Immanuel Lutheran Church History

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History of the Congregation

Many of the records and the heritage of the founding of what came to be known as Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church are either lost or shrouded in mystery. The existing evidence of a Christian congregation "on the Whitewater" is fragmentary. People in the Tilsit area of Cape Girardeau county gathered for worship services delivered by part-time or floating pastors.

In 1866, a large group of these members separated themselves from the other congregation intending to build a church north of Tilsit. The first congregational meeting was held May 10, 1866. After the congregation grew to 36 members, they bought the first church site for $11.25. From May until December, the congregation met in members' homes, and then they began meeting in a log church that had been erected.

G.A. Mueller was the first full-time, permanent pastor of the congregation. The first infant baptism occurred just 10 days after the congregation was formed. The first funeral was conducted in August 1866. The first wedding was performed in 1867 as was the first confirmation. Immanuel Lutheran Church became a member of the Missouri Synod in 1871.

History of the Church Building

Immediately after the congregation was organized on May 10, 1866, plans were made to build a log church. The first building was completed by Christmas of that year. However, the building was too small for the growing membership, so in the next voter's meeting in 1867, it was decided to build a brick church 32 x 45 feet and 16 feet high. The church was dedicated April 19, 1868, and it served the congregation as a house of worship until February 2, 1900, when it was decided to take it down and replace it with another brick church 46 x 76 feet. It was dedicated October 28-29, 1900 in four worship services.

In 1925, the present organ was bought. The five-rank organ was ordered May 31 for the sum of $1470. Over the course of time, the beautiful church, built and dedicated in 1900, began to show signs of age and deterioration, so that something had to be done to preserve it for future generations. After considerable investigation, voters decided to re-surface the entire building with Perma-Stone. A new roof was also put on the church building the same year. The interior of the church received new plaster in 1951. More repairs were completed through the years including the replacement of doors and windows after a severe storm ripped through the area in 1971. In 1980 air conditioning was installed, and other improvements have been made in recent years. Yet, the building still maintains much of the look it had when it was built in 1900.

Photo of the 1900 Brick Church

Old Church

Click on the picture at left to see it in a larger version.

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church retains rights to all photographs.
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