The following is condensed and updated from an article written by the late Marj Holbrook, a talented writer and long-time Immanuel member, on the occasion of Immanuel’s 125th Anniversary.
Immanuel Lutheran Church was formed officially in 1882, just 49 years after Batavia’s first settler, Christopher Payne, built a cabin (in 1833) near what is now Mahoney Creek, about a mile east of the Fox River on the north side of what is now Wilson Street.
Organized on October 12, 1882, a constitution was signed and adopted by fourteen members. It had taken 27 years for the German Lutherans living in Batavia to form a church; it would be another 20 years before the congregation had its first resident pastor.
As the world celebrated the arrival of the twentieth century, Immanuel adopted a new custom: men and women could now sit together in church. Until then, men sat on one side, women on the other.
About the time of thebeginning of World War I, Immanuel Lutheran Church decided to establish a Sunday School. In 1918 the church decided to hold four services a year in English. Later it was decided to hold one English service and one German service each week.
Fast forward to August 1986 as Immanuel moves to its current location at 950 Hart Road in Batavia. Church members and families walked from the former location on Webster Street to the new church on the hill in formation behind a cross held aloft. An education wing was added to the new building in 1993 and the preschool, begun in 1989, expanded to include Kindergarten. Grades one and two were added in 1996 and the school continued to grow through eighth grade. A second addition that includes a library, technology lab, gymnasium and additional classrooms was added in 2005.
More than one hundred twenty-five years ago Immanuel’s worshippers sought and received the Holy Spirit’s guidance as they organized their congregation. No one then could have predicted the congregations growth in numbers, programs, and facilities. We trust that God will continue to lead our church to preach His Word and spread His Gospel to neighbors, community, and the entire Fox River Valley.