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

Clarification of Circumstances Under Which A Layman Could Administer the Sacrament of the Altar

In the answer to the WELS Q & A Question "Communion," it is stated: "In cases where there are no pastors available, however, due to persecution or some other circumstances, a congregation could arrange for a man from their midst to serve as their minister of Word and Sacraments."

I believe that I am correct in asserting that it is not an uncommon practice for WELS congregations to authorize a layman, such as an elder, to administer the Sacrament of the Altar for a regularly-scheduled Communion Service in any absence of the/a pastor, including pastoral vacations, if the services of another pastor cannot be secured for that Communion Service.

Since the answer to the WELS Q & A quoted above does not make mention of this circumstance, I would like to ask if such a "non-emergency" practice of a lay-administered Sacrament of the Altar is to be considered an "abuse" of the "emergency provision" mentioned in the answer, and is to be discouraged if not discontinued. Thank you!


I am not sure which particular question and answer you are referencing, but the first paragraph of your quotation looks to be in the context of extraordinary circumstances in which public ministers are not available at all, and Christians elect a layman from their midst to serve them in the capacity of a pastor.  In dire circumstances, that can be done.

Your question though involves the occasional absence of a pastor (e.g., away on vacation) when Holy Communion would normally be celebrated.  Let me pass along an answer from a previous question that deals with this situation: 

“It is quite common in our congregations for elders or male teachers to assist the pastor in the distribution to the members or to give Communion to the pastor, if they are properly instructed and called by the congregation to do so.

“Vicars and seminarians who have received sufficient training may administer the Sacrament in the absence of the supervising pastor, if the congregation has approved of this practice.

“Although ordination and seminary training are not an absolute prerequisite for administering the Sacrament (to be rightly called is a requirement), under normal circumstances it should not be necessary to ask a layman to administer Communion in the absence of the pastor. If the pastor's absence is extended, the congregation should be served by a vacancy pastor. If the pastor's absence is brief, a ‘reading service’ in which the pastor is responsible for the contents can be held during his absence. Except in cases of extreme necessity, preaching and administration of the sacraments should be conducted only by men who have been both thoroughly trained and properly called.

“This subject is discussed in considerable detail in Volume III of Our Great Heritage, a set of doctrinal essays available from Northwestern Publishing House, which is recommended for laypeople who want to undertake a more thorough study of Christian doctrine.”

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.

Infant Baptism

Do you practice infant baptism?


Yes, we baptize infants.  We do so because they have a need for forgiveness (Psalm 51:5), they too are included in the command to baptize “all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20), and they can believe through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 18:6; Luke 18:15-17).  We are grateful that God has this means of reaching out to infants and including them in his kingdom.

If you would like to read a longer response to your question, here is an eight-page paper that addresses the subject.

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