Immanuel Lutheran Church
The actual inception of Immanuel Lutheran Church is quite vague. No records exist which yield the exact date of the first service which might be accredited with having brought forth the congregation. In 1889, according to existing records, services were conducted by the Rev. C. A. Bretscher, pastor of St. Paul's Church of Hanover, Twp. These services were held in a public school house which stood opposite the northwest corner of the present church property.
Meetings were held in 1889 for organizational purposes and by May 26, 1889, the constitution was adopted and the First German Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation of Soldier Twp., Crawford Co., Iowa, came into existence. Fifteen men stepped forward to sign the constitution on this memorable day.
They were Herman Fester, Gustav Kroll, August Baak, Wilhelm Baak, Wilhelm Fester, Otto Henning, Carl F. W. Henning, Heinrich Vogelpohl, August Klackmann, Friedrich Fahrnow, Wilhelm Henschen, and Theodore Bolduan.
Pastor Bretscher was asked to continue to serve the newly established congregation. He is therefore, recognized as the first Pastor of Immanuel. Pastor Runge, of the Hanover Lutheran Church also served the congregation in the first months of its existence. Eventually, The Rev. A. Amstein served as Immanuel's first called Pastor.The congregation joined the Iowa District of the Missouri Synod in 1892. During the early days, services were held in the public school.
A Building for the Church
On March 17, 1890, the congregation adopted a resolution to buy five acres of land located in the northwest section 34, from Carl F. W. Henning at $25.00 per acre. The land was purchased for the church, other buildings and a cemetery.
In the spring of 1891, the congregation resolved to build a proper church building and decided to have a building of size thirty by fifty-four feet with a 60 foot tall steeple. Mr. August Schultz offered to erect the building for $1900 if the members would haul the materials. The cornerstone was put in place June 14, 1891, and on December 27 of the same year the congregation gathered to dedicate their new church building.
The building was remodeled in 1903 and a basement was placed under the building in 1951. On October 6, 1895, The Rev. Christian Wehking of Danbury, Iowa, was extended a call to serve as Pastor. He accepted the call and moved into the new parsonage the congregation had built on additional land they had purchased.
The following are pastors that served the congregations through the years:
- 1890-1895 A. Amstein
- 1895-1910 Christian Wehking
- 1910-1914 A. D. Greif
- 1914-1922 Theodore Wolfran
- 1922-1924 Otto Lossner
- 1935-1941 Herbert H. Stahnke
- 1942-1946 G. Schaefer
- 1946-1947 M. Hearther
- 1948-1957 R. Cloeter
- 1957- E. E. Greene still serving in 1974 together with the congregation in Mapleton.
Immanuel Parochial School
School was held in the quarters at the rear of the church. This area soon became inadequate and a school house was built in the fall of 1901 with an addition built in 1919.
The teaching during the first years of the school was done by the Pastor or a student. In September, 1917, a full-time instructor was employed. Ernest Wolfram, a student of theology, was that instructor, and was directed to teach all grades for nine months.
In the summer of 1918 Jess Stenske, a graduate of Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, was called as the first permanent teacher. A home was built for the teacher in 1920.
The following also served as teachers of the school in the following years:
- 1921-1924 B. Schultz
- 1924-1936 W. C. Boettcher
- 1936-1937 Chester Platt
- 1937-1941 P. F. Steffens
- 1941-1943 F. Voigtmann
This abridged history of the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Soldier Township is taken from material provided to us by Michael Buck from the Ricketts 75th Anniversary book.