A HISTORY OF IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH – LCMS
Macomb, Illinois 1956-2016
Mission work by the Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was begun and abandoned in Macomb during the early 1930s under Rev. J.R. Westphal, then Missionary-at- Large for the counties of Henderson, Knox, Warren, McDonough, Fulton, Schuyler, and other nearby counties.
In 1955, Rev. George Krengel of Bowen, Illinois, began once again with the first preaching service being conducted by him in September in a vacant house owned by Robert Adcock of Kewanee, Illinois, on the corner of McArthur and West Washington Streets. Among those in attendance at this service were:
Reverend and Mrs. George Krengel
Mr. and Mrs. Willard Post, from Holy Cross, Golden, Illinois. Mrs. Post was pianist for the first service.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Kaelke, Michael and Thomas
Mrs. Irene Dahl, Robert, Patricia, and Tom
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Victor Schormann and the Wayne Kelly family joined this small Lutheran group. The Jack Rimbey and Arnold Wendt families were also included in the first members when the group organized as a congregation in Macomb.
Rev. Prof. Martin Naumann of Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Illinois helped Rev. Krengel with services until Rev. Krengel left Illinois in January, 1956. Thereafter, Prof. Naumann and Seminary students conducted services in Macomb. Robert Dahl, Irene Dahl’s son, served as pianist/organist.
In the spring of 1956 the Central Illinois District Board of Directors issued a call to Rev. Carl Geiger of Mattoon, Illinois, Chairman of the District Mission Board. Upon his acceptance he was installed as Missionary-at-Large in the Macomb area by Rev. E.M. Goltermann of Quincy, on Sunday June 17, 1956 in the McArthur Middle School Auditorium.
The second meeting of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Group of Macomb was held on Monday June 25, 1956, at the office of Ed Kaelke. After some discussion a motion was made by Mr. Kaelke and seconded by John Zillman that the group organize as a congregation in Macomb. The motion carried and the group unanimously decided to name the congregation Immanuel Lutheran Church (The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod). Those instrumental at this meeting were: Ed Kaelke, John Zillman, Raymond Rice, Winston Lacey, Roland Deterling, Richard Fricke, Victor Schormann, and Rev. Geiger.
The first officers of the congregation were:
Chairman- Ed Kaelke
Secretary- Raymond Rice
Treasurer- Victor Schormann
Elders- Richard Fricke, Ed Kaelke, Raymond Rice
Trustees- John Zillman, Jack Rimbey, Winston Lacey
Voting members who signed the Constitution on October 6, 1956, were Ed Kaelke, Jack Rimbey, Richard Fricke, Arnold Wendt, Winston Lacey, Ronald Geiger, John Zillman, Carl Geiger, and Raymond Rice.
In July, 1956 the congregation moved to a new temporary place of worship, the Driver’s License Bureau Building, 218 S. Mechanic St. where they worshiped until November, 1957. Immanuel Lutheran was received into membership with the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod at the Central Illinois District Convention in August 1957.
In the fall of 1956, a plot of ground was purchased at the end of South Pearl Street from Louis Blevins for $10,500. The congregation then applied for and received a loan from the District in the amount $40,000 to build a house of worship. C.R. Miller and sons of Decatur, Illinois were engaged as architects.
The ladies of Immanuel organized a Women’s Guild on March 11, 1957, and were received into membership with the Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League on August 12, 1957. First officers were: Mrs. Irene Dahl, President; Mrs. Ruth Kaelke, Vice President; Mrs. John Zillman, Secretary; Mrs. Shirley Rimbey, Treasurer. The society continues its Christian fellowship with charitable and mission endeavors to Immanuel Church as well as mission support to the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church at large.
The local Delta Chi chapter of the campus ministry student organization “Gamma Delta” was organized March 20, 1957, at the VFW Hall, 211 W. Washington St. First officers were William Frenk, President; William Knake, Vice President; Vonda Kadal, Secretary; and Caroly Worley, Treasurer. A charter was presented May 8, 1957, to the Delta Chi Chapter by Mr. William Keel of University of Illinois, Triota regional President of Gamma Delta.
In addition to the VFW Hall, the students met at Immanuel Church, the WIU Student Union, rented homes at 715 W. Adams and 718 W. Chandler, and the present Immanuel Lutheran Student Center/St. Timothy the Learner Chapel at 303 N. Clay St.
The Ground Breaking Ceremony for Immanuel congregation’s new house of worship was held after the morning worship service April 28, 1957. Rev. Geiger read the ground breaking rite, and John Zillman, chairman of the Building Committee, and Ed Kaelke, president of the congregation turned over the first spades of earth.
A gift of $6,047.50 was given to Immanuel Lutheran Church by the Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League at the convention June 5, 1957.
Due to inclement weather, a special cornerstone laying service was not held. On June 11, 1957, the following items were placed into the cornerstone by John Zillman, chairman of the Building Committee, and Rev. Geiger- a New Testament, a Catechism, the most recent copy of Lutheran Witness (and District supplement), a Macomb Daily Journal, a document containing the following names: Church officers, the building committee, the builder, current pastor, current President of the United States, current Governor of Illinois, current Mayor of Macomb, as well as a brief history of the congregation.
Arnold Wendt was elected as our Sunday School Superintendent on October 6, 1957. The first Sunday school class was held November 10th of that year. Mrs. Irene Dahl served as Sunday School Secretary for many years, keeping accurate records of Sunday school enrollments and attendance. “From a child thou has know the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). These words of St. Paul to Timothy show the importance of Christian education, and the value derived from it.
The new house of worship was dedicated in two special services on Sunday, November 3, 1957. The Rev. Prof. Martin Naumann of Springfield, Illinois was the guest speaker at the morning service and the Rev. George Krengel of Oskaloosa, Iowa, spoke in the afternoon. The dedication ceremony was conducted by Rev. Carl Geiger, pastor of Immanuel. The organist was Robert Dahl. Concordia Seminary Choristers provided music for both services. About 400 people were in attendance. Actual Immanuel Lutheran Church membership at this time was about 60.
The first junior Confirmands were confirmed in the faith by Rev. Geiger on March 30, 1958. They were Patricia Dahl, David Geiger, and Thomas Kaelke.
On September 17, 1959, Rev. Geiger received a call from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, which he accepted. He preached his farewell sermon on Sunday, October 18, 1959. Rev. John Beiderwieden of Havana, Illinois, served as vacancy pastor.
Mr. & Mrs. Mike and Sally Powell were the first marriage to be performed in the Church.
On March 13, 1960, Rev. Donald Winter of Three Lakes, Wisconsin, was installed as pastor. Rev. Beiderwieden and Rev. Marvin Matzke conducted the service. Before coming to Macomb, Pastor Winter served as a missionary in Three Lakes and Eagle River, Wisconsin.
During his service in Macomb, Rev. Winter was vacancy pastor for St. Paul’s Lutheran at Bowen, Illinois, from June 1962- November 1963, a period of 18 months. Through efforts of Rev. Winter, the Central Illinois District rented a house at 715 W. Adams in Macomb in September, 1963, to be used as a Student Center for Gamma Delta.
On February 12, 1963, the Church Council established an organ and pew fund. The first organ was purchased late in 1963 from the Allen Organ Company for $2,500.00. Sometime later pews were purchased and were in use by February 1965.
On December 18, 1963, Rev. Winter became disabled due to sudden illness. He spent considerable time in hospitals in Springfield, Macomb and Peoria for physical therapy.
Rev. William Schilbach of Quincy and Rev. James Agee of Galesburg served members of Immanuel temporarily. In March, 1964, Mr. James Cumming, a student of Concordia Seminary in Springfield, came as assistant to the pastor for a period of six months. Rev. John Beiderwieden of Havana agreed once again to serve as vacancy pastor when Mr. Cumming returned to Seminary in September, 1964 to complete his studies. Rev. Winter resigned as pastor of Immanuel on September 1, 1964.
Installation services were conducted Sunday April 4, 1965, at 3:00 p.m. for our new pastor, Rev. Roderick Desmond Jose. Those taking part in the service were: Rev. John Beiderwieden, Havana, liturgist; Rev. George Albers, Decatur, speaker; and Rev. Herbert Hallerberg, Quincy, rite of installation. Robert Dahl was organist for the service.
Rev. Jose was born in 1925 in Cornwall, England, and graduated from Bethany-British in 1955. He served two congregations in England before coming to the United States in 1962. He served three of our churches in Garrison, Mac, and Douglas, North Dakota.
With the departure of Rev. Jose and family August 28, 1967, Rev. Richard Loesche of Bowen assumed the duties as vacancy pastor at Immanuel and the Campus Ministry. Guest speakers for Sunday services were often students from Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield.
Ground breaking for the new Lutheran Student Center and St. Timothy the Learner Chapel was held February 18, 1968 at 3:00 p.m. on the construction site at Clay and Calhoun streets. Speaker for the service was Rev. George Albers, Executive Director of Missions for the Central Illinois District.
The installation of Rev. James Cumming took place in a special service April 7, 1968, at 7:00 p.m. Speaker for this occasion was Rev. Lambert JH Wyssman of Quincy. Pastors of the area assisted Rev. Richard Loesche in the rite of installation. Rev. Cumming was born in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Concordia Seminary, Springfield, in 1964. He was sent as Missionary-at-Large to establish a new congregation in Potsdam, New York.
The rite of cornerstone laying for the Student Center was held September 8, 1968, as a part of the 10:30 a.m. regular worship service of Immanuel Lutheran. The congregation reassembled at the northwest corner of the construction site. Those taking part in the service were: Rev. James Cumming, Pastor of Immanuel; Rev. George Albers, Executive Secretary of Missions and Stewardship of the Central Illinois District; Mr. G. Albers, of the architecture firm; Dr. Arnold Wendt, chairmen of Immanuel congregation; and Mr. W. Griffel, President of Gamma Delta.
The dedication services and concert for the Lutheran Student Center and Chapel of St. Timothy the Learner was held March 23, 1969. The opening of the doors and first morning worship was at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. E.J. Otto, Quincy, as guest minister. At 2:30 p.m. a dedicatory concert was performed by the Concordia Seminary Choir, Western Illinois Brass and Percussion Ensemble and Dr. Charlene Rudnick, organist. Rev. Krause of DeKalb was guest minister for the Festival Service of Dedication at 3:30 p.m. Later in the summer, Immanuel Lutheran Church presented to the Student Center and Chapel of St. Timothy the Learner, a gift of outside speakers for the organ chimes.
An Educational Unit Building Fund was authorized July 20, 1969, by our Voters Assembly. At this time members for the Building Committee were: Robert McCleery, Chairman; Arnold Wendt, Mike Powell, and Rev. Cumming.
On April 5, 1970, The Board of Elders Amendment Recommendation for limited women’s suffrage in our church was presented, but failed to attain the necessary 2/3 majority needed for amendment to our constitution.
At the Special Voters Assembly June 7, 1970, it was resolved that we finance our educational addition through the Central Illinois District Church Extension Fund with a loan of $40,000. Cost of the building was $46,500. Congregational President, Hans Moll, and Building Committee chairman, Walt Materna, signed a contract with Mr. Bing Coney, June 17, 1970, on behalf of the congregation to continue architectural work on the educational addition.
Ground breaking services were included in our Sunday School Rally day service, September 20, 1970. At this time the committee heads on the project were: Walt Materna, Building Committee Chairman, Arnold Wendt, Coordinator of Investments; Herb Kaufmann, Volunteer Laborers; Otto Oberjohn, Furnishing and Special Gifts; Paul Ihnen, Photographer; and Shirley Rimbey, Decoration Committee Chairman. The general contractor for the addition was Mike Powell Construction of Macomb.
At the Voters Assembly on April 4, 1971, it was decided to borrow an additional $5,000 from the CID-CEF making our total loan $45,000. Our Dedication/15th Anniversary Celebration was set for Trinity Sunday, June 6th, 1971, at 3:30 pm. In this special worship service Rev. George A Krengel, who spoke at the November 3, 1957, dedication of our original building, was the guest speaker. Also participating were Rev. Everett Wittenberg of Quincy, circuit counselor, and Rev. James T. Cumming, Pastor of Immanuel. Mr. Robert Dahl was the organist.
Pastor Cumming served both Immanuel Church and the Lutheran Student Center through June of 1973. In July of 1973 Pastor Cumming became full-time Campus Pastor, called by the District. After nearly 13 year of service to Immanuel and the Student Center, he accepted a call to Faith Lutheran Church, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where he was installed March 1, 1981.
With Pastor Cumming assuming full-time duties as Campus Pastor, a vacancy existed at Immanuel until November 4, 1973, at 7:30 pm, at which time Rev. Karl W. Hanke was installed. Rev. Everett L Wittenburg, Quincy Circuit Counselor, conducted the services. Rev. James T. Cumming and other clergymen from neighboring Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations took part.
Rev. Hanke was originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He served with the United States Army and graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield in 1964. Pastor Hanke served Immanuel from November 1973 until April 1981, at which time he accepted a call to Ottawa, Illinois. Rev. Edwin Hahn, retired pastor from Quincy, assumed the duties as vacancy pastor with the departure of Rev. Hanke in April 1981.
Immanuel’s Constitution Article VI was amended in 1979. The original wording was “The right to vote shall be granted to all male members of this congregation who have reached the age of 18 years and who have signed the Constitution.” A proposed Amendment to the Church Constitution was presented April 1, 1979: Deletion of the word “male.” At the July 1, 1979 Voters Assembly meeting, the second reading of the proposed amendment to the Constitution was voted and passed.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization of our congregation, the date of June 14, 1981 was chosen. This special service was scheduled for 10:30 am with a potluck dinner following the service.
On Feb 7, 1982, Immanuel was joined with the Lutheran Student Center in Macomb forming one ministry with one Pastor and two worship sites. Rev. Lindsay Watkins, formerly of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rushville, Illinois, was installed as our pastor on this date.
Our Central Illinois District agreed to provide a Parish worker to assist Pastor Watkins with his work with the students. Pastor Watkins chose Mrs. Marcia Moll to fill that position. A special induction of Mrs. Moll as our Parish Worker was held on August 29, 1982 during the 11:00 am Student Center Service.
A 5th and 6th grade catechism class began in our ministry in 1982 to supplement our 7th and 8th grade confirmation class. The 5th and 6th grade catechism class was a two-year course on the Old and New Testaments.
Mrs. Sarah Fodor began a choir composed of Immanuel members in January, 1985. She was assisted by Mrs. Melinda Grimm, organist. In the previous year, Mr. David Fodor had begun “God at Work”, a Christian musical group of Lutheran Student Center students, which gave presentations at nearby Missouri Synod churches.
Upon the death of Mr. Otto Oberjohn, a memorial fund in his memory was given to our congregation’s Organ Fund. The Organ Fund continued until December 1983, when the final payment was made on the new Allen Digital Organ.
During this period of our congregation’s history, property improvements were made on the Church building, parsonage, and Student Center. These property improvements included: the installation of ceiling fans within the Church and Student Center, and the remodeling of the interior of the parsonage. A parking lot fund was begun for the church building and paving began in 1985.
In May of 1986, our church received word that a Vicar from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, would be placed in our ministry. The Vicar would arrive in August 1986. The Vicar would assist Pastor Watkins in his ministry of the congregation and Student Center. The voters of our congregation had previously voted a change of staff in pastoral assistance from a Parish Worker and preaching assistant to a Vicarage program.
The 30th anniversary celebration of Immanuel Lutheran Church was held June 8th 1986. The theme was “All Good Gifts Come from the Lord.” The special 30th Anniversary offering was used for the Immanuel Parking Lot Fund.
In June, 1986, Pastor Watkins accepted a call to Mount Hope Lutheran Church in Evergreen, Colorado. Pastor Al Wickman of Quincy served as the supervisor of the Vicarage program. Our vacancy pastor was Rev. Melvin Weseloh of Havana, Illinois.
In August of 1986, “Macomb Lutheran Ministry Memos,” a newsletter, was prepared by the Board of Elders and Parish Worker to keep Immanuel members and friends informed of what was happening in our ministry. Our first Vicar, Greg Todd, was inducted on August 24, 1986 at the 9:00 am service at Immanuel.
In June, 1987, our vacancy pastor, Rev. Weseloh, accepted a call to Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois. Pastor Clarence Mankin of Concordia Lutheran Church, Warsaw, Illinois served as our new vacancy pastor for the remainder of our vacancy. John Maxfield from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana was installed as our second Vicar on September 6, 1987.
After a vacancy of 17 months, the Lord blessed us with a new pastor. Pastor Thomas R. Daly, assistant pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Pekin, Illinois, accepted the call to be pastor at Immanuel Lutheran and the Student Center. Pastor Daly was installed on Sunday December 13, 1987, at 3:00 pm.
Our third Vicar, James Fundum, from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was installed at Immanuel on Sunday, August 7, 1988.
With many willing hand and loving hearts our Immanuel parking lot was completed in August, 1988. Our thankfulness to God for His many blessings to our congregation! The Church’s mortgage was burned following the Reformation Service Sunday, October 29, 1988.
Hal Tonjes, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, served his vicarage at Immanuel and the Student Center from August 1988 to July 1989.
The Quincy Zone Rally of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League was held at Immanuel on September 26, 1989, with the Immanuel Women’s Guild as hostesses.
Vicar Tom Hoffman was installed at Immanuel in August 1990 for the 1990-1991 school year. Tom Dunseth served as Vicar during the 1991-1992 school year.
At the January 13, 1991 Voter’s Assembly, a motion was made, seconded and carried to purchase a grand piano for Immanuel. Later that same year, the Central Illinois District Convention was held at Western Illinois University, July 11-13, 1991, and Immanuel helped host it.
At the quarterly Voter’s Meeting a motion was made, seconded and carried that a full-time professional church worker be added to the staff of the Macomb Lutheran Ministry.
Immanuel’s LWML Women’s Guild celebrated its 35th Anniversary on Sunday, August 16, 1992. They received a new charter from the Central Illinois District LWML in honor of its 50th Anniversary. In August of that same year, Pastor Daly accepted a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois. Rev. Paul Koschmann agreed to serve as our vacancy pastor.
Rev. J. Jeffery Baxter from St. John Lutheran Church, Champaign, Illinois accepted the call to be our pastor and was installed on Sunday, February 14, 1993 at a 2:00 pm service.
At the April 18, 1993 Quarterly Voters Meeting, a motion passed to call an assistant pastor. On June 7, 1993, representatives from the Macomb Lutheran Ministry met with the Mission Board of the Central Illinois District to present a request for a second pastor and the necessary funding that would accompany that request. The request was approved. A call meeting for an assistant pastor was held July 25, 1993, during which a call was extended to Rev. Brian Hagler, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Granite City, Illinois. Rev. Brian Hagler of Granite City, Illinois was installed as Associate Pastor of the Macomb Lutheran Ministry on Sunday, August 29, 1993.
In October 1993, a congregation handbook review committee was formed with Mike and Sally Powell as Co-Chairmen. In January 1994, additional pews were delivered to Immanuel and newly engraved memorial plaques were purchased in memory of Loren Dittus, Otto Oberjohn, and Meryl Catlin.
Immanuel Lutheran has been privileged to have several past Vicars and one student become missionaries. Our first Vicar, Greg Todd, is a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. Our last Vicar Tom Dunseth was a missionary in Macau beginning December 1993. Our third Vicar, James Fundum, served in Canada after his graduation from the seminary in 1990. Our fourth Vicar, Hal Tonjes, joined the Lutheran Bible Translators and began serving in Africa in 1997.
Several of our WIU students have gone on to become Pastors. They include: Rev. Todd Roberts, Rev. William Lindenmeyer, Rev. Michael Burdick, Rev. Russ Helbrig, Rev. Tom Ogilvie, the late Rev. Ken Mangold, the late Rev. Mike Stock, Rev. Daniel Wu, Rev. Marty Mably, Rev. JJ Stefanic, Rev. Aaron Uphoff, and Rev John Zimmerman. Praise be to God for these faithful workers.
Pastor J Jeffrey Baxter resigned as Senior Pastor of the Immanuel Lutheran as of December 31, 1994. The Rev. Paul Koschmann of Jacksonville, Illinois began serving as vacancy pastor in January, 1995.
Rev. Brian Hagler accepted a call to Tuscola, Illinois in January 1996. Rev. Paul Koschmann continued to serve as vacancy pastor.
“Sent forth by God’s Blessing” was the theme for the national celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. A special anniversary celebration was held at Immanuel on Sunday, April 27, 1997. The Committee “150” planned a special activity for each month including a trip to Perry County, Missouri.
Pastor Koschmann faithfully served as vacancy pastor until August 24, 1997, at which time the Rev. Michael Burdick was installed as pastor of the Macomb Lutheran Ministry. Both Pastor Burdick and his wife Kathy received their undergraduate degrees from Western Illinois University.
“As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” On August 16, 1998, a service of ordination and commissioning into the holy ministry of Kenneth John Mangold was held at the Chapel of St. Timothy. The Rev. Ken and wife, Lisa, former members of Immanuel and graduates of Western Illinois University, served several months as missionaries in Kazakhstan, Russia.
In the fall 2000, new carpeting was installed in the sanctuary at Immanuel and remodeling was done in the chancel. A youth choir was organized in 2000 under the direction of Janne Oliver.
At a special Voter’s Meeting, June 17, 2001, a resolution was ratified changing the name of the Macomb Lutheran Ministry to Immanuel Lutheran (LCMS). The site on Grant Street continues to be called Immanuel Lutheran Church and the site on Clay Street is called Immanuel Lutheran Student Center. The Central Illinois District approved of these changes.
On Sunday, September 23, 2001, our whole church family – students, members, and friends, gathered together for worship in one service at 10:00am at Immanuel Church. Immediately following the service there was an All-Church “Tell the Good News about Jesus” Job Fair. Groups and committees in our church shared their missions through informal displays. Also represented were Camp CILCA, Concordia Seminary-St. Louis, and community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Loaves and Fishes. Dave Hunter served as coordinator of the job fair. This Joint Service was the launch of holding semi-annual combined services each semester. The Joint Services alternate between the Church and the Student Center, as we are one congregation with two sites.
A new electronic piano was purchased for the Sunday school. Much of the money for the project was raised by the students themselves. It was dedicated December 2001.
Four new lights were installed in the parking lot at Immanuel Church. CIPS installed the lights and will maintain them at no cost. Installation and a charge per month are paid by the congregation.
At the April 2002 Quarterly Voter’s Meeting the changes to the Constitution and By-laws were accepted. In keeping with changes in the Constitution and By-laws, the installation of officers was held in September, instead of in January.
New sanctuary pew cushions were dedicated to God’s service on Sunday, May 26, 2002 at Immanuel Church. Monies for the cushions were provided by a memorial fund from the late Mark Dittus.
The Student Activity Center (Youth Group Room) at the Church was dedicated on June 12, 2002. Funds from the Stuart A. Curtis Memorial Fund were used to prepare the room.
At the October, 2002 Voter’s assembly a motion carried to replace the organ at Immanuel with a new one. It was installed in time for Christmas Services. One year later, a Reformation Day celebration of music was held October 26, 2003 at the church. The dedication of the new Rogers organ at Immanuel took place at this time. Organist Mark Gifford presented the recital of music though the church year.
In November 2002, a call was extended to Director of Christian Education Dean Christ to be our Director of Christian Growth. Dean accepted the call and on February 9, 2003 was installed in a 10:00 am service in the Student Center.
In June 2005 a committee was formed to begin planning for the 50th Anniversary of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Macomb to be observed in 2006. Since the first preaching service was conducted in September 1955, celebration activities were begun in September 2005. Lynn Wolfmeyer served as chairman of the committee.
During an outdoor service on June 26, 2005, Immanuel congregation was presented with a plaque and words of appreciation for being the Charter Organization for Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1. BSA Medicine Lodge District Executive Alexandra Harrison made the presentation to the congregation. In turn, Pastor Burdick presented members of the Crew a pocket New Testament that they could easily take on camping trips. The Venture Crew is a coed scouting organization for boys and girls and is open to both members and non-members of the congregation. Some members of the group departed for Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico on June 28 of that year.
To begin a year of celebration of Immanuel’s 50th Anniversary, a 10:00am service was held on September 25, 2005. The theme chosen was “Lift High the Cross- Tell the Next Generation,” (Psalm 78:4). Each person attending was given a commemorative bookmark. After the service a group picture was taken in front of the church. A cookout was held under the tent on the church lawn followed by visiting and picture taking. Guest Speakers during the year of our 50th Anniversary celebration were former pastors and vicars.
Our Present pastor and WIU graduate, Rev. Michael Burdick, preached at our “kickoff” celebration on September 25, 2005. Others to speak included: Rev. Melvin Weseloh and Rev. Paul Koschmann , Former Pastor James Cumming, former vicars now pastors, Rev. Gregg Todd, Rev. Hall Toenjes, Rev. James Fundum and Rev. Tom Dunseth, and former WIU student, Rev. Tom Ogilvie. Former Pastor, Rev. Lindsay Watkins was our guest speaker on November 12, 2006.
The culmination of Immanuel’s 50th anniversary celebration was held at the Student Center on Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 10:00am. The Sunday school students greeted the parishioners by circulating throughout the sanctuary and singing an invitational version of the song “Rise and Shine.” Rev. Larry Krueger, assistant to the LCMS President Kieschnieck, was the preacher. The title of his message was “50 Years – One Mission- GO!” A meal and short program followed service. A DVD of Immanuel through the years was viewed and remarks were spoken by a charter member, former WIU student, current WIU student and the anniversary committee chairman.
New green paraments were dedicated at the church in memory of Rachel (Strode) Hamilton and LeeHsia Ting. The dedication was Sunday, September 24, 2006.
In December 2006, we began using our new hymnal, Lutheran Service Book; new hymnals for both Immanuel and the Student Center were dedicated to the glory of God in loving memory of Virginia Wendt.
In deep appreciation for the gift of $6,047.50, that was given to Immanuel Lutheran Church by the Central Illinois District LWML on June 5, 1957, a check in the amount $11,593,93 was sent to the CID LWML mite program. This check was presented at the 62nd annual CID LWML convention in Danville, Illinois, June 2, 2007. Just as the 1957 monies helped Immanuel’s congregation, this thank offering was given to help others.
“Built on the Rock” was the theme for the Quincy Zone Rally of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) – Central Illinois District. The Women’s League at Immanuel hosted the event on September 18, 2007 at the church. Mrs. Pam Spilker of Edinburg spoke about mission work in an area of Alaska referred to by Alaskans as “God’s Untouched Country.” There was an ingathering of items to share with the veterans at the Soldiers and Sailors Home of Quincy.
Sunday, November 18, 2007, we gathered to thank God and Dean Christ, Director of Christian Growth, for his ministry among us. In August, Dean entered Concordia Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to study for the ministry. After a potluck meal, words of appreciation were extended to Dean, Susan, his wife, and Sarah, his daughter. Dean was presented plaques from Central Illinois District and Immanuel congregation.
Immanuel hosted the Concordia Seminary Chorus, St. Louis, on Friday evening, December 7, 2007. The Chorus presented a Service of Light on their Advent Tour.
Dedication of a new funeral pall took place Sunday morning April 13, 2008, during the regular worship service, using the funeral liturgy. Money for the pall was provided by the Mrs. LeeHsia Ting memorial fund. Playground equipment and a fenced playground area were installed at Immanuel to enhance the Preschool Program which opened in the Fall of 2007.
Immanuel congregation celebrated Ascension Day, May 21, 2009, with a 7 pm outdoor communion service at the church. This service included a dedication of the Chimemaster Carillon. Funding for the chime system was monies from the memorial fund and gifts from members.
In 2011 Immanuel launched two new outreach efforts for our neighborhood and community: the Ice Cream Social in June and the Wiener Roast in October. More than just social events, these became entry points for neighbors and friends to get to know Immanuel members and students. Witness materials are distributed at each, and we pray for our neighbors. In 2012 we began offering a “Trunk-r-Treat” event on Reformation Day/Halloween. Over 150 children attend the event, receiving candy, an Arch Book, and an invitation to church for them and their parents.
Each year Immanuel members and students volunteer through at least one Servant Trip. They have served in New York City, New Orleans, and St. Louis recently, giving time and witness to supporting LCMS and other ministries with energy, offerings, and witness. Our Vacation Bible School each June serves approximately 40 children who are not members of Immanuel.
At least twice each year our Adult Catechism Bible Study is offered, in order to share the faith with those who are not yet members of our fellowship. Members and students also participate in the study for review. We seek to know what we believe and why we believe it, so that we can reach out with the Gospel.
Our partnership with the congregations of the Central Illinois District in order to provide Campus Ministry to Western Illinois University and Spoon River College is a vital part of Immanuel’s life and purpose. This town-gown model of campus ministry is the best for welcoming students, preparing them for their future as the Church of the next generation, and benefiting from their talents and presence in our midst. We are blessed by our campus ministry.
At the close of 2015 we took inventory of the expenditures by Immanuel on behalf of Missions, Outreach, and Mercy work. With gratitude to God for the great things He has done, Immanuel has annually given over $40,000 to such efforts, including to CID & LCMS Missions, Loaves & Fishes, International Lutheran Hour Ministries, our local Lutheran Hour broadcast, Lutheran Bible Translators, Vacation Bible School, numerous neighborhood outreach activities, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Lutherans For Life, Lutheran World Relief, Seminary Adopt-a-Student support, Servant trips, Salaam Christian Fellowship in outreach to Muslim neighbors, Senior Angel Tree, and Immanuel Lutheran Preschool. What cannot be counted is the everyday mercy and witness work by members and students of Immanuel in their callings. God be praised for the outpouring of grace and truth through Immanuel! The glory goes to Him.
In 2015 the late Dr. Stephan Roth bequeathed funds for congregational ministries for youth as well as other congregational ministries to serve our community with the Good News of Jesus Christ, including a “Little Free Library” at Immanuel Church near the Preschool Playground.
Our 60th Anniversary celebration will be held at Immanuel Church November 6, 2016 at 10:00am. The theme chosen is John 10:9 “I am the door; whoever enters through Me shall be saved.” New narthex doors to the church are being dedicated. Sally Powell is chairman of the anniversary committee. Through those same narthex doors by which we come in for the Lord’s Service we go out into the city to be His ambassadors. Jesus is the door!
Two hymns sung at the 60th Anniversary celebration help express our gratitude to God for the Church and for our mission in His world:
Open now Thy gates of beauty;
Zion, let me enter there,
Where my soul in joyful duty
Waits for Him Who answers prayer.
Oh, how blessed is this place,
Filled with solace, light, and grace!
by Benjamin Schmolck. Lutheran Service Book #901
Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing,
The people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The Supper is ended. Oh, now be extended
The fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching, receptive souls reaching,
Shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invited us, His love shall unite us
To work for God’s kingdom and answer His call.
With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,
The tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
Embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us, with Your light now lead us;
Unite us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving
Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear!
by Omer E. Westendorf. Lutheran Service Book #643
The chief author of our congregational history is Mrs. Nelda Kelly ( – ), church historian. Thanks be to God!
A History of the Campus Ministry Of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod At Western Illinois University
Students were involved with Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb, in the early days of its life. While Immanuel congregation was organized on June 25, 1956, the local chapter of Gamma Delta was granted its charter on May 8, 1957. William Frenk served as the first Gamma Delta president. Pastor Carl Geiger met with students on campus, at the VFW Hall, and Immanuel Church until he left Macomb in October of 1959.
In March of 1960, Rev. Donald M. Winter came to Macomb as pastor of Immanuel Church. In September of 1963 the Central Illinois District began renting a house at 715 W Adams St. to serve as the first Lutheran Center. Students, however, continued to worship with the members of Immanuel Church on E Grant St. Students were transported to Immanuel by bus. In April of 1965, Rev. Jose was installed as the third pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church. As his two predecessors did, Pastor Jose served the students at Western. It was during his pastorate that the Central Illinois District in convention in 1966 decided to build a new worship and activities center for the students at Western. Pastor Jose served in Macomb until August of 1967.
On February 18, 1968, ground was broken for the new student center on the lots which had been purchased at the corner of Clay and Calhoun streets. Rev. George C. Albers, Executive Director of Missions of the Central Illinois District, was the guest speaker for the special service that was held. Linda Stokes, Class of 1970, then Gamma Delta President, participated in the ground breaking ceremony. That same day Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Central Illinois District issued a call to Rev. James T. Cumming to serve as pastor and campus pastor in Macomb. On April 7, 1968, Pastor Cumming was installed in both offices. The cornerstone for the new building was laid on September 8, 1968. G. William Griffel, Class of 1970, Gamma Delta President, participated in that ceremony. On March 23, 1969, the Lutheran Student Center/Chapel of St. Timothy the Learner was dedicated to the glory of God.
Pastor Cumming served both Immanuel Church and the Lutheran Student Center through June of 1973. In July of 1973 Pastor Cumming became full-time campus pastor, as the result of a resolution adopted by the Central Illinois District as its 1972 convention.
In January of 1972 a Christian Coffee House was launched on Friday nights. Initially called The Venture Inn, it later changed the name to THE WAY Christian Coffee House. It was a significant element in the ministry throughout the 70s.
During the Spring of 1974, a question and answer book was set up inside the front door of the Center/Chapel. Pastor Cumming answered the questions and Dr. Hans Moll edited them for the Concordia Publishing House books “Hey God, What About….?” and its sequel, “And God. What About …?” They also worked on a third book of prayers for and by college students. A copy of the Question and Answer Book is still used in the narthex.
During the 1980s the Campus Co-Workers (the student governing organization) arranged cost-suppers on Sunday nights where they shared the cost of the meal prepared at the Student Center. In February 1982 the Immanuel and Student Center ministries were again combined in “The Macomb Lutheran Ministry.” Marcia Moll was inducted as Parish Worker in August 1982. She served as Parish Worker and caring “mom-away-from-home” for many of us until retirement in 1999. She and her husband, Hans, are still active in the campus ministry and congregation.
Over the years we have been blessed with pastors to work with the WIU students. Rev. James Cumming served from March 1968 to January 1981; Rev. Lindsay Watkins served from February 1982 to July 1986; Rev. Thomas Daly served from December 1987 to September 1992; Rev. Jeffrey Baxter and Rev. Brian Hagler served the ministry from 1993-1995. Rev. Paul Koschmann served as vacancy pastor twice and had a significant impact on the congregational and campus ministry. Current pastor, Rev. Mike Burdick (a 1984 alumnus of WIU and former resident of the basement apartment here), was installed as our pastor on August 24, 1997. Jeff Horn, President of Lutheran Student Fellowship, participated in his installation.
Through the years God has been faithful, and displayed His mercy through the Word and Sacraments, worship Services, Bible studies, fellowship dinners, servant and mission trips, international dinners and studies, Birthright office, friendships, and more.
Every Wednesday evening, members of Immanuel prepare and enjoy a home-cooked dinner with college students in the Student Center fellowship hall. After the meal and conversation with hosts/mentors, students gather with pastor for Bible Study, blessed by the members of Immanuel and by the Word of God.
We have also assisted the training of future ministers by involvement in the vicarage program. We had six vicars between 1986 and 1992: Greg Todd; John Maxfield; Jim Fundum; Hal Toenjes; Tom Hoffman; and Tom Dunseth. We have also had several students and one LSF Advisor who went on to the seminary; Rev. Todd Roberts; Rev. William Lindenmeyer; Rev. Michael Burdick; Rev. Russ Helbig; Rev. Tom Ogilvie; Rev. Daniel Wu; Rev. Ken Mangold; Rev. Mike Stock, Rev. Marty Mably, Rev. JJ Stefanic, Rev. Aaron Uphoff, Rev. John Zimmermanan, and Dwight Wyeth who is now in his fourth year at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Countless students have been supported and trained here to be the lay church leaders and servants in their congregations when they move away from Macomb. These men and women are throughout the world, living out their vocations daily in faith toward God and love toward their neighbor. One of our former student leaders, Mr. Glenn Busse (’68), has served in the planning of the 50th Anniversary . This is all indicative of the way students in this ministry have been a blessing! In Christ we have every confidence that He will bless the world and the Church by the Gospel through the fine students currently involved in the life of Immanuel Lutheran Student Center. This partnership with the congregations of The Central Illinois District is God’s work, and He will complete what He has begun!
Soli Deo Gloria