus Christ saves, and Christian faith is living and active (cf. James).

It is clear from Scripture that salvation is God’s doing—from beginning to end.  That is why we can be certain of our salvation.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.


Differences between WELS and ELS

I know that WELS and ELS are in full fellowship, but that does not mean there aren't some differences in practice. Just out of curiosity, what are those differences? Also, what might differ in terms of worship, should a WELS member visit an ELS congregation for worship? Thank you in advance for your answer.


If I can combine your two questions, the differences in practice between WELS and ELS will be seen especially in the area of worship.  Each synod has its own hymnal.  While the great majority of WELS congregations use Christian Worship, many ELS congregations use the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary

When visiting an ELS congregation for worship, you will probably observe the pastor chanting the liturgy more than you might be accustomed to in WELS congregations.  In addition, the orders of service in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary provide for congregational singing of the Lord’s Prayer and the kneeling of the pastor on a prayer bench. Any other differences might be explained by the historical development of both synods.  The historical background of WELS is Germanic, while ELS is Norwegian. 

While some worship practices of another synod in fellowship with us might strike us as being different, we recognize that we are operating in the area of adiaphora.  We have great Christian freedom in how we gather together and worship the Lord. 

What you will recognize, as a WELS guest in an ELS congregation, is a Christ-centered approach.  The emphasis is on the love of God in Christ.  Worshipers are directed to God’s law to see their sin and their need for a Savior, and they are directed to the gospel where they find a Savior in Jesus.  And, since both synods are in fellowship with one another, you would be welcomed as a guest at the Lord’s Supper.

We treasure our fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.  If you would like more information about the ELS, you can visit their web site.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.


WELS Streaming Videos

» June 2014 - Mexico

You don't have to read too far into the book of Acts to realize that serving as a missionary can be hazardous. But that didn't stop Paul or Peter or Stephan from teaching the gospel. Today, missionaries still face danger . . . especially in a country like Mexico.

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams, world, missions and Mexico

» May 2014 - Come Follow Me

How do you begin the conversation about Jesus? Sometimes, it’s hard to get the ball rolling . . . with our friends . . . or even in mission fields. Our synod has been developing new tools to help. And this tool is a movie, “Come Follow Me.”

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams and movie

Forward in Christ

July 2014
Issue Date: 

Living a Christian life is never easy. The world is full of sin, trouble, and heartache. We daily must bear our crosses until we reach our paradise in heaven.

Sadly, many Christians look for easy paths in this life, paths that don't follow what God tells us in the Scriptures. Pastor Jeff Samelson shares the direction those easy paths take, a direction that leads us away from the road to heaven.

read more