100 years of Immanuel Lutheran Church
In celebration of its 100th year, Immanuel Lutheran Church, N1660 Leafy Grove Rd., Town of Corning, is extending an intive to the public to a 10 a.m. church service on Aug. 2, followed by a pot-luck and BBQ meal with live music and some activities for the kids from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for all to enjoy.
Immanuel- one hundred years of “God With Us.” The translation of Immanuel’s name could not be more appropriate.
In the fall of 1914, several Lutheran families from the state of Illinois and from Waupaca County, Wis., settled in Town of Corning, Lincoln County. These Lutherans invited Pastor J.G. Schliepsiek of Merrill to conduct divine services in the area. The first service was held Nov. 15, 1914. At first the services were conducted at Meyer’s school house every four weeks; later on, every two weeks.
On Easter Sunday, 1915, the wish was expressed by several of the people that a congregation be organized, and Pastor Schliepsiek agreed to prepare a Constitution. This Constitution was read to the congregation on April 18, 1915; thereupon the congregation was organized and five men signed the Constitution; Albert Winter, Gust Vandre, Fred Winter, Henry Procknow and Otto Wendler. Albert and Gust were chosen the first Elders of the congregation.
In a second meeting held on May 2, 1915, the name “Immanuel” was selected by the new congregation. Pastor J.G. Schliepsiek, with the assistance of his son, Theodore, continues to serve Immanuel until the latter part of 1918.
On January 7, 1917, a committee was appointed to look for a suitable building site. The congregation adopted the Articles of Incorporation and purchased an acre of land on the northwest corner of Section 16 for $65. In the summer of 1918 the congregation raised 86 bushels of potatoes on the acre of land, netting a profit of $67.82.
In a meeting held on May 12, 1918, the congregation, together with St. Paul’s, Town of Scott, decided to call a candidate to serve as pastor. Candidate Rev. Henry Blanke accepted the call and was installed in May 1918.
The congregation, in a meeting held on Nov. 9, 1919, decided to erect a church building of cement blocks. A loan of $1,000 was secured for the Church Extension Fund of the North Wisconsin District and Otto Wendt was requested to do the necessary carpentry work.
The cornerstone of the new church building was laid on July 25, 1920, with Pastor H. Daib of Merrill preaching the sermon. On Oct. 17, 1920, the new church building was dedicated. The total cost of the building was $2,930.08. The tower was added to the structure in the summer of 1923 at a cost of $246, and the bell, donated by the Ladies Aid Society, was installed.
Pastor H. Blanke was granted a release to accept a call to Leavenworth, Kansas on March 16, 1924. Pastor T.C. Appelt was installed that same year as the pastor of the parish.
In a meeting held December 28, 1924, the possibility of building a Christian Day School was considered by the congregation. In April of 1925 another meeting was held and a decision was made to begin a fund for the building of the school house or parsonage. Two acres of land were donated to the congregation by Otto Wendt; Friedrich Baumann at the same time offered to donate rough lumber for a parsonage. On April 11, 1926, the congregation decided to remodel the basement of the church for school purposed until other arrangements could be made.
On October 15, 1926, Pastor Appelt was given his release to follow a call to the professorship of Concordia Teachers College at River Forest, Ill. Pastor E.G. Ottersteatter assumed the pastorate of the parish for some time that fall.
On Oct. 16, 1927, a resolution to sever parish relationship with St. Paul’s, Town of Scott, and become an independent congregation was adopted by the congregation. Now a parsonage has become a necessity.
After calling several times, Pastor Walter Going accepted the call to Immanuel Lutheran, and thus became the first resident pastor, his installation taking place on Oct. 7, 1928. On this day also the new parsonage was dedicated. The same year a reed organ was donated to the congregation by the Ladies Aid.
On May 18, 1930, the congregation celebrated it’s 15th Anniversary, Pastor H. Daib of Merrill and E.H. Bertermann of Wausau serving as guest speakers. In 1932 Herman Natzke donated an acre of land to the congregation. On March 28, 1937, Pastor Going left to assume the pastorate at Cumberland, Wis.
On June 13, 1937, Pastor Ronald W. Goetsch assumed the pastorate at Immanuel Lutheran, being installed by Rev. Walter Koch of Merrill, Pastors H. Schedler and W. Piehler assisting at the installation.
At the annual meeting in January 1938 the congregation decided to employ a candidate for teaching school and requested subsidy from the North Wisconsin District, which was granted. Candidate Wm H. Albach of Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis served as teacher for the school term of 1938-39. Victor Dahlke served from 1939-44; and Ann Wiesner from 1944-45. In May 1943 the tavern across the road from the church building was purchased by the congregation and remodeled into a school building.
In April 1945, Pastor Ronald Goetsch was given a release to accept a call to the congregations at Osseo and Cleghorn, Wis. Pastor W. Koch served the congregation as vacancy pastor until June 15, 1947, and was installed as pastor. In a combined meeting with St. Paul’s, Town of Scott, held in July 1947, it had been resolved to consolidate into one parish with the pastor to live in the Town of Scott parsonage.
Arnold Kell was installed as the first resident teacher of Immanuel Lutheran Christian Day School on Aug. 19, 1945. At the annual meeting in January 1946 it was decided to build a teacherage; the building was completed in 1947. Mr. Kell faithfully served the Christian Day School until Aug. 14, 1955, when he followed a call to Immanuel Lutheran of Cecil, Wis. Mrs. Elida Woller became the teacher and served until 1956.
Due to the fact that the work load in the parich was getting rather hard for Pastor Janssen because of advancing age, he resigned from the parish on April 4, 1956; the parish was again dissolved. Pastor Martin Goetsch, pastor emeritus, became the vacancy pastor.
In the month of December 1956 Pastor Richard Hinz was installed, also serving as vacancy pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Town of Pine River. Later on, these two congregations were combined into one parish. Under his pastorate the shelter house and kitchen in the church park was erected. The 30th Anniversary of the school was celebrated on Aug. 3, 1958. The following served as teachers in the school during this time: Quentin Andrews from 1956-57; Mrs. Elida Woller resumed teaching duties in 1957 and was joined by full-time teacher Mrs. Dorothy Natzke; later on Miss Priscilla Rothlisberg of Merrill served until 1964 when the school closed.
In May 1962 Pastor Hinz was granted a release to accept the call to Resurrection Lutheran Church, Flushing, NY. Pastor Arnold Beawer of Hamburg began to serve as the vacancy pastor. Immanuel congregation then decided to amalgamate with the Hamburg parish. A call was extended to Pastor Beawer to serve Immanuel and was installed on Feb. 3, 1963.
In a special meeting on May 11, 1965, it was decided to erect a new house of worship. Ground was broken in November 1966 and construction started in June 1967. The corner stone laying ceremony was held Sept. 3, 1967, and dedication of the 40 x 88 foot building, of Norman brick, with oak paneling on the nave walls and Philippine mahogany in the narthex on Sunday, March 24, 1968. the Chancel furniture and appointments were oak. The cost of the new building was $80,000, not counting the value of the many hours donated by members of the congregation. The new church could seat about 250, highlighted by the 28-foot separate tower, with a full basement and ground level entrances.
In January 1970 Pastor Beawer announced his resignation. Pastor Donald Schulz served as vacancy pastor until December of 1970, when Pastor Harvey Kath accepted the call to the parish and was installed Jan. 31, 1971.
On October 5, 1975, Immanuel celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary with Pastor Kath officiating and guest speakers Pastor Beawer and Pastor Ronald Goetsch. Dec. 14, 1975, was the mortgage buring – 16 months ahead of schedule.
Pastor Kath accepted a call to Glencoe, Minn.; his farewell service was September 15, 1976. Vacancy pastors from 1976-77 were Eberhard Klatt and Herbert Praeuner. A call to Pastor Ronald Nichols from Cooperstown, ND, was accepted and he was installed in January 1977.
June 1, 1978, the voters decided to add an Educational Wing to the church. It has five classrooms, a multi-purpose room and an office all to help teach the children about “the one thing needful, Jesus.”
Pastor Nichol’s accepted a call on Sept. 2, 1984 to Grace Lutheran Church in Racine, Wis. Pastor Alfred Schroeder served as vacancy until December 1984 and was installed Jan. 6, 1985.
In 1996 plans were drawn up to incorporate the church. Stained glass windows were ordered, being paid for by members in memory of loved ones or special events. The dedication was on Sept. 28, 1997.
October 1997, Pastor Homp took a leave of absence and later resigned as pastor. Pastor Kenneth Albers, Merrill, served as vacancy until Oct. 18, 1998 when Pastor Jody Walter was installed. In 2000 Pastor Walters expressed a desire to lighten his load and go to a smaller congregation in Frederick, Wis., also called Immanuel Lutheran.
Once again Pastor Kenneth Albers served as vacancy pastor until April 1, 2001 when Pastor Joel Danner was installed after a call in December 2000. Pastor Joel Danner is still serving as pastor and has become the longest pastor in the church’s history.
In 2006 the Little Red Barn was purchased from the Foremost Dairy farmers. with members volunteering to scoop ice cream at the Merrill rodeo, the Hodag, Lincoln Counry Fair and Labor Day with the proceeds to help with the church’s opperating expence.
In conclusion, we would like to pay tribute to all the people who have given their time an talents to shape Immanuel into what it is today. First, we owe a debt of gratitude to all the faithful pastors and the teachers who have gone before and those who continue to faithfully preach and teach the Word of God. We also thank our founding fathers and mothers and all those saints who went before who had the insight and belief that this small rural community in the Town of Corning needed a country church to worship our great God. Most of all thanks to our Lord and Savior. As St. Paul so boldly states, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The church held a 100th Anniversary celebration for its congregation on April 19, 2015, with Pastor Kath as speaker and Pastor Walter as lecture. A special invite went to past confirmed members. The approximately 265 who attended were treated to a special meal, fellowship and memories.