Immanuel Lutheran Church has a long and fascinating history. Through it all, Immanuel has flourished under God's guidance and protection and has remained steadfast in the Word. What follows is a detailed account of the congregation's history.
Our Story (an abbreviated History)
1897 ● Feeling the need for a place to worship, the German Lutheran families of western Rutland and eastern Fraser Townships, northwest of Fairmont, organized a congregation in March, 1897 with 14 members under the name of "Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Church." Even though these families had been worshiping at St. Paul's, Fairmont, they felt the need for a closer facility as well as a Christian Day School for their children. This new congregation was quickly supplied with a pastor, Rev. C.H. J. Hubert, of Lawrence, Nebraska. Services were held in School District 95, the "Boyce School". A new church and parsonage were built at a cost of $1515.01 on two acres of land donated by Christopher Schwieger. Dedication was in April, 1897. By fall the parochial school was established with Pastor Hubert teaching 28 children. By the year's end, membership had grown to 29 families with 78 communicants.
1900-1910 ● A chicken house and buggy shed were built at a cost of $20. An organ was purchased for $20. On June 10, 1905, Immanuel was officially incorporated. Pastor Hubert accepted a call to South Dakota. In early 1908, Pastor P. Engel became Immanuel's second pastor. Fire destroyed the first church building in February, 1910. A new edifice was erected immediately. It had 2 large rooms separated by a sliding door. One side was used for the school. William Senne donated the bell which is still in use. This building was dedicated on August 7, 1910. In late 1910 Pastor Engel accepted a call to Maryland.
1911-1918 ● Pastor Theo. Goehle was installed in March, 1911, and took a call in 1912. He was succeeded by Rev. C. Kohlmorgan, who was installed in December, 1912. In 1913 Immanuel became a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and sent its first delegate to Minnesota District Convention. Due to Pastor Kohlmorgan's advanced age, an assistant, Miss Lena Ahrens, was hired to help in the school. On June 28, Pastor Kohlmorgan passed away. In summer, 1916, Rev. Otto A. Soeldner from a mission field in Canada was installed. A new organ was purchased in 1917 for $425. In 1918 the pastor's salary was raised to $850.
1919-1925 ● Ladies Aid was organized in 1920. Two more acres of land were purchased. When Pastor Soeldner was released to go to Fulda in 1921, Immanuel had 32 voting members and 132 communicants. Rev. C. C. Metz of east Rutland filled the vacancy until Rev. A. M. Beck of Salem, OK, accepted the call to serve. He was installed on October 30, 1921. He also taught in the school. In 1922, the church was raised for a basement, and a furnace was installed. Twenty six young people organized a Young People's Society. Ladies Aid voted to conduct their meetings in English. In October 1925, because of a vacancy in Zion-Fraser, Immanuel and Zion became a dual parish with each congregation retaining its school. Confirmation instruction was combined. (This arrangement continued until 1947.)
1927 ● The Ladies Aid enclosed the cemetery with a fence. A garage of cement blocks was built. It was resolved to have English services every other Sunday.
1928 ● The Young People's Society joined the Walther League.
1929 ● Two boys were hired to pump the organ for 25 cents per Sunday.
1932 ● First Sunday bulletin was printed. A combined mission festival of 4 congregations was held at Northrop.
1934 ● Two Walther League young men were appointed as ushers.
1936 ● Minutes of the voters' meetings were written in English for the first time.
1938 ● Electricity was installed in the Church and parsonage. Sixty dozen eggs were sent to Concordia College and thirty-four dozen to Children's Home.
1942 ● The Church Constitution was revised and put into the English language.
1943 ● Ladies Aid affiliated with International Lutheran Women's Missionary League. It was resolved to have English services every Sunday with an extra German service on the third Sunday. Because of declining membership, Immanuel and Zion discussed merging. Immanuel was approached by the District Mission Board to start a mission project in north Fairmont. After much deliberation, it was resolved on Sept. 12, 1943, to initiate that mission and organize a Sunday School. The Recreation Hall at 825 North Avenue was purchased. A parsonage at 927 N. Park was bought for $4000. Three members bought 3 lots--the present church site.
1944 ● On January 30th Recreation Hall was dedicated as a chapel. The newly organized Sun-day School had 37 children. By April, services at the West Rutland site were discontinued (after 44 years), and two services were begun at the chapel. School continued at the old site. In a very short time Sunday School increased to 102 children, and classes were held at the White Feather Hatchery and in neighboring homes. Forty two members were serving in World War II.
1945 ● It was resolved to build a new edifice at 12th Street and North Avenue.
1946 ● After overcoming many difficulties in obtaining building materials due to postwar shortages, the congregation conducted the ground breaking ceremony on August 15 with $63,903.85 in the building fund. After basement excavation, a government injunction delayed construction.
1947 - 1948 ● The affiliation with Zion-Fraser was discontinued. Cornerstone-laying ceremonies were held on December 13, 1947. Work on the new church building progressed, and dedication ceremonies were held on October 10, 1948. Attendance was 1150 in the forenoon and 1490 in the afternoon. That afternoon 28 persons were baptized and 15 were confirmed. Many gifts helped supply furnishings and fixtures for the new building. October 13 service had an attendance of 402. Sunday School enrollment was 212.
1949 ● The first Vacation Bible School was held with an enrollment of 140. Services were broadcast on Radio KSUM. Church furniture and Christ the King window were dedicated.
1950 ● The school was moved into the church, and the West Rutland property except for the cemetery was sold.
1951 ● The loud speaker system was installed. The $20,000 loan was retired. The ladies Aid liquidated the organ debt.
1952 ● Voting membership reached 109 members. Because of the large number of children, two identical children's Christmas Eve services were held
1953 ● The basement was finished. Twenty-eight Sunday School teachers taught 300 children.
1954 ● A second service was initiated. The total attendance per Sunday was over 600. After the sale of the Park Street parsonage, the pastor moved to 1128 North North Avenue. On Easter the last German service was held.
1955 ● The name of the church was officially established as "Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church". A second teacher was hired for the school.
1956 ● Regular church council meetings were established.
1958 ● The building construction debt was liquidated. 1114 North North Avenue was bought as a second parsonage for the family of Pastor Kenneth Martin who was installed as a second pastor on October 26.
1962 ● The Martin family moved to the new parsonage built at 1210 North North Avenue. Their former home was used to house the overflow of Sunday School classes and for youth activities.
1963 ● Kindergarten through third grade continued at the school with grades 5-8 being sent to St. Paul's. Pastor Martin accepted a call to Suring, WI. Pastor Beck retired after serving more than 42 years in which he faithfully & skillfully shepherded and guided Immanuel as it made the change from rural to a town church.
1964 ● Pastor Arthur Krueger was installed on June 14th.
1965 ● Pastor's office was refurnished, and secretary's office was added. All Day School children were sent to St. Paul's. Weekday school for grades 3-8 and release time classes for grades 7-8-9 were held.
1966 ● The balcony was remodeled for increased seating and risers were installed. The ceiling of the nave was insulated and paneled.
1967 ● A 22-rank Wick Pipe Organ was dedicated May 21.
1968 ● Arlo Lehmann, recently returned from mission work in New Guinea, was installed as Immanuel's first Director of Music, Education and Youth in July.
1969 ● Pastor Beck passed on to his heavenly home on September 15.
1971 ● Mr. Lehmann accepted a call to Eau Claire, WI in July.
1972 ● Mr. John Baginski assumed the DCE duties in June. Membership of Immanuel now totaled 1130 souls.
1974 ● Thirty-five evangelism calls were made throughout the city.
1975 ● John Elmshauser was installed as DCE. Youth organization and youth choir organized.
1976 ● Revelation Youth group gave 8 concerts.
1977 ● Pastor Krueger accepted a call in October. Pastors O.H. Hinrichs and Harvey Ehlers served as vacancy pastors. The acolyte program was begun. Altar Guild was organized.
1978 ● Ladies Aid constitution was revised to include all women of the congregation as mem-bers, to organize circles and to be named Women of Immanuel. On April 16 Pastor Chris Reinke was installed. Attendance cards were put in the pews. A congregational retreat was held at Camp Omega in July.
1979 ● Individualized confirmation instruction was begun. The house at 1214 North North was purchased.
1980 ● Three phase building-remodeling program was planned. New constitution providing the right to vote to 18-year-olds and to women and to reorganize the boards was adopted.
1981 ● TV coverage of services was begun. VBS was held in the evening. Young at Heart was organized.
1982 ● In October John Elmshauser left. The LUTHERAN WORSHIP hymnals were purchased.
1983 ● Pastor Reinke left for his call to Anchorage, AK, in June. Joel Mathews was hired as interim DCE and Pastor Robert Hintz as vacancy pastor.
1984 ● In January Pastor Dan Wurster was in-stalled. Lynn Karolus was installed as DCE. The narthex was remodeled to provide a fellowship area.
1986 ● Pastor Wurster and DCE Lynn Karolus left. Pastor Vernon Harley was the vacancy pastor. Remodeling of the basement was done. Pews in the church were padded.
1987 ● On July 26 Pastor James Hendrikson was installed.
1988 ● Immanuel received its first vicar -- Lawrence E. Cain from Fort Wayne Seminary in July. The nursery was remodeled. The Alms Fund was established. Shelves were installed in the library. The youth room was remodeled.
1989 ● Lawrence Cain was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor. Concrete parking lot was completed. The kitchen was updated.
1992 ● Pastor Hendrikson took a call to Reedsburg, WI, in July. Pastor Cain became the senior pastor.
1993 ● Wade Daul, a graduate of St. Louis Seminary, was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor in June.
1994 ● July 10 church services were held at Sylvania Park and were followed by a picnic. A float was entered in the November Glows Parade. A Wednesday evening alternative service was initiated. Continuous-line communion was first used. The baptismal font was moved to the front center of the sanctuary.
1995 ● Midweek classes were discontinued; instead confirmation classes for grades 5-8 were held on Saturday. The 2 homes north of the parsonage were removed in preparation for moving the parsonage. Dial-a-devotion was initiated. The first Family Fun Day was held. Men's Chorus was organized. The parsonage was moved to the corner of the church property.
1996 ● A hand bell choir was organized. New communion ware was purchased. Pew hymnals were replaced. A booth was set up at the county fair. Pastor Cain accepted a call to Pipestone, MN in October.
1997 ● Immanuel's 100th Anniversary Celebration! Pastor Daul currently serves as Immanuel's shepherd. In this, our Anniversary year, it is our hope and prayer that we may begin construction of the new addition to the north - which will allow us to be handicapped accessible and will help to accommodate our growing educational and administrative needs.
1998 ● Pastor Dave Anderson and his family accepted the call to Immanuel. In the spring we moved into our new addition.
1999 ● Confirmation moved to Wednesday evenings. A system called “Simply giving” was initiated.
2000 ● Pastor Daul began teaching a class at Martin Luther High School, Northrop. In order to accommodate individuals in wheel chairs – a front pew was taken out.
2001 ● Air Conditioning was added. The lots on Margaret St were sold for $8500. A Communion Policy was adopted. Total membership – 835 souls.
2002 ● The library was moved upstairs and restocked. The quilting room (former library) had shelves installed and painted. The parsonage was sold.
2003 ● Moved the altar as a free-standing altar. A hill of stones and 3 steel crosses were placed on the SW corner of the church lawn.
2004 ● Lights were placed over the mailboxes. Installed paver block, placed a bench, fountain and planters, planted bushes, and put rock around the A/C units. A television was placed in the nursery for parents and children to observe worship service. There were 5 new shrubs planted by the 3 crosses on the SW corner of the church. The sign on the front lawn was finished and grass planted.
2005 ● Three directional signs within the community were put in place so that Immanuel Lutheran Church can be located by those visiting from outside the area: 1) Winnebago Ave; 2) near the DQ; 3) near Harsco Track and downtown. In the spring 4 new Blue Spruce evergreen trees were purchased and planted at the cemetery. WOI/LWML was restructured in hopes to better serve the needs of the congregation and community. Instead of the circles carrying the majority of the work – it was decided to go into individual committees for each event.
2006 ● The Welcome Center was completed. Replaced the wax candles with oil candles – more cost efficient and less messy. A pictorial directory was done.
2007 ● In March the building addition debt was paid off! A mortgage burning ceremony was held in the fall during both services. A phone tree was purchased. New hymnals were dedicated the
Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday. Total membership – 921 souls.
2008 ● Extra lighting was put in the chancel area. The organ was updated – was over 40 years old. Put in a new console which was dedicated in September.
2009 ● The sound system in the sanctuary was updated. Tuck pointing was completed on the outside of the church at a cost of $52033.00, this included painting the louvers on the bell tower for $2800.00. A 6-week sabbatical leave was given to both pastors.
2010 ● A storage shed was built on the church property. 2010 marked the 15th Anniversary of hosting the “Chili & Oyster” feed during the Fairmont Glows Parade. Total membership – 956 souls.
2011 ● The Educational office was moved from the basement to the 2nd floor classroom area. Pastor Anderson resigned.
2012 ● The library expanded into the secretary’s old office – almost doubled in size. Storage shed exterior was completed. Hosted a February “Friendship Sunday” and September “Block Party”. Pastor Daul accepted and began his call as Senior Pastor. Pastor George Ruwisch, a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, was installed as Associate Pastor in July. A new pictorial directory was done.
2013 ● The library remodeling was completed. The parking lot was repainted. Painted the church office, Work room, and conference room. Working to start repairing water leaks around the Bell Tower. The first series of (6) “Abide With Me” grief support sessions were completed. A new bulletin board was placed in the main hallway in an effort to introduce new members to our Immanuel family. A congregational member service directory was made up. Recognized Pastor Daul’s 20 years of ministry.
2014 ● In June, the basement was flooded by rainwater. Insurance covered the cost of replacing carpet and kitchen cabinet repairs, and so a major "refreshing project" was done by replacing all kitchen cabinets and giving the kitchen a fresh coat of paint (completed in 2015). Pastor Ruwisch and Lyle Wolle visited Guatemala with the potential of beginning a mission outreach opportunity there by our congregation. The 5:00 pm service on Christmas Eve was revised into a "Contemporary Christmas Eve" service.
2015 ● Approved a "Sexual Misconduct Policy" as required by our Insurance Company. Congregation approved a 5-year commitment to do mission work among the people of El Pariaso, Guatemala. A new 7-17 service was added from Memorial Day to Labor Day - meeting every Wednesday from 7:17 - 8:00 pm. Using Responsive Prayer 2 from the hymnal it offers a "bible study" on the coming Sunday's sermon text. Krause Konstruction did a tuckpointing and copper roof repair project by the Bell Tower .
2016 ● Krause Konstruction repaired the east valleys on the church roof to eliminate ice dams and water issues. Seventeen members of the Sr. Youth Group attended the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. The Fireside Room and church basement area received a new paint job. Pastor Ruwisch took a call to Grace Lutheran Church - Nashua, New Hampshire and left in early December.
2017 ● Pastor Adam Carnehl was ordained at his home congregation in Arlington Heights, IL and then was installed at Immanuel in August. In the Fall, the stucco on the old and new buildings was repaired, sealed and repainted.