The Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Church
Rev. Daniel Oberdieck
In 1861, Pastor W. Matuschka received permission to preach in the small
German Protestant Church on Lafayette street. A part of this congregation had
definite leanings towards the teachings of the Lutheran Church, and under the leadership
of Pastor Matuschka, they withdrew to form their own orthodox congregation.
On April 21, 1862, this small group met in the home of Henry Walkenhorst.
The Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation, U. A. C., was organized, a
constitution adopted, and Pastor Matuschka was called as pastor. The nine charter
members were: Henry Walkenhorst, Christian Wehmueller, W. Bohle, H. Langenberg,
Casper Gehner, Fr. Nierdirk, Sr., Henry Klingsick, Frederick Fricke, and William Fricke.
For a short time services were held in the Presbyterian and Methodist
churches, but in January, 1863, the first church was dedicated. A
school was soon established by the pastor. There were fifteen scholars, and the
school was held on the first floor of a house on Jefferson street. The upper story
served as the pastor's dwelling. In 1868, a spacious brick parsonage was erected
behind the church, and is in use at the present time.
The congregation grew rapidly, and in 1882, a stately new church was
built, and the old church was thereafter used as a school building. In the summer of
1894, a second story was added to the school, to be used as a meeting place.
In April, 1912, the congregation was privileged to celebrate its fiftieth
anniversary. The interior of the church was artistically decorated for the occasion,
and a new two-manual Kilgen organ installed. An elaborate two-day program was held
on April 25 and 26, 1937, on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee. A complete and
interesting history of the church was published at that time. The Rev. Daniel
Oberdieck has been pastor of the church since 1934. Emil F. Roschke has been teacher
of the school since 1925, and his assistant is Leonard C. Schnell.
And now more than three-quarters of a century has passed into eternity
since the founding of the congregation. The trust in God on the part of the first
members has not been put to shame. Immanuel means "God With Us." God
indeed has been with this congregation with His grace and has blessed it, -- nine voting
members in the beginning; today there are one hundred and fifty-seven. At the time
the congregation was organized, there were but fifty souls. The number has now grown
to 643 souls. The school was opened with 15 children. At present the school
counts 79 pupils.
In this, Washington's Centennial year, the congregation has made
arrangements to erect a new school hall and a new parsonage. We can truly say that
the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation has progressed and grown with the
advancement and growth of the town of Washington.
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