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Immanuel's Lutheran Church 75th Anniversary


hisory cover      Brief History

"In all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee and I will bless thee," Exodus 20, 24. That is God's gracious promise to mankind. This promise of God has also been fulfilled in regard to Immanuel's Lutheran Congregation of Afton Township, Cherokee County, Iowa. As we observe the 75th anniversary of Immanuel's Congregation, we acknowledge with humble and grateful hearts the goodness and mercy of the Lord our God toward our congregation. It is not because of our own worthiness, not because of our faithfulness, but because of the unmerited, never-failing love of God the Father, the Lord and Savior Jesus, and God's Holy Spirit that we are permitted to observe 75 years of Gospel preaching in our midst. It is God who has preserved our congregation to the present time; and we hope and pray that God will continue to preserve our congregation and make it a blessing for many in the years to come.

Immanuel's congregation is strictly a country church. It has been and still is a small country congregation and has not made much of history as the world sees it. But from God's promise we have the assurance that it has brought forth fruit to the glory of God and salvation to immortal souls.

In the years 1875 to 1877 a number of families came from Monie and Beacher, Illinois, to Cherokee County and made their homes in Afton Township, nine miles northeast of Aurelia. These were the families of Dietrich Honsbruch, Fritz Ehrhardt, Fritz Sump, Christian Buddenhagen, Fritz Kolpin, Carl Mueller, Joachim Westphal, and John Klockow. These families were served by a missionary from Fort Dodge who came either on horseback or driving in a cart, and they were often referred to as "circuit riders." A total lack of roads and bridges made these trips very difficult. There was only a trail leading from Aurelia to Afton. We, who have all the conveniences at hand, can little imagine what difficulties must have been encountered on these trips.

The services, of course, were held only on the occasions that the missionary could come. But no matter what day of the week he came, the people came to hear the preaching of God's Word.
The year 1876 was indeed a trying year for these pioneers for the grasshoppers took all that was on the fields and their garners were empty for the coming winter.

The land on which Immanuel's church and parsonage was built was bought from Dietrich Honsbruch. The plot of land was to be 5 acres, for which the congregation paid $30.00. The deed for same was recorded on January 8th., 1883. The deed was defective. A corrected deed was recorded in 1889. This deed states that the plot of land contains 5 acres.

There is no record of the exact date that these families organized as a congregation and decided to build a house of worship. The first records, however, give evidence that it was in the spring of 1878 when these pioneer families constructed a building which combined a place of worship and a dwelling for the pastor. All the work of erecting this building was done by these early settlers, some walking as far as four miles to do their part. The building was completed by the end of July. On Sunday, July 28, 1878, the 7th Sunday after Trinity, the building was dedicated for worship and Candidate C. F. W. Grumm was installed as the first resident pastor of Immanuel's Congregation. This date, therefore, is looked upon as the birthday of our congregation.

Candidate C. F. W. Grumm was installed as pastor of Immanuel by Rev. L. Craemer, pastor of St. Paul's of Fort Dodge, who in the year 1879 was elected as the first president of the newly organized Iowa District. Pastor H. Rabe from Webster City preached the dedication sermon. And thus Immanuel Congregation became a part of the Kingdom of the Lord in the State of Iowa.

In the early 80's other families came to this community. These included Joachim Roggow, Heinrich Bolte, Wilhelm Golnitz, Carl Stief, Heinrich Hasenwinkel, Theodore Zorn, Carl Zorn, Heinrich Zorn, August Zorn, and others whose names are no more known to most of us, such as Jacobs, Knauft, Rath, Nowka, Rubensdorf, Bark, Kohlstedt, Voellschow, Deters, Jarcho, and many others. A number of these, after a few years stay in this community, picked up their staff and moved on, some to Nebraska, others to the Dakotas and Minnesota. From the year 1778 to 1888 our records carry the names of 63 families.

The Rev. C. F. W. Grumm also served the following congregations, St. John's of Hanover, St. Paul's of Aurelia, Trinity of Marcus for one year and St. John's of Germantown for one year.

The first child to be baptized by Pastor C. F. W. Grumm was Johanna Sump, daughter of Fritz Sump and his wife, Mina nee' Pingel. The first child born among these pioneer families, as far as can be ascertained, was Carl Ehrhardt, son of Fritz Ehrhardt and his wife, Louise nee' Wiechen. He was born July 9, 1876, and was baptized by Missionary L. Craemer. And Mr. Carl Ehrhardt was a member of Immanuel's Congregation until January 1953, when he transferred to St. John's of Storm Lake. Mr. Ehrhardt and Mrs. Lena Roggow, a daughter of Carl Mueller, are the only surviving charter members of Immanuel.

lroggow                   cehrhardt                             

Time and Length of Service of the Various Pastors

ggrumm            gguelker     adoerftler

hschwenk          ghartmann         jdhesse

hbaumann         oabraunschweig

The corner stone was laid and the remodeled church dedicated on Sunday, September 29, 1940. Rev. O. Braunschweig, assisted by Joe Westoupal, owner of the Cherokee Monument Works, laid the corner stone.  Documents of the church, a copy of the Lutheran Witness, a catechism, a Bible and copies of the Aurelia Sentinel, Cherokee Daily Times and the Storm Lake Tribune were placed in a copper box and sealed by Wm. Stanford, furnace dealer of Cherokee.  This copper box was placed in the crypt.

In the morning service the following procession entered the auditorium: the pastor, leading elders followed carrying the Bible and communion ware and then the audience.  Rev. Juergens, pastor of St. John's Germantown, spoke on the glory of God's House.  In the afternoon, following the setting of the cornerstone, Rev. O. Bahr delivered the sermon.  "How Are You Going to Use Your New Church."  And showing the attitude of different classes of people, he concluded, "the only proper attitude is to attend regularly and hear the word of God." Song selections were rendered by a girls' trio, Sunday School children and solo by Anna Marie Braunschweig.  The rev. Elmer Wehrspan of Kingsley delivered the sermon in the evening.  He spoke especially to the young people.  The church auditorium was filed to capacity in the forenoon and afternoon services and many had to be accommodated in the basement.  A public address system was installed to enable everyone to hear.


The present Communion Ware was bought by the Congregation in 1948.  The money was raised on the 70th anniversary.  The cost of same $358.00.

In the years 1949 and 1950, a water system was installed, the parsonage was remodeled in the interior, this remodeling included a modern kitchen and full bath.  This brings us up to date, what the future holds in store, is in the hands of God.

Let no one think that during these years there was only joy and sunshine.  There were also days of sorrow and grief, heartache, tears, disappointments and strife, but our God in His grace and mercy has upheld and carried us through all.  And if we honestly weigh all things, we are forced to confess.: "the good things that have come to us during these years far outweigh all evil.  For which the Lord our God be praised now and ever.

SOLI DEO GLORIA

Elders and Trustees Elders  

Members of 1953 Congregation



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Church Congregation in 1894



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Our Pastors

G. Grumm..........................1878-1881        G. Hartmann..............................1901-1914
G. Guelker.........................1882-1888 J. D. Hesse................................1914-1918
A. Doerffler........................1889-1893 H. Baumann................................1919-1925
H. Schwenk........................1893-1901 O.A. Braunschweig.....................1926

Official Acts
Official Acts 1878 - July 1, 1953
Baptized .......660
Confirmed......421
Married...........166
Buried.............175

Baptized Confirmed Married Buried
G. Grumm 37 18 13 10
G. Guelker 101 53 23 42
A. Doerffler 70 37 12 21
H. Schwenk 123 66 27 19
G. Hartmann 123 96 36 31
J. D. Hesse 23 19 9 6
H. Baumann 62 31 16 16
O. Braunschweig 123 101 30 30


One Year Records

Largest number of baptisms in one year..................................................23 in 1892   
Largest number of confirmations in one year...........................................16 in 1895
Largest number of marriages in one year..................................................8 in 1887

THE WALTHER LEAGUE



A Young People Society has its importance in a Christian congregation, as it has for its aim to assist in keeping the young people with the church, to train them in the affairs of the congregation, to foster Christian fellowship among the young people, to provide wholesome entertainment, and to train them to be active in the charitable endeavors of the church.

A Young Peoples Society was organized in April, 1927, under the name: Immanuel Young Peoples Society.  28 signed the constitution.  The reading stand in our church and an English and German Bible for the lectern are gifts of our young people.

The pastor recalls with joy and pleasure the general good conduct of the young people, their good attendance at our meetings, and their willingness to do work on written topics for our enlightenment.  Many fine papers were written by our young people, and read and discussed at our meetings.  Your pastor still has most of these papers.

In 1942 the Society joined the International Walther League and is now known as the Immanuel's Walther League.

After World War II the members of the Walther League shrank to a very small number; so much so, that for some time nly an occasional meeting was held.  At present, we are again in the groove and have our regular monthly meetings.

We are looking for an increase in our membership in the coming years.  May God grant help and grace to make our Walther League an ever-better agency to assist our young people to become more faithful children of God.

The present officers are:
President....................................................LaVonne Pingel
Vice-President...........................................Lila Pingel
Secretary....................................................Donna Buddenhagen
Secretary....................................................Patricia Ehrhardt

THE LADIES AID



The Ladies Aid was organized on the 21st day of April, 1937 at the home of Mrs. Victor Baumhoefner.  18 ladies were present: 15 of these ladies joined as members.  A constitution was adopted, stating the aim of the organization, namely, to be of help in the spiritual and social upbuilding of the congregation and to foster acts of benevolence.  The society now numbers 25 members.
The first officers of the Ladies Aid were:
President....................................................Mrs. Victor Baumhoefner
Vice-President..........................................Mrs. Ed Golnitz
Secretary....................................................Mrs. Minnie Buddenhagen
Treasurer....................................................Mrs. H. W. Roggow
The Ladies Aid is also an educational institution.  At all meetings, hymns are sung and the Word of God read and applied.  The purpose of the Aid is to perform works of Christian charity, to help the sick and needy, and to assist those who are in sorrow and trouble.

The Aid has during its existence supplied a number of things for the altar of the church and for the church itself.  The Ladies have shown Christian hospitality at such functions as Missions Sundays, celebrations, pastoral conferences, ladies rallies, circuit meetings, remembering our sons who are in the service of our country and the like.  The Aid meets monthly, every first Wednesday of the month.

In 1950 the Aid became an active member of the Women's Missionary League.  May God grant that they become ever more efficient in the deeds which are pleasing unto God.
Officers for 1953:
President..................................................Mrs. Roy Sump
Vice-President.........................................Mrs. Albert Stiel
Secretary..................................................Mrs. Clarence Sump
Treasurer..................................................Mrs. John Buddenhagen




THE SUNDAY SCHOOL



Immanuel's Sunday School was organized in April 1932, with an enrollment of 53 children.

The First Teachers Were:

Beginners.................................Erna Honsbruch Intermediate 2............................Lilly Buddenhagen
Primary....................................Elenora Braunschweig Seniors.......................................Irene Roggow
Juniors.....................................Helen Sump Bible Class.................................Rev. O. Braunschweig
Intermediate 1..........................Leola Pingel Superintendent............................H. W. Roggow


The largest enrollment was in 1933 when 54 were enrolled. The enrollment for 1953 is 41.

Our Present Teachers Are:

Beginners................................Margaret Klockow Intermediate 2......................................Joan Stief
Primary...................................Darlene Stief Seniors.......................................Mrs. Roy Sump
Juniors....................................LaVonne Pingel Bible Class.................................Rev. O. Braunschweig
Intermediate 1.........................Mrs. A. Honsbruch Superintendent............................Christ Roggow


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