On Dec. 3, 1903, a small group of Lutherans organized into a congregation of the Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The group had been meeting in various places and the need for a permanent church and their own pastor was evidence.
With the help of the Nebraska District and neighboring congregations, a small frame building was erected just north of 11th Street on Platte Avenue and the Rev. Otto Batz was installed as its first district pastor.
There were eight voting members and the Sunday morning attendance was from 12-20 worshipers.
By 1908, the congregation became self-supporting and plans were made to move the church building to its present location at Ninth Street and Beaver Avenue.
By 1924, with fundraising projects and loans, the new church was built. The congregation steadily increased in size. Services were conducted in both German and English languages. The congregation numbered over 300 communicants by 1936.
Pastor Batz served as pastor of the Emmanuel congregation until 1936, when he retired by continued as the director of the Lutheran Hospital.
Pastor Herman Hopmann became Emmanuel’s second pastor and served until 1961. Under his direction, according to local history books, “the congregation grew rapidly.” For a number of years, church services were still conducted in two languages – German and English. The congregation decided to drop the German language services and have two services in English every Sunday.
“As the Sunday School enrollment kept mounting, as well as the attendance at Saturday School and Vacation Bible School, it became evident that expansion of the building was very necessary. The congregation purchased one fourth of a block, across the street, north of the church, and began making plans to erect a Christian education building. It was then decided to enlarge the present church rather than to build a separate building. The lots south of the church became available and they were purchased. This made it possible to enlarge the church and also build the educational unit on the same plot of ground. This addition was dedicated in the spring of 1953.”
Teacher Harold Stelzer was called in 1956 and in the fall of 1957, a school was opened with three grades and 16 pupils. Grades and more teachers were added as the school grew.
Both the school and the church continue to thrive today.
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