Who could’ve guessed what would develop in 150 years?
This month, Immanuel begins our celebration of 150 years as a congregation together. In 1871, nine Norwegian immigrants gathered in someone’s living room to receive Holy Communion from a traveling pastor. They met again in February. (Communion was quarterly in those days, mainly because of a dearth of pastors). After that, they began regular meetings, and eventually became known as Immanuel Lutheran church.
1871. Imagine it — the gilded age in America. The civil war was 6 years past, and reconstruction was still in force in the south. There were no cars (1890), telephones (1876), elevators (1880) or incandescent bulbs (1879). The transcontinental railroad was completed just two years prior, and the opening up of the west brought economic growth and an influx of immigrants, nine of whom started a church. Who could have imagined in those days what Immanuel Lutheran would become?
Through two world wars, economic depression, air flight and space flight, development of the microchip and modern computers, women’s
right to vote, the Civil Rights Act, 9/11 and two pandemics, the people of Immanuel have gathered to hear the Word and share the Lord’s Supper. We have been guided by the Holy Spirit to care for each other and the wider community and discover what it means to follow Christ in every age.
As I look in wonder at the past, I also look in wonder at the future. What will come between now and 2171 (150 years in the future?) Where will the spirit lead us? How will we and our grandchildren’s children grow in Christ, live in grace and serve in love? It is a hopeful thing to place them in the hands of the Living God who has been faithful and always will be.
Happy 150th, Immanuel! May God bless and keep us for 150 more.
A sister in Christ,