Bethlehem Lutheran loses longtime pastor

Bethlehem Lutheran loses longtime pastor

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Reverend Edwin Archer Rumerfield

LEBANON — Bethlehem Lutheran Church lost its pastor of 23 years, Reverend Edwin Rumerfield, on Friday, Sept. 26, when he passed away from cancer.

“He was a 24/7 pastor,” said his wife Carol, who is also the secretary at the church. “If someone needed him day or night, he was there.”

Besides preaching at the church every Sunday, Rumerfield spent his time providing comfort to those in need, and teaching adults and children alike.

“They love him. They just love him,” Carol said about the Bethlehem congregation.

And Rumerfield loved them too.

“He was always on the go and always doing something,” Carol said. “And he loved the kids. He loved teaching confirmation classes and would run the kids ragged.”

When Rumerfield reached retirement age, he wasn’t ready to leave the ministry.

“And the congregation didn’t even want him to say the ‘R’ word,” Carol said. “He loved serving the people and they loved him. They were thrilled he was not talking about retiring.”

This last Sunday, two children from the congregation stood in front of the church and read some things they had written about Rumerfield and how he had an impact on them.

“It was beautiful,” Carol said.

Though Rumerfield was out in the community doing good, Carol knows that he would have not wanted the spotlight on him.

“He would want the focus to be all about God,” she said. “All praise and glory goes to God.”

The church has an interim pastor for the time being, Terry Merrill.

The next step is for the congregation to get a list of eligible pastors in the district and choose one to give a call. That pastor will pray and either accept the call or send it back. This process will happen until a permanent pastor is found.

Rumerfield leaves behind his wife, Carol; and children Rachel Bush, Esther Celement, Anne Garrett, Gayl Siegel and Aaron Rumerfield.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. today at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Burial will follow at Lebanon IOOF Cemetery, followed by a luncheon at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Amanda Nowacki is the news clerk and religion editor for the Democrat-Herald. She can be reached at 541-812-6090 or


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