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Immanuel Lutheran


Immanuel Lutheran Church came into existence at the turn of the century. It was founded by Lutheran pioneers and farmers who settled in the area of Forest Township. Times were hard and life difficult, but these determined men and women wanted a house of worship where they could hear God's Word, receive the sacraments and share their faith.


Many prayers and heartfelt convictions were answered when a congregation was formally organized on November 17, 1900. Pastor George C. Fendler, who was serving a Lutheran congregation in Deer Park, conducted worship for this newly formed congregation. The services were held on Sunday afternoons in the Woodland School, two miles west of the present site of the church.


In April of 1901 the congregation received a deed for approximately five acres, a gift from Harold and Maren Lobrbauer of St. Paul, MN. It was given with the stipulation that a church building be erected on the site within one year. Construction of a house of worship was begun immediately. The members themselves contributed the greatest share of the work. It ws not long before the small wood frame church was complete. It was called "Emmanuel", a reminder that "God is with us".

During the early years a considerable increase in the size of the congregation took place. With many Lutheran families moving into the area and desiring to participate in worship and congregational fellowship, a new site was needed for expansion. In 1919 additional land just tothe west of the church was purchased for this purpose. In that same year construction of a new structure began. The beautiful red brick building was dedicated on June 27, 1920. A dream had become reality, as through hard work and sacrifice the undertaking was completed. The cost of this venture was $16,000, a tidy sum in the early '20's.


The joy of the congregation was short-lived. On June 13, 1922, less than two years after its dedication, the structure was destroyed by a violent tornado which swept through Forest Township. With a sizeable debt yet to pay on the church, combined with no windstorm insurance, the people could easily have become discouraged. Having sustained personal losses themselves from the storm they could have turned first to their own needs. But honoring God, and holding Him up as their foremost concern, they rallied to begin construction of a new house of worship. They were assisted in the endeavor by the Ohio Synod with a grant in the amount of $6,000.


A new cornerstone was laid on July 16, 1923. This was followed by a dedication service for the newly completed place of worship on June 1, 1924. It was during this time the spelling of the church's name was changed from Emmanuel to its present form, Immanuel. Yet, by any form of the spelling, God remained with His people and they proved faithful to Him as well.


In the 1930's Immanuel united with Trinity Lutheran Chruch in Glenwood City to form a two-point parish. The Rev. Fred Lehne lived in the parsonage at Glenwood City and served both congregations. It was through this decade, when the Great Depression hit our whole nation, that Immanuel's faithful people celebrated the retirement of the debt on their building. In the early 1940's the people proceeded to make improvements, including interior redecoration, exterior landscaping, and a concrete basement. This enabled the Sunday School to meet in the basement. Prior to this time they had met in the old white frame church to the east of the new building.


In 1963 the partnership between Trinity Lutheran Church and Immanuel was dissolved. Trinity merged with Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Glenwood City to make Faith Lutheran Church. For a short time, Immanuel, Faith, and Zoar Lutheran Church of Emerald formed a three-point parish. However, in 1966, with Faith becoming a single-point parish and Zoar dissolving its congregation, Immanuel was alone. Efforts to join with St. John's Lutheran Church in Forest proved unfruitful. From the mid-sixties through the seventies Immanuel was served by student pastors, intern pastors, and part-time pastors.


In 1978 an arrangement was made with Wilson Lutheran Church, about 21 miles south of Immanuel, to enter into a two-point parish partnership. Pastor Kent Raddatz was called to serve Immanuel and Wilson. In 1988 Pastor Michael Main was called to become the pastor of the two congregations. Although distance between the churches is sizeable, the added effort to cooperate in this  joint ministry has overcome the distance barrier and proved to be a very workable arrangement.


In 1993 a long awaited improvement was made to the Immanuel church. A beautiful stained glass window was set into place in the front of the church facing the road. In 1996 a generous memorial from the family of Hank and Buddy Holldorf started our stained glass window project. The large window, and the other small windows on the south wall, are given in their memory. The windows above the side entry door and in the baptistery were given in memory of Hilda Voeltz.


In 1999 a complete remodeling of the sanctuary was done. Cassellius Construction was contracted to do the remodeling of the walls, ceilings, and updateing of the electrical and lighting systems.


In 2000 we had a two day celebration for our 100 years Journey of Faith.


In February 2007 we dedicated and introducted the new Evangelical Lutheran Worship book.


On December 2, 2007  we dedicated our new Clavinova electronic keyboard, which replaced the old organ.


In 2007 and 2008 four more stained glass windows were given to beautify the sanctuary in memory of Max and Tillie Kamm, Ray Henke, and other memorials.


We look back at the accomplisments of this community of faith over the years and thank God for the blessings which He has bestowed upon us. We look forward to the years to come and trust He will carry us onward as the people of Immanuel, "God is with us".


Pastors Serving Immanuel since 2000:


  • 2000                       Rev. Lowell Bolstad (Interim)

  • 2000 to 2001         Rev. John Mikkleson (Interim)

  • 2001 to 2004         Rev. Jeffrey Driscoll

  • 2004 to 2006         Rev. Jean Gfall (Interim)

  • 2006 to 2008         Rev. Kurt Larson

  • 2008 to 2014         Rev. Douglass Brandt

  • 2008 t0 2010         Rev. Hilbert Schultz

  • 2010 to 2011         Joel Becker (Seminarian)

  • 2011 to 2014         Bob Dahm (Vicar)

  • 2014 to Present    Rev. Bob Dahm