The following is taken from the Centennial Anniversary Book of Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church, 1967.
In laComing of Crisiste 1949, Immanuel Congregation faced one of the most critical and difficult experiences in its history. Over a period of time, the congregation had gradually, almost imperceptively, drifted from the binding directives of the Word of God. It had permitted unionistic practices to creep into its program of work.
One of the symptoms was Immanuel’s participation in a regular radio broadcast, which was under the auspices of the local Ministerial Association, a unionistic group.
It was a critical time because there was an apparent temptation to ignore the problem when it was called to the attention of the congregation. But there were those who remembered that any error or wrong practice was bound to mushroom into a liberal trend that would soon destroy all confidence in the truth of the Word and its saving power. Bost Pastor Fischer and Wisconsin Synod officials attempted to make the congregation aware of the error that existed.
It was a difficult experience because it was soon obvious that the matter would not be settled without deep hurt. As always happens when doctrinal controversy comes to a group of Christians, there were those who defended the error and those who defended the Word; there were those who saw it as a personality struggle and rallied to support one side or another, taking their position on the basis of likes and dislikes.
It would be a costly struggle, that soon became clear. Yet with the strength that comes from a quiet acceptance of the Word of God as the final authority and the only true source of strength, the matter was pursued to its conclusion. Families were disrupted; some 190 persons left the congregation, most of them accepted by the new Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, without proper release.
But by the grace of God, Immanuel Congregation returned to the proposition that the Word of God must speak with all its strength and authority and its directives followed to the letter.
Pastor Ackermann on January 9, 1950, announced he would retire effective June 30 that year. The congregation made the retirement effective April 17, 1950.
During the 1949-50 period of controversy, the congregation was strengthened in its determination to abide by the Word of God by the officials of the Wisconsin Synod. Later, the congregation was especially heartened by the delegate’s report that the Minnesota District of the Wisconsin Synod had, in its 1952 convention, voted its full support to the position taken by Immanuel Congregation.
In other events of 1950, the teaching contracts of Miss Schinschke and Donald Peterson were renewed for the coming year on April 10. On July 10, 1950, the congregation decided to rebuild the Spring Street parsonage and also make a study of rebuilding the present school, in preference to building a new school at this time.
The congregation voted on September 11, 1950, to put new lights in the church and to have gas heat installed in the church.
Starting the 1950-51 school year was an enrollment of 95 pupils in the day school. On April 16, 1951, Mrs. O. Kexel was called for one year as kindergarten teacher, while Miss Schinschke was renewed for a 10-month period and Donald Peterson was called for another year.
The was the time of the 1951 flood, and on April 16, 1951, the Ladies Aid was asked to serve food for the evacuees.
Following a study for remodeling of the school, the congregation on July 23, 1951, voted to reshingle the school, sand-blast brick, paint the entire exterior, change the outside entrance to the basement, put in a new sidewalk and generally rejuvenate the basement.
On October 15, 1951, a school enrollment of 121 was reported.
Principal Armin Rauschke at the October, 1951, quarterly meeting thanked the congregation for its celebrating his 25th anniversary as a parochial school teacher. He was not to be with the congregation much longer, however. His illness and death January 19, 1952, left the principalship vacant.
This led to the "temporary" appointment of a man who by this centennial year had become Immanuel’s senior teacher in length of years served the congregation. He is Martin Garbrecht, a New Ulmite temporarily out of teaching as he recuperated from an illness, who was asked to help out when Mr. Rauschke became ill. He was engaged January 7, 1952, for two weeks while Mr. Rauschke went to the hospital. Just as the two weeks were up, Mr. Rauschke died and Mr. Garbrecht was appointed temporary principal on January 20, 1952.
On March 26, 1952, Waldemar Nolte was called as principal and Mr. Garbrecht continued as teacher. Teacher Donald Peterson left at the end of that school year to go to Watertown, Wisconsin. Miss Dorothy Wohlrabe was on the teaching staff the next year.
In relation to problems becoming apparent in the Missouri Synod, the congregation on July 14, 1952, passed a resolution concurring with the resolutions of the joint synod of Wisconsin and other states which definitely rejected scouting as inconsistent with Scriptural principles.
The school suffered some fire damage in 1953, and the insurance company offered $450 settlement for repainting the school basement which has been damaged by fire and smoke.
A report was presented October 12, 1953, on the North Chapel Trust Fund, saying that four of Immanuel’s members had purchased four lots on Third Avenue and Harper Street, and a country school building had been moved onto that site. This was the building that was to become Immanuel Lutheran High School nearly a decade later. A motion was passed allowing Pastor Fischer to hold Bible classes there and to work in the field. Old church benches were loaned to that group until Immanuel needed them again or came to a definite conclusion in regard to the building.
Principal Nolte asked on January 11, 1954, to be released to go to Northwestern Lutheran Academy at Mobridge, South Dakota, and Teacher Dorothy Wohlrabe asked for her release to be married.
Immanuel’s concern over the Wisconsin Synod’s delay in acting on the trend toward liberalism became apparent at the January 18, 1954, meeting when a resolution was passed pertaining to the synod building fund. It resolved that in the event our synod becomes persistent in error or in tolerance of error, we should be compelled to withdraw our membership. Cited were repeated postponements by the Wisconsin Synod to act against Missouri despite no indications from the Missouri Synod that it would retreat from its persistent and unionistic practices and unacceptable doctrinal positions.
On February 22, 1954, Richard Hawley, Bethany seminary student graduating the following June, was called as principal of the school to start in the coming school year. Mrs. Esther Heinze was called as third and fourth grade teacher on April 12, 1954.
The congregation moved into the use of tape recorders, an important instrument in coming years, on April 12, 1954, when it voted to purchase one to bring recordings of our church services to as many shut-ins as possible. Even before that, the first recording for a shut-in was made in 1949 by Al and Walter Affolter for their mother with a wire recorder—microphone concealed in the pulpit, and recorder on the steps in the sacristy.
On July 5, 1954, the congregation voted to conduct a separate kindergarten again during the coming school year. The kindergarten had been in combination with the primary grades since fall of 1952. Mrs. Alfred Fremder was called as the kindergarten teacher.
Disturbed at the use that was being made by the synod of monies offered for mission purposes, Immanuel Congregation set up its own mission board on January 3, 1955. It was to serve as an advisory body in the transmission of funds through the medium of the local congregation.
Immanuel Congregation’s interest in extending its school system beyond eighth grade was apparent as early as April 11, 1955, when it resolved to add a ninth grade to the grade school, the faculty room to be extended for an extra classroom. This was proposed because Mankato school started their high school in the tenth grade, necessitating a one-year transfer in between for Immanuel day school graduates. Subsequent events kept this plan from materializing, however.
The school lost its principal on June 6, 1955, when Rev. Hawley was granted a release to accept a call to the Milwaukee Lutheran High School. At the same meeting, Professor Vernon Gerlach of Bethany College was called for the principalship but he returned the call and Mr. Garbrecht again became acting principal for the coming year.
As a result, the congregation decided to defer definite action on the project of starting a ninth grade until a permanent principal had been called.
On July 5, 1955, the congregation was informed of health problems of Pastor Fischer, who suffered a stroke June 28, 1955, and decided to call an assistant pastor. The Rev. Gordon Radtke of Monroe, Michigan, was called July 25, 1955, and was installed on September 4, 1955.
Mrs. Ruth Rehm was engaged for nine months as teacher at the July 5, 1955, meeting. On October 10, 1955, acting principal Garbrecht reported the opening enrollment was 136 compared to 135 last year. Teachers for that year were Mrs. Fremder, kindergarten; Mrs. Friedrichs, grades one and two; Mrs. Heinze, grades three and four; Mr. Garbrecht, grades five and six; and Mrs. Rehm, grades seven and eight.
The problems regarding Missouri Synod’s user of the Common Confession, unionistic joint prayer, scouting, chaplaincy, communion agreement with the National Lutheran Council, participation in unionistic religious programs and negotiations with the lodges came to a head in Immanuel Congregation in October of 1955 as it strove to remain firm in adherance to God’s Word. It felt that such gross disobedience of God’s Word by Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod’s failure to act against Missouri could no longer be tolerated.
Considered by the congregation at that time was the Wisconsin Synod convention of the preceding August when the convention in a resolution preamble agreed with Immanuel’s position that Romans 16:17.18 was applicable to the Missouri Synod—"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them."
However, in the main body of its resolution, the Wisconsin Synod acted to wait another year before coming to any final decision of action, fellowship between the two synods continuing in the meantime.
It was the position of Immanuel Congregation and other concerned members of the synod, that once application of Romans 16:17.18 had been shown, failure of the Wisconsin Synod to "avoid" immediately constituted disobedience to God’s Word.
Therefore, at the October 17, 1955, meeting, the congregation voted 42 to 14 to abstain from active fellowship with, and support of, the Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States while awaiting action in accord with Romans 16:17.18 at the synod’s convention the following year, 1956. This was another agonizing decision for the congregation to make since all were aware of the strength and encouragement that had once come from this fellowship.
At the same meeting, the congregation voted to continue Pastor Fischer’s salary during his convalescence. Although unable to be present at the decisive October meetings, Pastor Fischer wrote later commending the congregation for its action and thanking God that He had granted the congregation "strength to keep the Truth for which Luther fought and suffered, and for which we in Immanuel fought and suffered these past six years."
Mrs. Friedrichs resigned as first and second grade teacher in January of 1956 for homemaking. Two calls sent out were returned and on February 22, 1956, the congregation assigned Mrs. Rehm to the lower two grades and called Richard Kuehne, Bethany seminary student, as student vicar to teach the seventh and eighth grades for one year.
At the April 9, 1956, meeting it was reported that Pastor Fischer who had been recuperating from his illness in Winter Haven, Florida, was returning to Mankato to resume a part of the pastoral work. Pastor Fischer’s stay in Winter Haven was not time lost from the Lord’s Work, it developed later. His efforts there resulted in the mission which became Immanuel Lutheran Church and School of Winter Haven.
In this period, Immanuel Congregation of Mankato was doing mission work of its own—at the North Chapel for the Columbia Park area and by sending funds to Peace Lutheran Church at Springfield, and to missions in St. Louis, Missouri, and Lyons, Nebraska. The Rev. Hilbert Schaller was giving assistance in missionary work in the Columbia Park area of Mankato.
On July 9, 1956, Mrs. Hilbert Schaller was called as kindergarten teacher to replace Mrs. Fremder. Faculty at the start of the 1956-57 school year then was Mrs. Rehm, first and second grades; Mrs. Heinze, third and fourth grades; Mr. Garbrecht, fifth and sixth grades and acting principal; and Richard Kuehne, seventh and eighth grades.
The congregation appointed Rev. Schaller on October 15, 1956, to serve as assistant to Pastor Radtke during Pastor Fischer’s upcoming winter stay in Florida, under doctor’s orders, where he was to perform mission work.
At the same meeting, congregation observers to the August, 1956, convention of the Wisconsin Synod at Watertown reported that the synod had voted to put off action in the Missouri Synod matter for another year.
Noting that membership in the Wisconsin Synod places us in fraternal relationship with those with whom fellowship is forbidden by God’s Word, and also noting that delay or postponement in application of Romans 16:17.18 constitutes gross disobedience to God’s Word, Immanuel Congregation on October 30, 1956, voted to withdraw from the Wisconsin Synod. The vote was 45 to 6.
In its resolution, the congregation commented, "Membership, fellowship, and association in and with our synod has been highly treasured by our congregation; however, as always, obedience to God’s Word and preservation of it in our midst means more, MUCH MORE."
Professor Vernon Garlach of Bethany College was called as principal of Immanuel Grade School on February 18, 1957. At that meeting, it also became apparent Immanuel was not alone in its action leaving the Wisconsin Synod. It was reported that Missionary Tiefel in Japan had withdrawn from the synod. The congregation voted to contribute a minimum of $150 a month to his mission. That started a long period of assistance to a foreign mission which still continues through the CLC mission board.
Later in the year, mission support also started for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Winter Haven, Florida.
On April 15, 1957, Robert Rehm was called to replace Mrs. Rehm as teacher.
The 90th anniversary of the congregation was observed October 20, 1957.
Only a spring kindergarten was run in 1957, Miss Margaret Woods, a Bethany College student, serving as half-day teacher from April 8 to June 6. The following school year, she taught the half-day kindergarten the full nine months.
On May 26, 1958, Professor Gerlach’s request for release from the principalship for reasons of health was granted.
To fill the vacancy, the congregation on June 9, 1958, revised Mr. Rehm’s call to make him principal and teacher of the upper grades.
Sad news came to the congregation at that meeting. During a recess in which Pastor Fischer went to Mr. Rehm’s home to confer with him on the revised call, Pastor Fischer suffered a heart attack there. He died the following day. Pastor Radtke reported that the Lord had given Pastor Fischer clarity of thought and speech during his last night, allowing him to be fully prepared to leave this vale of tears for his home in Heaven. The congregation subsidized Mrs. Fischer for the next eight years.
On July 23, 1958, Miss Lorna Schweim was called as teacher of first and second grades, the position being vacated when Mr. Rehm became principal and seventh and eighth grade teacher.
During 1958, the Rev. Richard Kuehne was called as pastor of the Immanuel Lutheran Church at Winter Haven, Florida.
Immanuel’s action in standing firm in God’s Word to the extent of leaving the Wisconsin Synod was not without impact throughout the synod. Over a farflung area, others with like convictions also started withdrawing. Most of these were not as fortunate as
Immanuel, however, in getting out without losing their church property. Sometimes only a few families would follow their pastor out of the synod. While Immanuel was allowed to continue worship in the surroundings of its home church, others had to meet in temporary locations—private homes, rented halls, garages.
Meetings started between representatives of these independent bodies in mid-1958 to discuss mutual problems and fellowship; the seeds of a new synod were sprouting. One meeting was at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Another one later in the year was at Spokane, Washington.
A new periodical for the group, The Lutheran Spokesman, was introduced.
Missionary Richard Kuehne was present at the January 12, 1959, annual meeting of the congregation and reported that his Winter Haven group had moved into its own chapel and that there was particular benefit from the kindergarten he was teaching there as a mission agency.
The informal conference of pastors, teachers, and laymen who had withdrawn from the Wisconsin Synod, of were in the procoss of withdrawing, met at Immanuel Church on January 13-15, 1959.
On April 3, 1959, Daniel Hanel was called as a student pastoral assistant.
When Immanuel Congregation withdrew from the Wisconsin Synod, some doubters considered existence of a congregation independent of the synod almost an impossibility. On May 25, 1959, God permitted Immanuel Congregation to do another seemingly impossible thing—start a high school, college and seminary, all ready to open the following September.
Prior to the action, Pastor Radtke had explained that Bethany College had become unsatisfactory as a school to send Immanuel youngsters since teaching there was concentrated in a direction contrary to Immanuel’s position. At the same time, he pointed out that the Lord had laid before the congregation a place to start a school, the North Chapel, and the people with teaching ability were available.
All resolutions pertaining to establishment of Immanuel Lutheran College were approved unanimously that night. During the summer, volunteer members of the congregation worked on the North Chapel building, a former one-room country school house, partitioning it into two classrooms, plastering and generally getting it ready for school use. Professor E. Reim was called for the college and seminary. Called for the high school were Robert Dommer, a pastor in the state of Washington, as principal and teacher, and Mrs. Hilbert Schaller as teacher. That was the faculty when the school opened in September, bringing in boarding students from several states as well as local students—28 in hight school, 11 regular and 3 special students in the college and two regular in the seminary.
David Menton, student at Mankato State College, assisted on a voluntary basis by teaching chemistry. Ronald Roehl joined the faculty during the year and did coaching in addition to his academic load.
Since there was no regular dormitory, members of the congregation took in out-of- town students on a boarding basis.
Mrs. Robert Dommer was called as kindergarten teacher of the grade school July 13, 1959, succeeding Mrs. Margaret Woods Schreyer. Daniel Hanel, a son of the congregation, was called as vicar for one year in mid-1959.
Developments among other concerned Lutherans were reported at the October 12, 1959, quarterly meeting—the Rev. Bert Nauman’s congregation at Marquette was considering breaking from the synod; at Belle Plaine a small remnant stood with the pastor in withdrawing; at New Ulm Pastor Rollin Reim and a remnant withdrew and were meeting as Faith Lutheran Church at Turner Hall; at the Rev. Paul Nolting’s church in Sleepy Eye, meetings were being held to consider withdrawing from the synod; the congregation at Jamestown, North Dakota, withdrew with its church property and school; a group ws preparing to meet in the Twin Cities using tapes of Immanuel services.
At Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, two persons now serving Immanuel congregation in its centennial year, Pastor Robert Reim and congregation president James Pelzl, withdrew from the synod.
News came that Immanuel Lutheran Church of Winter Haven, Florida, had completed its grade school addition and had had its call for a teacher answered by Miss Irma Speerschneider.
At the January 11, 1960, meeting, news was received that the Rev. Bert Nauman and his congregation at Marquette withdrew from the synod; Pastor Nolting at Sleepy Eye withdrew with a good-sized group but without their church property; and Pastor Wiedenmeier at Phoenix, Arizona, withdrew and the group of former Immanuel members in that community joined him. The Rev. M. Eibs reported the group he had been serving in the Twin Cities had incorporated as Berea Lutheran Church.
Professor E. Reim gave a report on Immanuel Lutheran College and seminary commenting, "Our bold plan is working. Our school is functioning, and, we believe, with a reasonable degree of success."
He acknowledged the cooperation as part-time instructors of Pastor Radtke, Professor Dommer, Pastor C.M. Gullerud, Professor M. Galstad, and student-teacher Clifford Kuehne, and the tutoring by Pastor Egbert Schaller of Nicollet.
A motion was passed at the same meeting establishing the G.W. Fischer Memorial Library at Immanuel Lutheran College, $1,000 taken from the Memorial fund for that purpose.
Continuing to extend its help to other groups in fellowship, Immanuel Lutheran Congregation on January 24, 1960, voted to underwrite the Twin Cities mission, Berea Lutheran Church, in its purchase of a chapel, formerly used by the Missouri Synod for the deaf, in St. Paul for $21,000.
Clifford Kuehne was called for one year as vicar on April 11, 1960, with permission to teach part-time in the college department.
By mid-1960, an interim conference of Lutheran groups in fellowship with Immanuel was in existence and on July 11, 1960, the congregation voted to channel its mission funds through the conference mission board rather than sending them directly to missions at Winter Haven, Florida, and Japan as in the past.
On October 10, 1960, Pastor Radtke reported that there is now a sister congregation at LaCrosse, Indiana, where Pastor Koch is going into the Chicago suburbs to give pastoral service. He reported there now is also a hospital pastor at Rochester.
In the meantime, the interim conference continued a thorough study of the scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions concerning the particular doctrinal issues involved in the deterioration of the Synodical Conference and several synods. The study resulted in the statement concerning church fellowship and statements concerning the doctrines of church and ministry. Finally, it led to a constitution and the interim conference formally organized as the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
It had been recognized prior to this that the unorganized fellowship had become inadequate, chiefly because of growing needs in our mission areas and the necessity of providing Christian higher education for the specific training of pastors and teachers.
Immanuel Congregation voted to join the Church of the Lutheran Confession on January 6, 1961. At the following annual meeting January 9, 1961, the congregation passed a resolution that the congregation stands ready to transfer the function of supervision of Immanuel Lutheran College to the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
Miss Irma Speerschneider, former teacher at Immanuel of Winter Haven, was called as kindergarten teacher on April 10, 1961, to succeed Mrs. Robert Dommer.
Other grade school teachers in the 1960-61 school year were Miss Lorna Schweim, Mrs. Esther Heinze, Martin Garbrecht, and Robert Rehm.
On May 15, 1961, it was reported that Henry Haase, one of the first graduates of Immanuel Lutheran College, was going to Immanuel Lutheran Church at Winter Haven, Florida, to teach.
The congregation was told on July 10, 1961, that an anonymous donor had left $10,000 to the mission fund of Immanuel Lutheran Church. The congregation divided it—$6,000 going to Immanuel Lutheran College to be used for a permanent site and/or permanent buildings for the college, and $4,000 to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Winter Haven, Florida, to be used for a parsonage or other necessary building. Norman Harms started a one-year call as vicar in August of 1961, succeeding Clifford Kuehne.
Planning ahead, the congregation elected a standing anniversary committee on January 15, 1962, to plan for the 95th anniversary of the congregation later that year and for the centennial in 1967.
A release was granted Mrs. Norman Harms (the former Lorna Schweim) as teacher of grades one and two on April 9, 1962.
Miss Ruth Schaller was called as kindergarten teacher on May 28, 1962. Because of difficulties in obtaining a first and second grade teacher, however, Miss Schaller agreed to teach temporarily in the first and second grades until a permanent teacher could be obtained. She taught those grades the next year before assuming her original call as kindergarten teacher.
The board of education was authorized to seek temporary kindergarten teaching assistance while Miss Schaller was teaching first and second grades.
A first meeting between the CLC doctrinal study committee and a Wisconsin Synod committee to discuss the difference between the two synods was held in Mankato on November 10, 1962, but that and other meetings in the years since then failed to clear up differences between the two.
The congregation voted on October 29, 1962, to switch from the vicar system to a full-time assistant pastor.
In January of 1963, the CLC at its convention at Eau Claire voted to purchase the former estate of a lumber magnate in Eau Claire for Immanuel Lutheran College. This meant moving of the school, originated in Immanuel Congregation, out of Mankato. Recognizing that it woudl be financially impossible for many of Immanuel’s young people to attend if they had to board at Eau Claire, Immanuel Congregation voted on June 3, 1963, to continue a high school here, administered by a board of directors from the local congregation.
It was to use the same building at Third and Harper that Immanuel Lutheran College had been using. On June 9, 1963, a faculty of two was called for the high school—the Rev. Clifford Kuehne, pastor at Hecla, North Dakota, as principal-teacher, and Gene Schreyer, graduate of Immanuel Lutheran College Seminary and Mankato State College, as teacher.
Called as part-time instructors on a voluntary basis were Mrs. Allison Schaller for general business and typing courses, Mrs. George Schweim for the health education course, the Rev. Keith Olmanson for religion, and Leroy Schweim for physical education and coaching, and Roger Hagen. While education was Christ-centered, the school also met state requirements for secular subjects in its curriculum.
The high school started in September, 1963, with an enrollment of 27 students.
Regular weekly German services in addition to English continued in Immanuel Congregation until September of 1963, when the German services were reduced to four festival services a year with Holy Communion. A second English service was added in place of the regular German service.
Miss Carol Lang, a graduate of Immanuel Lutheran College, started teaching first and second grades in Immanuel Grade School in September of 1963, thereby relieving Miss Ruth Schaller, teaching it on a temporary basis, to assume her original call as kindergarten teacher.
Reference to the pressing need for a new grade school building was made by Principal Robert Rehm at the October, 1963, congregational meeting: "Shall we wait until the fire marshall condemns our present building and then hastily try to make plans and begin a fund, or would it perhaps be wise to take such an occasion as the 100th anniversary of our congregation to set in motion the building of a new school?"
After a long series of unsuccessful calls for an assistant pastor, the congregation on November 15, 1963, voted to call Mr. Daniel Fleischer, C.R.M., of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, as vicar pro tem until an assistant pastor was in our midst, but not to exceed a term of one year.
At the time, he had been recuperating from an illness which had made it impossible for him to accept a position at Immanuel Lutheran College at Eau Claire. However, God’s grace enabled him to serve Immanuel so well that he remained with the congregation on a permanent call basis, eventually elevated to assistant pastor and then co-pastor.
On April 13, 1964, Pastor Radtke noted that the high school had been blessed with 13 qualified volunteer instructors, "something unheard of". Most of them came from within the congregation, trained in fields which qualified them particularly for subjects in which they taught.
Enrollment for Immanuel High School in its second year of local operation, 1964- 65, was 37.
Vicar Daniel Fleischer was called as assistant pastor on October 19, 1964.
Mrs. Esther Heinze on January 11, 1965, asked to be released as third and fourth grade teacher of Immanuel Grade School at the end of that school year. Mrs. Fred Abel was called July 13, 1965, to fill the vacancy for the 1965-66 school year.
A flood hit Mankato in April of 1965, and Immanuel High School closed down for a couple of days as teachers and students alike went to dike-building duty to help protect the community.
The 1965-66 school year opened with 36 students in Immanuel High School and 92 in grade school.
Carol Lang asked for a release on January 10, 1966, from her call as first and second grade teacher at the end of that school year.
While non-salaried volunteer teachers had been helping ease the burden on the two fulltime teachers at Immanuel High School for better than two years, the load on the two remained an unusually heavy one. Late nights of work were commonplace for the two and only three or four hours of sleep a night were not unusual to keep up to all the teaching that had to be done. Mr. Kuehne and Mr. Schreyer generally carried six courses a day apiece plus supervising and assisting in many extra curricular activities.
In light of this, the congregation on January 24, 1966, voted to call a third fulltime teacher for the high school. Miss Miriam Schaller, an ILC graduate who had been teaching French in an Eau Claire high school, subsequently accepted a position as teaching assistant for the 1966-67 year and then in winter of 1967 accepted a permanent call as high school teacher. She, Principal Kuehne, and Mr. Schreyer make up the fulltime faculty in this centennial year. As in previous years, many part-time volunteer teachers are also on the faculty.
Accepting calls for the grade school were Miss Mary Grimes, first and second grades, and Miss Beth Duehlmeier, third and fourth grades, who joined the faculty at the start of the 1966-67 year.
Pastor Gordon Radtke’s request for release to accept a call as professor at the ILC Seminary in Eau Claire was granted October 4, 1966. The Rev. Robert Reim of Opportunity, Washington, was called on November 1, 1966, and he accepted.
The Centennial Committee had been considering possibilities of an appropriate project for the 1967 centennial year and centered on a prime interest of Immanuel Lutheran Church throughout its 100 years—Christian education. In July of 1967, the committee recommended the congregation focus its anniversary project attention of a new building and auditorium for the grade school as well as eliminating the congregation’s debt.
Following further study for a more detailed plan, the congregation on December 11, 1966, adopted a centennial project plan to first retire the congregation’s debt and then build a fund for a new school. A rough estimate of needs for the first two steps of the project was set at approximately $140,000. A gymnasium-auditorium was projected for a third step as soon after completion of the classroom unit as it is financially possible.
A five-year estimate card and envelope system was set up, and in winter of 1967, some 50 men of the congregation visited homes to gather estimates of what members felt they could give toward the project over a period of five years. The indicated estimates totaled $82,240. Members received envelopes to contribute periodically as they could. By mid-May, 1967, the centennial project contributions had passed the $10,000 mark.
Plans were made to hold the congregation’s observance of the 100th anniversary of the starting of Immanuel Congregation in October of 1967.
On February 28, 1967, the congregation accepted the resignation of Martin Garbrecht as fifth and sixth grade teacher effective no later than July 1, 1967. In teaching 47 years, he had been at Immanuel School the past 15 years. In appreciation for his service, his present housing facilities were made available to him cost free after his retirement.
To fill the vacancy, the congregation finally decided to call two mothers in the congregation with teaching experience, Mrs. Lorna Pelzl, and Mrs. Ruth Rehm, to share the fifth and sixth grade assignment on a half-day basis for each.
When financial difficulty threatened the continuation of Immanuel Lutheran High School in winter of 1967, the congregation decided to treat it as any other type of Christian education for its young people, by providing it regular support as needed beyond tuition and monthly contributions.
Telling how the effect of Christian education had been seen in the way in which students were crushed on word the high school might close, Pastor Reim told the voters, "They have been affected. They don’t want to leave their little school with its meager facilities."
The continued future of the high school was seen in encouraging more of the congregation’s students to make use of the opportunity for Christian education at the secondary level.
On May 16, 1967, Pastor Fleischer asked for, and received, a peaceful release from Immanuel Church so that he might accept the call serve Trinity of Watertown, South Dakota, and Zion of Hidewood Township.
John Pfeiffer, who would be graduation from the ILC Seminary at Eau Claire that June, was called on May 23, 1967, to succeed him as co-pastor and he accepted that call.
As the second century dawns for Immanuel Congregation, it remains a pioneer in a sense, clinging to the same Word of God that Luther did, despite pressures of modernism that would compromise it. It has learned that standing fast in God’s Word can sometimes mean standing alone.
Opportunities for serving God and spreading His Word continue to present themselves. Even at the time of this writing, news has come of existence of a group of some 200 laymen in Columbia, South Carolina, who left liberal church bodies for the same reasons Immanuel did. Just as Immanuel Congregation did, they felt themselves alone in a world of liberalism, until they became aware of the CLC. After making a chance contact through a newspaper advertisement place to "concerned Lutherans" by the Rev. Martin Galstad at Winter Haven, Florida, they realized they were in agreement with us and called the Rev. Paul Nolting of Sleepy Eye to serve them. That development holds hope for fruitful growth in the Deep South.
Ahead for Immanuel in the coming years is the opportunity to develop even further the system of Christian education it has nourished for 100 years—an education it has discovered to be as necessary in 1967 as 1867.
Immanuel has indeed completed a century of grace.
|Immanuel in Its Centennial Year||