Sonlight: Church News

Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

Welcome to

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church

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

Bethel Lutheran welcomes all who are visiting our site to find more information about the Financial Peace University course that we are offering.

Mr. Dave Ramsey is not personally affiliated with our congregation or Lutheran Church. However, Mr. Tim Smieja, a member of our congregation, is one of those at Bethel who have taken Mr. Ramsey's Financial Peace University course and found it to be especially helpful.
That is why Tim is offering you an opportunity to work through the details of this course over a nine week period.  

If you have questions or need more details please contact Tim Smieja directly, on his cell phone at (507) 450-5347. He would be happy to talk.  

You can also sign-up or get more details by going directly to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University website.  Go online to

God bless you and may this instruction be a help to your life.
Pastor Jon Cox



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 Thursday evening service at 6:00 p.m. in Galesville.

Faith Related Q and A

Mission Processes

I have some questions about what is involved in the process of starting a world mission.
1. How much does it cost to start a world mission?
2. What staff is needed for that mission?
3. What materials are needed for the mission start-up?
4. How is it decided where to start the mission?


I forwarded your question to Pastor Larry Schlomer, the Administrator for WELS Board for World Missions.  Your questions and his responses follow:

“1. How much does it cost to start a world mission? The costs can fluctuate quite a bit depending on where in the world the mission effort is focused as well as the manpower needs of the new start.  If we need to send a missionary to reside onsite, just that will cost about $100,000/yr.  If a local leader is being supported with teaching and advice from afar the cost can be quite a bit less.  We often find a budget of $20,000-$30,000 is a good ball park for the cost to begin translation and distribution of Christian materials.  

“2. What staff is needed for that mission?  This also varies depending on the reason we are starting.  If this is a contact that is already in place and gathering a group we would try to send in minimal foreign help.  If no such leader is in place we try to send in a team of at least two missionaries so that the early start-up work can be shared and the transition to a new life and culture can have this mutual support.  It seems that more and more of our starts are based on requests from local leaders and require minimal foreign missionary presence.  In those instances our efforts focus on staff needed for material production and leadership training.  

“3. What materials are needed for the mission start-up? Some of the immediate needs are these:  a good Bible translation, a good translation of the Catechism or similar simple doctrine book and simple worship materials.  As more teaching and growth occurs, materials will have to become more in depth as training of future leaders begins.

“4. How is it decided where to start the mission?  The WELS Board for World Missions (BWM) fields requests.  They can come from many sources such as:  neighboring contact with an existing mission, emailed requests from overseas, or family and friends who have landed in WELS in the USA traveling back to their home countries.  The BWM will investigate the possibilities and potential and work with available resources to meet the needs.  If missionary manpower is committed we will be looking for an opportunity that has long-term potential since that requires a significant allocation of resources over a long time.  It often happens that the Lord sets an opportunity before us that he has made obvious.  Eager local leaders can be a big part of steering it in the direction of that mission effort as opposed to one that has no local traction.”

If you are interested in learning more about WELS’ worldwide mission work, follow this link

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.

Gambling and giving

What is the church's stance on casino gambling? I don't do it very often, but I recently won $450 on a slot machine. I gave a chunk of my winnings to my church. Is it bad to use gambling money to give to church? I always thought that if I'd ever win a lottery, I would donate a whole bunch of it to the church to use for mission work. I doubt that will ever happen, but would the church even accept money that came from a lottery? Or would I have to give it to them without saying where it came from? Thank you for your time.


The Bible does not specifically address gambling, but does speak of greed and covetousness that can easily and often be associated with gambling.  In addition, the Bible instructs us not to squander the resources that God has entrusted to us, but rather use them to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8), to pay taxes (Romans 13:6-7), to give back to the Lord and his church (1 Corinthians 16:2) and to help those who have needs (1 John 3:17). 

As might be expected, Scripture does not address the matter of a church receiving gifts that originated from lottery or gambling proceeds that are not tainted by sinful motives or actions.  Usually congregations do not know the source of members’ offerings.  If you were to win a large sum of money and considered giving part of it to your church, I could foresee conscience playing a role in whether or not you revealed the source of that gift.  And while consciences of congregational leaders might play a role in receiving that gift, the church could receive your gift with the knowledge that the giving was done in faith and motivated by love and gratitude for God’s grace in Christ. 

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

» February 2015 - Youth ministry

It’s not easy being a teen these days. There are more distractions . . . more temptations . . . than ever. How can our church help teens—and parents—navigate the challenges we all face?

Cast: WELS

Tags: WELS, Streams and youth

» January 2015 - Year in review

WELS Connection stories represent what we do together as a synod with the Congregation Mission offerings you give to us. We highlight the faithful work being done in more than 1300 congregations and mission stations, where Christ’s love is freely proclaimed to precious souls. 2014 was a year of many blessings in WELS. Here's a look back at the year in review . . . and a peek at the year ahead.

Cast: WELS

Tags: WELS, Streams and review

Forward in Christ

April 2015
Issue Date: 

God invites us all to pray to him, to ask him for whatever we want in Jesus' name.

For the last six months, Forward in Christ has been exploring Jesus' prayer life and how that connects to us. This month we start a related series that further examines what God has to say about prayer in the Bible.

As you think about your prayer life, here are a few more things to add to your prayer list:

read more