A Brief History of Immanuel Lutheran Church
Immanuel Lutheran congregation grew out of the “German Evangelical Lutheran St. Stephens Congregation at Des Plaines, Cook County, Illinois,” established in October, 1868. St. Stephens congregation had acquired two building lots at the corner of Lee and Thacker Streets on which they established a church, school, parsonage, and cemetery. The cemetery was moved to Rand Road in 1875 when Center Street was extended from Prairie to Thacker.
Immanuel Congregation was founded August 13, 1871, purchasing the property from St. Stephens when it disbanded. The church was a two-story sturcture of frame and brick. The second floor was used for divine services while the lower level provided space for a Christian Day School.
1876 – 1900
Rev. Adam Detzer was installed as the first resident pastor in the spring of 1873. When the need for more space was apparent, a newchurch was erected in 1876 for $4,500. This red brick building with a belfrey and tower remained as a landmark on Lee Street for 80 years. In 1886, the old Methodist Chruch located across the street from Immanuel was purchased for $1,000 and converted to a school.
On January 10, 1892, Immanuel became a member of the Missouri Synod, which had been organized 45 years earlier.
1901 – 1918
Building and expansion continued at Immanuel during its second quarter century. A two-room brick school replaced the remodeled former Methodist church in 1901.
The church building underwent major remodeling and redecoration in 1914 – a furance replaced two coal stoves, an alcove was added in the chancel area, a new alter and pulpit were installed, and new lighting fixtures replaced kerosene lamps. Old, worn out pews gave way to individual auditorium chairs.
On February 4, 1918, with an outside temperature of 20 degrees below zero, an overheated furnace caused a disastrous fire that destroyed Immanuel School.
1919 – 1956
Following the fire, Immanuel Lutheran School rebuilt in 1918 at a cost of $18,000. The building, which remains part of the structure today, had a large meeting room on the second floor.
A Sunday School was started in 1925 to reach additional children with the saving Gospel of Christ. As the Day School enrollment grew, the faculty was increased to five and the second floor meeting room was converted into three classrooms. A gym, which could double as an auditorium was added to the front of the building in 1930.
In 1941, a second remodeling took place and included complete interior painting, floor refinishing, new rugs, new pews, and adding rear exits on the north and south side of the church. Much of the labor was furnished by members of the congregation.
1957 – Present
Construction of the present church building highlights the third quarter century of life at Immanuel. Ground was broken on February 12, 1956, and the new edifice was dedicated to the glory of God on March 31, 1957. With far-reaching vision for possible future school and playground expansion, properties were acquired on both sides of the school as they became available.
Women were welcomed into voting membership in 1972, and the first two women were elected to congregational boards the following year.
Parish needs and outreach to others are addressed by Elders; Boards for Education, Evangelism, Parish Fellowship, Stewardship, Trustees, and Youth, and other activity groups. The Altar Guild, Ushers, and Greeters contribute to our fellowship in worship.
In 1994, Immanuel added Faith Hall, a multi-purpose wing on the north side of the church, enlarged the choir loft in the church, and constructed a garage/storage building. The school was remodeled and air-conditioned in 1998 with funds from the Chicago Airport Noise Abatement Program.
Pastors of Immanuel Lutheran Church
Rev. Adam Detzer was the first pastor to serve Immanuel from 1873-1881. He was followed by:
- Rev. C. Johannes 1881-1885
- Rev. P. Graef 1885-1891
- Rev. Wm. Lewerenz 1891-1911
- Rev. Walter Pieper 1911-1929
- Rev. Otto Boecler 1929-1942
- Rev. Allen Fedder 1942-1973
- Rev. James Bouman 1973-1995
- Rev. Richard Mau 1999-2012
Immanuel has also had a number of assitant pastors. They include:
- Rev. Hubert Beck 1966-1968
- Rev. Daniel Zielske 1968-1971
- Rev. Paul Haberstock 1979-1991
- Rev. Richard Patt 1991-1996