THE HISTORY OF IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
To bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus and to tell the story of our Lord’s gracious dealing with His people, by collecting and preserving our history and pictures.
1873 By this year a number of Lutheran families had settled and established homes in the Spring Valley area. A Post Office by that name was located one mile south of the present church.
In this same year, the Rev. P.F German, of Topeka, came to this area and conducted Lutheran services on two successive Sundays. Shortly thereafter, six Lutheran families banded together for the purpose of establishing a congregation.
About this time, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, commissioned Pastor J. Hoffmann as Missionary at Large for Western Kansas. He established his headquarters at Hutchison. This Lutheran Group at Spring Valley; together with a group, from Superior, now Inman, extended a call to J. Hoffmann. God moved him to accept.
The members at Inman had planned to build a parsonage, but for some reason did not carry out their plans. Pastor Hoffman and his family lived in the homes of the members at Spring Valley. Before long the congregation at Spring Valley built a two room house for their pastor and his family on a five acre tract of land which was presented to the congregation by Geo. Schneider, a member. The location was 1 mile south and 1 mile east of the present church, at the present location of the Meridian/Spring Valley Township Cemetery. Pastor Hoffmann also held services in Newton, Kansas a number of times.
1878 July 14th the congregation at Spring Valley reorganized and a revised constitution was adopted. The name “Immanuel” was adopted, which means “God with us.” They said, “God will be with us in the future as He has been in the past”. The subsequent history of the congregation proves that God was indeed with this congregation to pour out His bountiful blessings upon them year after year. Pastor Hoffmann accepted a call to Nebraska.
1879 Rev. C. Wuensch accepted a call to Immanuel, in less than a year: he accepted a call to Nebraska.
1880 During this time without a pastor, a split developed in the congregation. Some decided to join the General Council, the Holderman Mennonite Church and laid claim to the church property. However, a strong faction remained that wanted to stay with the Missouri Synod, although they had not yet officially joined the Synod. Not caring to resort to court, these members kept the name Immanuel Lutheran church and looked for another location.
1881 Under the leadership of Missionary G. Toenjes, the congregation called Pastor J.H.F. Hoyer, who was ordained and installed on July 31. The congregation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Kansas. In November, Mr. William Boesker offered 10 acres of land as his contribution toward the building program of the church. This land was 7 miles south and 1 mile west of Canton.
1882 This year a cemetery was laid out on the southwest corner of the property and dedicated with fitting ceremonies. One member, who had been buried at the former Lutheran cemetery, 1 mile south and 1 mile east of our present cemetery; was moved into lot 63 at our current cemetery. She was Adelhide (Gerken) Grother, who was born 6-20-1834 and died 8-28-1876.
In the first years, the public worship services were held in the Spring Valley and Meridian public school houses.
1885 January – The congregation voted to build a church and gathered pledges. The first church building was dedicated July 19. The cost was $1,660.18. It was a frame structure 30 x 50 feet with a vestibule 10 x10 feet.
1886 The congregation officially joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a conservative Lutheran body, which was organized in Chicago in 1847.
1887 A new building, 18 x 18, was built to be used for a Christian Day School.
1888 Pastor Hoyer, during his pastorate, did mission work in nearby communities such as Strong City, Chase, Newton, Hillsboro and Wichita. Toward the end of the year he accepted a call to Hanover, Ks.
The same year, Pastor E. Maehr became the new pastor. During his ministry the parsonage was enlarged. Maehr also served Inman and organized and served the Moundridge congregation. He was influential in getting a church building moved to Moundridge from Inman.
1897 Pastor Maehr accepted a call to St. Francis, Ks at the close of this year. Pastor G. Storm became the new pastor and teacher.
1902 Pastor Storm accepted a call. A student was called from Concordia Seminary to teach the school. In the fall, the Rev. W.G. Bullinger became pastor and teacher.
1903 The congregation celebrated the 25th anniversary of its organization.
1908 Mr. Henry (Heinrich) W. Wilkening donated a 1000 pound bell to the church. He and his wife, Caroline nee Reinhardt, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary that year. They were married on February 5, 1858, in Sedamsville, Ohio. The cost of the bell was $1,110.00. A bell tower was added to the church at this time.
1910 Rev. Bullinger accepted a call to Concord, Nebraska. Rev. Hellmann succeeded Bullinger as pastor.
1915 Rev. Hellmann accepted a call. In the fall, Rev. A. F. Lutz was installed. He was the first one to introduce the English language into the church.
1918 Rev. Lutz accepted a call and the Rev. O.H.W. Hornbostel became pastor.
1926 The congregation built a new white frame school house. The envelope system was first used.
1928 Pastor Hornbostel accepted a call to Duluth, Ks. The Rev. H. Schmidt became the new pastor. On July 15, 1928, Immanuel observed the Golden Jubilee of its organization. At this time, half of the services were being conducted in German and the other half in English.
1929 The first regularly called teacher was Mr. Henry Osthoff, a graduate of Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska.
1934 Electric light plant was installed for the school house, where meetings were held. It was later extended to the church.
1935 July 21, the congregation observed the Golden Anniversary of its church’s dedication, which was July 19, 1885. Speakers were Victor Hoffman, Paul Hoyer and Joe Gerken.
1936 A two manual Himers pipe organ was purchased from the Wangerine Organ Co. of Milwaukee, Wis. and installed for $985.00. This was a used organ which had been taken out of a theater.
1937 April 18, the Rev. H. Schmidt died of meningitis. He served the congregation for 9 years. He was laid to rest on April 20 at Wichita, Ks. The Rev. B. Loesel of Moundridge took over in the vacancy. On June 27, the Rev. A.L. Hoemann became pastor.
1938 In April, the congregation voted to purchase a house for the teacher and move it to the church property. The house cost $800.00 and was dedicated on Sept. 25.
1940 German services were abolished. On July 21 a revised German and English Constitution was adopted by the congregation and approved by the Synod.
1944 In April, the congregation voted to redecorate, paint and varnish all wood work in the church.
1945 The congregation celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the church Dedication on July 22. In the same year, an old custom began to change, one where the men sat on the left and the women and children sat on the right hand side of the church. Mr. Weldo Groneman and his wife, Ruth; along with Mr. Walter Vogts who just returned from serving in the war, and his wife Clara, were the first to sit together during church.
1946 A water system was installed in the parsonage, teacherage and school house.
1947 This year a regular Sunday School was inaugurated at Immanuel.
1951 On July 15, the ground breaking ceremony was held for the new church edifice.
1952 On January 13, Pastor Hoemann preached his farewell sermon and took a call to Brawley, Ca.
In the same month, the Rev. J.L. Strelow of Litchfield, Ill. Was extended a call and he was installed on Feb. 17. He also served St. Johns at Moundridge.
On Feb. 10, the Rev. Arlen Bruns of Great Bend conducted the Cornerstone Laying service for the new church.
August 24 a farewell service was held in the wood frame church. This building served the congregation for 67 years. During the following week the building was dismantled. The pipe organ and the 1,000 pound bell were moved from the old church to the new building.
On September 14 the present church was dedicated. The Rev. H.W. Munderloh of Russel, Ks, preached in the morning, the Rev. Arthur Traugott of Ellinwood, Ks preached in the afternoon. In the evening, Prof. A.F. Droegemueller, organist of Zion Lutheran Church, Independence, gave a sacred concert on the completely remodeled pipe organ. Attendance for the three services was 1,500 people.
1953 Mrs. Mary Vogts offered the congregation 80 acres of wheat to harvest; the profits of which were to go toward the church debt. The available pictures record the many church members, who came together with combines, trucks, tractors, and plows, in a fine display of church comradely for a common goal.
On July 19, the 75th Anniversary of the congregation’s founding was celebrated. The Rev. Victor Hoffman and Rev. Alvin Hornbostel were speakers.
In October, The congregation resolved to build a new parsonage, which is located just north of the present church building.
November 23, Pastor Strelow accepted a call. Pastor O.A. Bohnert was asked to fill the vacancy.
1954 On December 5 the Rev. Martin Helmer was installed as pastor, coming to us from Beatrice, Nebraska.
1962 In July Rev. Helmer accepted a call to Wellington, Ks.
Rev. James H. Leidholdt, was installed on September 23. He also served St. John’s, Moundridge.
1966 On September 11, an open house was held at Shiloh Manor Nursing Home, in Canton. Several church groups had been interviewed to manage the home. Immanuel congregation expressed an interest and agreed to enter into a contract for the operation of the home. The home serves a real need in the community and is a splendid outlet for Christian service for many men and women of the church.
1968 Immanuel at this date had: 221 communicants and 83 children; for a total of 304 souls.
1969 Rev. Leidholdt accepted a call to Farrar, Missouri.
1970 Immanuel and St. John, Moundridge entered into a dual-parish arrangement where-by both congregations jointly called a pastor to serve both congregations.
1970 The Rev. Elmer C. Hethke was installed as pastor of the dual parish on April 25. He served until October 6, 1975.
1976 The Rev. Delmer J. Harders was installed on April 25, as a Vicar under the supervision of vacancy Pastor J.A. Hofius of Grace, McPherson. This vicarage was part of a colloquy program by which Rev. Harders was being processed into the ministerium of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. On November 15, 1976, Rev. Harders was certified by the Synodical Colloquy Board and eligible to receive a call. The dual-parish of Immanuel and St. John’s, Moundridge subsequently called him to be their Pastor.
1977 Rev. Delmer Harders was installed as Pastor on March 6.
1978 The congregation celebrated one hundred years of grace and blessing on July 16. The Rev. James H. Leidholdt preached at the morning service and the Rev. Martin Helmer preached in the afternoon. The congregational membership numbered 352 souls with 264 communicant members.
The process of replacing the sanctuary tinted glass windows was begun with an order of three windows.
1979 Five more stained glass windows were installed the next year.
1980 Rev. Harders accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsburg, Ks. The Rev. John A. Hofius, McPherson, served as vacancy Pastor.
1980 The dual-parish called a Seminary Graduate. On July 13, Rev. Russell L. Sommerfeld was ordained and installed.
1981 A building proposal for an education and fellowship addition was proposed and tabled due to financial concerns.
1982 200 copies of the Lutheran Worship, a new Synodical hymn book was dedicated. It was first utilized the first Sunday of June.
1983 The pipe organ was renovated by former member Donald Hoyer, of Hoyer Organ Co., Lawrence, Ks.
1984 In August the stained glass windows were completed in the Sanctuary.
1985 An adult weeknight Bible class was begun and well received.
1986 On July 19, Pastor Sommerfeld preached his farewell sermon. He accepted a call to Arapahoe, Nebraska.
Rev. Donn Williams accepted the call to Immanuel on April 15. He was installed on May 25. During his tenure, air conditioning and a replacement furnace were installed in the church. During the vacancy, Rev. Martin Pullman, Winfield, Rev. David Schemm, St. John’s, Moundridge, plus others had served as vacancy Pastors.
1995 On February 12, after considerable discussion, Immanuel split the dual-parish agreement with St. John’s, Moundridge, in order to call a Pastor to serve as their part-time Chaplin to the residents at Shiloh Manor Nursing Home and Immanuel.
1995 Pastor Michael Sharp, from Wathena, Ks, accepted the call to Immanuel.
1995 Pew cushions were installed in the Sanctuary. A new Bible class for younger adult members was organized under the name of Lightkeepers with a membership of about 30 people. For the first time in years the Pastor could lead the regular adult Bible class, without serving the dual-parish.
1999 On April 11, Immanuel dedicated a new addition. Rev. Howard Patton, Kansas District President served as the morning and afternoon preacher. The congregation utilized the Laborers for Christ program and many congregational members assisted in the work of building this addition of about 4500 square feet. The new addition provided a ground level fellowship hall, new handicap accessible bathrooms, new kitchen, two new classrooms, new office, and a new resource room, plus a new storage room.
A new Cemetery Book and Plot-map of burial locations was updated.
2003 Volunteers built a brick Cemetery Name sign, new sidewalks with a north entrance gate and two benches. The sign holds a mailbox which contains copies of the cemetery plot map.
2004 A final farewell service for Pastor Michael Sharp, who accepted a call to Spencer, Iowa.
2005 Rev. Seth Meyer accepts call to Immanuel and is installed as Pastor on June 26.
2006 Elma Bolin was the last resident to be moved out of Shiloh Manor Nursing Home, Canton, on October 6. The closing of Shiloh Manor ended a forty year partnership that had benefited not only those who were residents, but also members of Immanuel and the city of Canton.
2008 The congregation celebrated one hundred and thirty years of grace and blessing on July 13th. Celebration also for the retirement of debt on the 1998-99 new fellowship hall addition.
2014 April 27th, Pastor Meyer preaches last sermon, accepts call to Holy Cross Lutheran Goehner, Ne.
2014 July, new carpet and tile installed in the Sanctuary, Sacristy, Organ room, Narthex and Nursery.
2014-15 Rev. John Pool is serving as the Vacancy Pastor.
2015 June 28th, Brent Horne was installed as Vicar.