Submitted by Cathe Ziereis
Friday, January 11,1985 SHAWANO EVENING LEADER Page 7
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A century by the grace of God...
Lutheran Church of Route 1, Gillett,
GILLETT — Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church at Route 1 will observe its 100th anniversary with special worship serices during 1985. Rev. Martin Sengele will begin the celebration as the first guest speaker on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 9:45 a.m. His topic will be ''Grateful Remembrance and Joyful Response."
Rev, Sengele came to the United 'States from the Alsace-Lorraine provlence of France, to attend Concordia College in Milwaukee, from 1921-1927. He attended the seminary in St. Louis from 1927-1929. After he was vicated he lived in Villard Minn. from the summer of 199 to summer of 1930.
He returned to the seminary, graduated in June 1931 and accepted a call to serve Free Church congregations in Alsace. He stayed there until 1948 when he accepted a call to Browns, Ill., where he served for I8 months. He then accepted a call to this area, where he served Pulcifer and Hintz first, and later Pulcifer and Green Valley, for 29 years.
He retired and move to Shawano in 1974. He is married to Florence Oelstrom and they have four sons.
Although Immanuel is observing its centennial, the beginning of the congregation dates back more than 100 years. The first records indicate that in 1875 Pastor P.H. Dlcke of the Town of Washington in Shawano County, began to conduct Lutheran services for a small group of settlers in the Town of Gillett, Oconto County.
The first services were held in the Joseph Helmke home, according to older living members. Services were also held for a time in a school in the Town of Underbill. This was the era when settlers, searching for land suitable to homestead, pushed their way through the woods. Pastor Dicke came as often as he could to serve these early settlers, traveling on horseback through Indian trails and wilderness.
Alter a few years, Pastor Dicke asked the people their opinion of establishing a congregation. In August 1884, a meeting was called to draw up the articles of incorporation. Then the first officers were elected. The name Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Congregation was chosen.
On Feb. 16,1885, it was resolved to have the articles of incorporation recorded. The new congregation continued to worship in the homes of members and in public school buildings. On March. 31, 1885, they decided to build a log church. Pastor Dlcke, who had guided the congregation from the beginning, preached the dedication service. The first parsonage was built in 1892.
Pastor Dicke resigned from Immanuel in 1888. Eight pastors followed him in the past 100 years: Rev. Otto List, 1688-1892; Rev. John Huchthausen, 1892-1894; Rev. F. Uplegger, 1894-1898; Rev. Robert Heike, 1898-1904; Rev. David Mark Worth, 1904-1927; Rev. E.A. Wians, 1927-1947; Rev. J.R. Westphal, 1948-1973; Rev. Roger Eden, 1974-1976; Rev. Edward Steyer, 1977-1984.
Presently, the congregation is in the calling process.
The present church was erected in 1898 at a cost of $684. The old log church became the school and the new parsonage was built in 1928. In 1945 the church was completely remodeled, including raising the old structure to erect a basement. In 1909, members decided to build a new school.
In 1921, services were given once a month in English. Before that the services were conducted in German.
In 1955 a new entrance was added to the structure. The latest improvement was the complete redecoration of the church for the 100 anniversary.
During the past 100 years 1336 persons were baptized at Immanuel, 1094 were confirmed, 380 were married while 542 received Christian burial.
Immanuel congregation numbers approximately 355 baptized members, 298 communicant members and is joined in a parish arrangement with Christ Lutheran Church also of Route 1 Gillett.
SHAWANO EVENING LEADER
Immanuel Lutheran Evangelical German School - Gillett
A NEW SCHOOL
The first church, built of logs, had served as a school for many years. Since the number of children in the congregation constantly increased, and since the old school became wholly inadequate, it was decided to build a new school in 1909. The contract for the new school, 36 ft. long and 28 ft. wide, was given to Julius Lemke.
During these early years, the average church contributions per family ranged from $2.00 to $ 10.00 per year. In 1911 the congregation was divided into two districts. Collectors were appointed for the East and West Districts. Contributions seemed to increase considerably.
The metal ceiling was installed in the church building in 1925. The expense journal lists Helf Hardware Company steel ceiling $461.00 on October 19, 1925. On Nov. 10 the paint and painting labor amounted to $395.00, making a total of $856.00.
Although the congregation did not officially join the Missouri Synod until 1948, they celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Synod on May 25, 1926. A special collection was taken.
Mrs. Markworth was asked to teach at a salary of $200.00 per year. The minutes indicate that at different times other lady teachers or students for the ministry were engaged in teaching school. School was held for 6 months of the year starting October 1st. No English reading material was to be used in the German school. Math material could be in English in 1918. In 1926 new books and maps were purchased similar to those being used in public schools. By that time most children attended the school for 2 years of confirmation instruction.
They also had instruction in secular subjects for half the day and returned to their public school classes after confirmation each spring. For some children, it was hard to catch up with the state requirements for public school graduation.
From the minutes it also became apparent that the membership was more interested in furthering the German language through its school than to maintain it as a means of Christian education. As late as 1918 reading courses were still conducted in the German language. This may have been one of the chief factors why the school was later discontinued.