Odebolt, Iowa - Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

(Source:  “As Time Goes By”, Odebolt, Iowa 1877-1977, 
   printed by The Odebolt Chronicle May, 1977, pp. 140-141)

(Four new congregations were formed from the original Immanuel congregation.  They are St. John’s in Stockholm Twp. in Crawford county; Peace, Wall Lake; Trinity, Odebolt; and Faith, Early. )

Immanuel Lutheran ChurchImmanuel Lutheran Church was organized in the year 1880.  However, services were held before the actual founding of the congregation.  A number of immigrants from Germany, who were of the Lutheran faith, felt the need of divine services, and the services of a pastor.  It was learned that the Rev. F. Schug of Grant City [Grant City was north of Auburn] was the nearest Lutheran pastor in the area.  He gladly responded to their request for his services and regularly made the 18 mile trip to what was then known as the Henderson schoolhouse, which was located about six miles south of the town of Early.  It was here that the congregation was organized in the year 1880.  Soon a vicar, Mr. L. A. Mueller, from Springfield Seminary, was sent to aid in conducting services.  He remained a year and then returned to the Seminary to complete his studies.  He then returned to become Immanuel’s first resident pastor.  Services were also conducted in the schoolhouse 1 mile east and 2 miles south of the present church property.  The congregation grew to a point where it became too large to worship in a [country] schoolhouse.  An acreage was then acquired one mile east and three miles south of the present [1976] property.  A combination parsonage and schoolhouse was built at this location.  In 1885 a division between those of the Lutheran faith and the Reformed faith took place.  A few acres were donated by Chris Wetzstein, where the church was then built, which is the present location.  This church was built in 1889 at a cost of $1,699.37.  This congregation joined the Missouri synod of the Lutheran church in 1895.

The parsonage-schoolhouse was moved to the location of the present parsonage.  This parsonage was destroyed by fire in 1896 along with many of the church records.  The congregation grew to the extent that it was necessary to build a new church in 1898.  Later in 1939 the church was moved, enlarged and placed on a new foundation, with a basement added, at a cost of about $6,000.  In 1940 the 60th anniversary was celebrated.  At that time there were 296 members, 100 in Sunday School and 25 young people.  In 1945 an electric organ was installed, replacing the original reed organ.

A mission congregation was organized in Odebolt and in 1953 they called their own pastor.  In 1959 a mission congregation was organized in the town of Early.  The parsonage was torn down in 1961 and a new parsonage built on the same site.

Four new congregations were formed from the original Immanuel  congregation.  They are St. John’s in Stockholm Twp. in Crawford county; Peace, Wall Lake; Trinity, Odebolt; and Faith, Early.  Throughout the 96 years, 15 resident pastors have served the Immanuel congregation.  They are Pastors L. A. Mueller 1883-1892; K. Schlegel 1892-1902; F. Wolter 1902-1915; A. Noack 1915-1922; Wm. Barts 1922-1925; G. A. Koch 1925-1930; F. Kreutz 1930-1944; A. C. Stahnke 1944-1946; G. H. Schaefer 1946-1954; Donald Kolb 1958-1906 [1960?]; L. Gorr 1963-1965; J. R. Ramsey 1966-1972; Edward Steyer 1972-1974; N. F. Seeback 1975 [still serving in 1976].

The present congregation has an active Ladies Aid organization with 16 active members and five honorary members, [and] a Sunday school with twenty-three members and eight teachers.  The ten charter members were Kaspar Luft, George Bieser, John Mehlbrecht, Christ Wetzstein, William Kutz, Ludwig Schramm, Christ Frank, W. E. Koenemann, Charles Tews, W. F. Rusch.

Immanuel Lutheran Church at the present date (1976) consists of eighty-six baptized members, fifty-nine communicant members and twenty-one voting members. 
We bring this brief history to a close with the words of the Psalmist, “The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” – Psalms 126:3

 Mrs. O. G. LaGrange

(Transcribed by B. Ekse)


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