Sonlight: Church News

Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

Welcome to
Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church
So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 1 Thessalonians 5:6


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 vibrant, growing, Trempealeau County-wide congregation.
  • A two-way link to 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 21 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 19 to 10. We spent the last 14 years in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and just recently moved to 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

Prodigal WELS Member

I was born, raised, and confirmed in WELS in Minnesota. For 16 years I have lived in Florida. Even before my move, I found myself becoming disenchanted by the doctrines of the WELS and "their" interpretation of the Bible. Mostly, I felt WELS was out of touch with the modern world and turning people off by the lack of inclusion. I felt they should try harder to include the sinners, gays, lesbians, those living together without marriage because those were the people who needed to be reached. I felt women should be in more positions of power within the church. I saw some hypocrisy in how member and/or clergy were treated after extramarital affairs were illuminated. So, I basically stayed away for over 20 years. I disagreed with the policy of not praying together with those of different faiths which would have excluded me from groups I wanted to be a part of.

That being said, I find that I am still drawn to WELS, as I push 50. I like a more traditional church service and want a good Bible-based sermon. I appreciate that they observe and hold services for what I consider the be the most holy of the Christian holidays: Good Friday. I'm glad they haven't made the Easter celebration into a pagan bunny and egg-rolling party. I plan to attend a WELS service on Good Friday this year. My question and my continued struggle, has some of the strictness and exclusivity lessened in 20 years? Are any of these church policies up for debate? If I pray or don't pray with others, does it make a difference in God's eyes or help or hurt anyone? Yes, I know the passage about being "unevenly yoked together." But I can find many instances of good coming from praying and praising "unevenly" in the Bible too. And also women in positions of leadership doing God's work. Ruth and Esther anyone?

Thank you for your consideration and I love this Q and A.


First, let me say that it is heartening to hear of your desire to return to your roots—and not merely your synodical roots, but those that represent biblical teachings. 

You wonder if anything has changed about WELS in the time you have been gone.  Well, if you like sermons that are based on the Bible, you will be happy to know that those sermons are a reflection of our church body’s desire to remain faithful to Scripture in whatever it says.  We continue to proclaim the law that identifies all people as sinners.  We share the gospel of Jesus Christ, letting people know they have a Savior in Christ.  Like the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:19-23), we try to be flexible in reaching people with the truths of God’s word, without compromising those truths.

I would encourage you to speak to the pastor of the WELS congregation you visited.  You could explain your examples of “praying and praising” that go beyond fellowship principles (I am not aware of any that have God’s backing.), and he could respond.  He could also inform you about more recent developments in our synod, such as the WELS Women’s Ministry Committee.  The work of that committee illustrates how we strive to utilize the gifts of men and women, while following God’s directives regarding their complementary roles.

Thank you for your interest in the Q & A part of the WELS web site.  I wish you a most blessed Easter.

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.

Giving money an expression of fellowship?

Is it wrong to give money in support of non-WELS Christian efforts...for example, regularly giving money to a Christian radio station that communicates Christ, but also has false ideas of conversion and other teachings? What about buying tickets and attending a popular Christian concert, or movie or buying music from Christian artists...are these kinds of things giving offerings to support a ministry outside our fellowship? Should I not do that?


Scripture provides general fellowship principles that we seek to apply to very specific situations today.  Scripture does provide guidance such as:  “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.  Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17).  “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.  Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work” (2 John 9-11).  “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth” (3 John 8).

Scriptural principles direct us to recognize when we do not enjoy doctrinal unity with others and to refrain from activities that we would be involved in if there were doctrinal unity.  Those principles instruct us not even to give the impression that doctrinal errors are unimportant.  Those principles show us that we want to work together in the gospel with those whose faith embraces the teachings of the Bible.

It is clear that we are not to support ministries that deviate from Scripture.  (And “support” includes financial support.)  The course of action in some specifics of your questions will be conscience driven (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; 10:23-33).  You would do best to have a more thorough conversation with your pastor regarding those issues.

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

» Coming Up in April 2014 WELS Connection

Water of Life - A unique mission congregation in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams, missions and Nevada

» March 2014 - Worship Conference

It’s not too early to start planning for the national worship conference set for late July. Should your congregation consider sending your music director? Absolutely . . . but that’s just the beginning.

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams, worship and conference

Forward in Christ

April 2014
Issue Date: 

Ready to take a trip? Let us be your guide this month.

Our first stop is the Arizona-California District, the district where our first world mission started. Learn more about the unique mission opportunities available in the Southwest. Then meet a member from one of its congregations, a former atheist who discovered the joy and the comfort of having her Savior by her side.

read more