A congregation with deep roots and a strong sense of tradition, Immanuel is responding to what God has begun in the area: new people, new needs, new opportunities for faith in action.
To the best of our knowledge, our congregation was organized in 1866 as Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Under the leadership of Pastor Johannes Strieter, a church building was constructed toward the center of a two acre plot of land that now serves as our current cemetery. Although Lutheran ministerial acts date back to as early as 1853 in Kendall County, this was the first time a Lutheran church had been constructed. The exact date of its dedication is unknown since records of that time cannot be found.
During 1870, Pastor Hallerberg was called to be our first regular full time pastor. Mr. Bewie was called to be our first parochial school teacher. At this time, a ten acre tract of land was purchased from Frederick Hardecopf. This is where the present church stands.
In 1881, the Missouri Synod of which we belonged, changed its stand on the doctrine of predestination. Fifteen of Immanuel's members wanted to accept the Missouri Synod's stance, whereas 17 of the members did not. Since the majority, staying with Immanuel, did not accept it, we joined the Ohio Synod. The other 15, formed their own congregation known as Cross Evangelical Lutheran Congregation.
In 1887, several improvements were made. The steeple which was badly in need of repair, was repaired for between $18-$30. Two rose of horse shelter stalls, forty feet wide, were also built on the south side of the church.
In 1888, the church set forth a plan for what teachers were required to teach in Immanuel's parochial school: Catechism, Bible History, German Reading, Writing, Initials in Grammar, and all English subjects that were required by the state. The parochial school stayed in operation until 1923.
In 1893, a Peloubet Organ was purchased for $350. Since the organ had to be pumped by hand, some of the younger members of the congregation were paid $7.00 a year to pump it.
Each summer, the congregation would celebrate the Fourth of July with a Children's Festival. This festival would usually be held in the wood at one of the members' homes. The teacher would organize a program for the children to put on. Various types of games would then be enjoyed by all. We still have this festival today, only the title has been changed to the Church Picnic, and is usually held on the last Sunday of June. Since we no longer have the parochial school, the program is now put on by the Vacation Bible School children as the morning worship service.
Because of the increasing cost of repairs on the church building, on June 7, 1903, it was resolved to build a new church. This new church was to be 37 feet wide and 60 feet long with a 90 foot steeple.The foundation was to be made of stonemortar, and the roof to be covered with shingles. The organ and the benches for the choir were to be taken from the old church. The corner stone was laid on May 1, 1904, with the dedication service held on September 18th. The church was built at a cost of $7,623.65 by Tomas Leigger. Two sheds, 10 feet wide were also built at this time to tie the horses up in.
During this time, a new 355 reed organ was purchased. On September 17, 1916, the congregation held its 50th Jubilee Celebration.
The present Sunday School was started in 1914. Prior to the this, the catechism class was held on Sunday morning, and the school taught most subjects now covered in Sunday School.
During all of this time, the German language was used exclusively. Over the summer of 1906, English services were held once a month on Sunday evenings. English hymnals were purchased with the money collected at these services. During the summer of 1912, English services began being held every third Sunday morning. In 1919, it was voted to teach only English in the school and catechism classes. During 1921 English services were held every other Sunday. Later, they were held every Sunday. The English services greatly increased the membership of the congregation.