Decommissioning of Historic Church Building

On January 15, 2020, the final service of Thankfulness and Departure was held at the Historic Church on McHenry Ave.  The following includes Pastor Tieman's message and the History of Immanuel read by lifetime members Steve Verseman and Scott Verseman. 

A sampling of pictures taken for you by Sylver McAllister, Pastor Bob Pudell, and Paul Bierlein can be seen below.  Please follow the link to view all 104 pictures that you may download and print as you please.

January 15, 2020

This is an historic day in the life of Immanuel Lutheran Church. We have entered the 150th year of our history and we are celebrating 125 years of worship, service, and fellowship in this beloved building. 

It is also a sad day because we are saying “farewell” to an old friend, to a place that is filled with so many warm memories and cherished milestones that they could not possibly be recounted in the short time we have together tonight. This old friend has been here with us as we celebrated new beginnings in baptisms, first communions, confirmations, and weddings. She stood faithful and strong throughout the decades of worship and fellowship and saw us through the ups and downs and struggles of life. For generations this place has been a sanctuary where the peace and love of God protected us from the storms that have raged all around us. And, of course, this old friend has been here to help us send our loved ones and family members into the loving arms of the Good Shepherd as they entered eternal life. 

And so tears will be shed this evening as we glimpse the simple beauty of this enchanted place for the last time. Thoughts and emotions of days long past will overwhelm us as we hear the familiar creaking of the pews, the soaring notes of the organ, and the soothing words of institution of the Lord’s Supper. And our voices will catch as we sing our favorite hymns and say the Lord’s Prayer together one final time outside this blessed sanctuary.

It is a sad day, for an era has come to an end--an era that has seen tremendous blessings and created extraordinary and lifelong memories. And it is an historic day—125 years as a congregation and family inside these walls—and 150 years celebrating Immanuel, “God with us.” And for that reason, a joyous day, as well.  Though this building will cease to be a house of worship, the worship of our Lord will continue. Though our community of fellowship will gather elsewhere, the memories of God’s blessings will live on. The bread and wine of communion will be celebrated in a different location, but the body of Christ will be all together in one place and God will be with us!  Immanuel lives on!

Just about every time I have conducted a funeral in this building, I have reminded the people gathered that we are here to celebrate a life well lived. And that is exactly what we are doing here tonight; we are celebrating a grand old building that has been a blessing to thousands and thousands of people over the past 125 years!  It has been a tremendous run—125 years—that is to be celebrated and cherished! And yet, at every funeral I also tell the people that the main reason we gather is to give praise and honor and worship to the God who has provided the blessings of that person’s life and has ushered them into a better future through His grace! And, that, too, is what we are doing tonight! 

Let’s celebrate and cherish the blessings that God has given to Immanuel Lutheran Church over the decades in and through this building and look forward to an even more glorious and impactful future of God’s grace working in and through His people. For we are Immanuel, God with us! Amen.

History of Immanuel 

In 1868, Pastor Henry Schmidt traveled from Dundee to the very young town of Crystal Lake to perform a baptism and a funeral. The seeds were planted on that fall day for a church and school that is still thriving 150 years later. 

Rev. Henry O. Schmidt was installed as first resident pastor of Immanuel in July of 1875.  Recognizing the need for quality Christian education, ground was broken on McHenry Avenue for a 20' x 30' school building, which also accommodated worship services.

The purchase of a church building followed soon after in 1877. It was moved to McHenry Ave and Church Street and a steeple and sacristy were added. A bell was placed in the tower and rang out on Saturday nights to remind the community to attend worship the next morning. In later years, the bell rang to begin all worship services.

In 1890, Immanuel received membership in The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and in 1895 the building we sit in this evening was built and dedicated.

The community and school were growing, so in 1906 an additional four-room brick school building was built and was used through the tenure of Immanuel School and Faith Lutheran High School. Expansion on the school continued in 1954 when the gymnasium and additional classrooms were added.

The heavy equipment came to campus in 1966 when the church underwent a complete renovation including adding the basement underneath the church and complete sanctuary remodel. A new addition was added to the school, as well, and included church offices, meeting rooms, and a cafeteria and kitchen.

Lifetime member, Florence Bohl, donated her farmland to the church in 1994.  Building of The Pointe Outreach Center was negotiated with developers when Immanuel sold the Bohl property in 1998 and purchased 60 acres near the center of Crystal Lake to build the new Immanuel Lutheran Church and School. The Pointe Outreach Center opened in 2003.

Ground was broken on the new campus in 2007 and in 2009 the new Church and School Campus opened. Saturday night worship and special services continued here at the historic church. The final worship service was conducted just a few weeks ago on Christmas Eve.

If we quiet ourselves, would we hear it? Would 150 years of laughter, learning, music, tears, a little mischief, and generations of memories flow from every crevice of this campus? Most certainly. We are indeed blessed to be a part of this congregation at this time in history. We depart with dear memories of this beloved church AND have the extraordinary opportunity to continue to grow His Kingdom and serve this community from our new church home. God is indeed good, for ALL times!

Watch Video of Final Service
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Historic Church Images