Bethel Lutheran Home has a long and celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. Our history began in 1927 with the Pacific District Convention of the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church which met in Eugene, Oregon. Members of the body recognized a need to establish a ministry to the aging in the Fresno area. Through their encouragement, “Bethel’s Old People’s Home” was established as a private, non-profit corporation whose first board met in June of 1928.
The M.J. Shultz family of Pella Lutheran Church in Selma, California donated a small wood frame home to the district to be used as a home for older adults. It became the first Bethel Home. Located on Pine and Locust in Selma, the small house still stands today. The home quickly filled and therefore the present property with a large house was purchased in December of 1929. In May of 1930, 132 additional rooms were added and dedicated into service.
In February of 1932, work began on the addition of eight more rooms. Upon their completion in 1935, 22 residents occupied Bethel. At this time, the Shultz property, which still housed residents, was sold and all were brought under one roof.
Bethel’s ministry to the aging continued over the next three decades. In 1963, the building which housed Bethel Home was condemned and the board faced the decision of either discontinuing the ministry or building a new, modern facility. A building fund drive was approved in April of that year and through assistance provided by the Division of Charities of the American Lutheran Church (ALC), FHA financing was obtained.
Groundbreaking for the new facility occurred in October of 1964 with the completion in July of 1965. The chapel was added to the facility in 1975 and areas in the skilled nursing wing and kitchen were remodeled in 1984. In 1988, 28 more skilled nursing beds were added. In 1994, Bethel began a development program that provides for expansions and improvements into the new century.
Over 50 years of visions and goals of past pioneers have brought to light this wonderful facility and ministry that is Bethel Lutheran Home today.
Bethel Lutheran Home, Inc. is a non-profit social ministry organization affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.