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2023 Lazarus House Chili Cook-off Winner!

Thank you to all who provided chili and fixin’s to Lazarus House on Feb 17. Terry Rueffer, our new coordinator, is the winner of the 2023 chili competition and was awarded the Ladle of Glory! He will be retiring his mother’s chili recipe so he can serve his secret-recipe corn muffins to the effort next February:)

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12.11.22 Drive Through Christmas Nativity

Thank-you to the 50 volunteers and everyone who came by to see our Drive Through Christmas Nativity this past weekend! We were able to share the story of the true meaning of Christmas with so many people in our surrounding community; there was a steady flow of cars for the entire 2 hours. This was a great way to start off the Christmas season!

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10.30.2022 Martin Luther Service Awards

Congratulations to Dick & Sue Wauer, this year’s Martin Luther Servant of Christ Award winners!

Dick Wauer was born in Chicago December 1942. He was the middle of 3 boys and forever tagging along after his older brother: earning him the nickname “Little Hamper”. He gravitated towards sports early on, especially baseball. His 1957, his Pony League team earned 2nd place at the league’s World Series. Dick played football, basketball, and baseball in high school; and earned MVP in both baseball and basketball his senior year at Proviso East. While dating a girl in high school; he was confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Elmwood Park. The girlfriend didn’t last, but the Lutheran part did! After high school, Dick enrolled in the University of Detroit on a basketball scholarship, but soon learned that his high school skills weren’t enough when competing against the likes of Dave DeBusschere who went on to play for the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. He left college after 1 year and joined the US Army, where he was sent was sent to Germany. Being privileged to travel while living abroad planted a lifelong love of travel. After the service, Dick returned to International Harvester in their Downtown office.

Sue Kolb was born in December 1948. On Christmas Day that year, she was baptized in a crystal punch bowl in her dining room. She was confirmed in 1962 at Grace Lutheran Church, in River Forest, IL. Upon graduation from Oak Park High School in 1966 she attended the University of Illinois. Sue started her career at International Harvester – Corporate Headquarters.

A life changing event occurred the day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The West side of Chicago was ablaze and rioting along the Lake Street “L”. It was not safe to be out. Sue’s boss paired her up with a tall, good-looking colleague from another department. He rode with her through the chaos and delivered her safely to her home in River Forest. Eleven months later, on February 23,1969, Sue stood in front of Grace Lutheran Church-River Forest confessing her faith and love as she married Richard Wauer.

From here their journey picks up speed. March 2, 1970, brought the birth of their son, Jeffrey. Kathryn followed 2 years later. Laura was born 7 years after Kathryn. Raising the first two children in Oak Park created all the usual young family challenges. Sue was very active in the community, including putting a large block party together. (I wonder if this was the beginning of the food “pusher” nickname?) Church (Grace -River Forest & St. Paul Melrose Park) and family were always the most important things for Sue. Dick was building his career. Late Spring in 1975 a job transfer moved the family across the Atlantic to Brussels Belgium, where the native languages are French & Flemish. The day they moved in, Dick left on business, and for the next three and a half years, he traveled almost weekly. Sue managed the household and survived on her humor, tenacity, and persistence. She made many friends in the international community, being active in Women’s Club, British School, International School and little league. While overseas, Sue took the opportunity to travel-she visited eastern Europe and Russia and made a culinary trip to a Parisian cooking school. Sue also learned the secrets of Chinese cooking, and the goodies coming out of the Wok are still amazing.

In November 1978, the Wauers relocated to Lisle, IL. Laura was born in Hinsdale, IL  in 1979. During a brief trip back to Brussels, they learned that they were moving to Raleigh, NC. Southern hospitality didn’t live up to expectations, but Our Savior Lutheran Church was a great comfort. They attended adult bible study and Sue helped with confirmation classes at the church. This, along with being very active in the local swim club, made the 4-1/2 years go by quickly.

They returned to Lisle, IL again, and Sue was able to jump right back into the many committees at Trinity Lutheran, where they made many lifelong friendships. Eighteen months later they moved to Racine, WI. They enjoyed the great O&H Kringle, but it was a challenge to integrate with the community. They were then transferred to London, UK, so they thought. The day Sue arrived for house hunting, the assignment was changed to Paris, France. Sue learned the underground, the culture, and more French language. The pressure was great on Kathryn as she was entering her high school senior year; so, Dick and Sue decided to let her remain stateside. The American Women’s club and several trips to London helped the family get through this time apart.

The family returned to the states and lived in Naperville for a year before moving to Batavia, where they discovered Immanuel Lutheran Church and School. For 30 years, Dick and Sue hosted over 100 minor league baseball players in their home, and they are still in contact with many, including some major leaguers. Immanuel has meant very much to the Wauers: Kathy and Laura were married here.

Dick has blessed many while volunteering in different capacities at Immanuel such as Hart to Heart, the Batavia food pantry, the Board of Elders, and Feed My Starving Children. He serves regularly as a reader, usher, and worship assistant. Dick has also been chairman of the Spiritual Guidance Committee. Dick was asked by Pastor Kennaugh to serve as Immanuel’s first business manager in 2016, and he used his business skills to review many of the contractual agreements, restructure the budgeting process, and organize facility maintenance. However, the greatest impact Dick has had at Immanuel was when he put his arm around the shoulders of young men to support and encourage them as husbands and fathers. Several members of today’s Spiritual Guidance Committee attribute their growth in that role to Dick’s care and instruction.

Sue can always be found serving at Immanuel. She has led quilting and cooking lessons, been on the Altar Guild, served on a pastoral call committee, and invented Advent Teas. She is always ready to plan and help with events. During COVID she initiated a weekly teacher appreciation gathering for ILS that helped encourage the staff. Sue is the ultimate party planner, a gifted encourager, and a blessing to everyone she shares her smile with.  

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10.30.2022 Trunk-or-Treat

On Sunday afternoon, the day before Halloween, we hosted our annual community trunk-or-treat event in the school parking lot. Church and school families, along with many local neighbors, and friends from San Pablo came by to enjoy the festivities. Our trunk volunteers put a lot of time and effort into their creative decorations making this event a huge success and fun for everyone involved; some volunteers are already coming up with ideas for next year!

We had an excellent turnout of about 400+ trunk-or-treaters. Parents enjoyed browsing the trunks and chatting with friends and neighbors, while the kids were entertained with fun games, live animals, and LOTS of treats:) In addition to trunk decorations, our friendly volunteers helped hand out apple cider and pumpkin donuts and warm drinks to both parents and kids. After walking through the parking lot full of trunks, families were encouraged to submit their vote for the best decoration.

At the end of the day, votes were tallied to see who would win the competition for best trunk. This year's winner was preschool teacher Lisa Clark. Lisa filled her truck with live animals from her farm and set up a petting zoo station. The kids didn't care how long the line was, they eagerly waited for their turn to pet Mrs. Clark's live farm animals:)

Many thanks to all the volunteers that helped with and to the community members that attended this event, making it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

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09.25.22 Lori St.Vincent's Retirement

On Sunday, September 25, Immanuel celebrated the retirement of Lori St. Vincent after 27 years of service to the Immanuel Church and School communities.

Lori served in many administrative support roles over the years until she became Director of Communications around 2010, in which she developed quarterly magazines, monthly newsletters, and weekly News and Notes. She developed the ILCS websites and began our first social media marketing campaigns. Under her leadership ILCS adopted brand standards and developed our current logo. She was a tireless worker who strove to continue to hone her craft throughout her career. In 2019 Lori transitioned to role of Director of Community Connections, which helped ILCS stay connected to the community in meaningful ways throughout the challenging COVID years. She reestablished the Back-to-School Community Picnic and the Sauerkraut Shuffle, as well as starting the first Trunk-or-Treat at Immanuel. Lori has retired to live fully into her vocation as grandmother. We pray God’s richest blessings on her as she pour her heart and faith into those precious lives and give thanks and praise to God for her dedicated years of service!

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07.28.22 Annual Garage Sale

Well, 2022 Immanuel Annual garage sale is complete! We collected, sorted, displayed, priced wonderful donations from Immanuel and our community!  We then welcomed 100’s of wonderful people through Immanuel’s doors on Thursday and then Friday and again on Saturday! The line on Thursday to get into the sale went through the parking lot down to the pond.  All parking spots were taken!  People stood in line for quite a while (something we will do better next year with more volunteers) to check out.  We pray that those that walked through our doors left better because they visited us and saw lots of smiles and experienced kindness (as well as good deals!)  It was again a record year – clearing over $24,000! This event would not be possible without Immanuel church and school’s facility - from all the floor space to every available non-nailed down table; our faithful - year after year - volunteers; and community volunteers who give up their time for a great cause in serving others. This author KNOWS those that volunteer would agree that we are better for participating! We are also blessed to have partnered with Batavia schools who lend us tables as well as sharing with Chip In the newly acquired clothing racks (hope you like the hanging clothes). We had many new volunteers this year - including a special Godwink person that just showed up because she knew we could use some help...thank you Katie from Sugar Grove as well as other community volunteers that just know more hands would make things run smoother.  More connections to our community …freshman football team and their coach Mike Theriault who saved our backs during clean-up for 2 hours (which led to record clean up time)! Those 14 young men just showed up to help us out move boxes and put tables away!  Finally, our leftover treasures will bless many other organizations - Children’s Cancer Federation, Batavia Clothes Closet, Epilepsy Foundation, Rover Rescue, Batavia Friends of the Library, Chip In, My Daughter’s Dress and more! Thank you to everyone for volunteering!!!!  Mark your calendars…July 20-22, 2023.   We need you to help us out with the sale!   So..maybe a few stories to share – golf balls are for hockey practice too; great deal on ties when you wash your friend’s by accident; all grandmas need a spare high chair; we’ve got all the sports covered – even Packer fans; ‘thank you for having this sale as our church no longer has one since no one volunteers’ (heard that 4 times); ‘YES,  I got both beige and blue chairs’; 2 teenagers who came all 3 days and bought cook books every day; friendly neighbor who comes every year – proud of his 5 visits; wife excited to get her husband the new St. Patrick’s Day suitcoat; happy customers to get the rubber raft to go with their kayaks.    It’s now officially a wrap!  Thank you to our volunteers and customers. Cindy Rueffer and Chris Graham ~2022 Immanuel Garage sale co-chairs AND all our volunteers

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Back-to-School Worship and Community Picnic

This event was conceived several years ago as a way to celebrate all students with our local community. The goal of this event is to provide opportunities for Christian fellowship with our fellow Immanuel folks along with our friends and neighbors. This year’s picnic was different in that we changed the venue to Immanuel due to weather concerns. It made it more difficult to appeal to our neighbors, but it was a fun-filled afternoon for our Immanuel community.


Many volunteers signed up or just stepped up and made the event a complete success. Ryan Marino provided a delicious, homemade lunch of ribs, brats, hotdogs along with homemade baked beans, potato salad, and pasta salad. He also provided goodies for the kids, water, and juice boxes.


Our amazing contemporary worship leader and Sonic Sanctuary provided inspiring music during worship and literally rocked the house afterword playing Christian rock and secular tunes throughout the event. They are extremely talented and we are blessed to have them as part of our Immanuel family.


If you were one of the many, many volunteers who helped—thank you so very much. If you attended our event and enjoyed yourself—thank you for celebrating with us! - Lori St.Vincent

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LCMS National Youth Gathering 2022

Growing up in a smaller church, I never had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip or a youth gathering, so it was important to me that my kids take advantage of that opportunity when they were old enough. Last year, Jamieson went with Erik on the mission trip to South Dakota, so this year I took my turn going to the LCMS Youth Gathering in Houston. I had heard so many good things about past gatherings from folks at Immanuel, but honestly, as it got closer, this introvert was a little nervous. I’m more of a small-group, traditional worship person and Gatherings are big and energetic. I also carried with me no small amount of nerves about big crowds following the fourth of July events in Highland Park. So, I went because I thought I should, but I didn’t know what the experience would really be like for me. It was indeed a week with some challenges: very long drives and very hot weather were just the start of it. But, it was also a week with so much good. It was an opportunity to get to know our Immanuel youth better and learn what amazing young people they are, both in personality and in faith. There were inspirational sessions on current topics, engaging bible studies, and fun activities. The evening “Mass Events” at Minute Maid Park were even more loud and energetic than I expected, but they were also very moving. There is just nothing like hearing almost 20,000 young people singing “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” together. So, now that I’ve recovered from the sleep deprivation, I can honestly say I am so glad I got to share the Gathering with Anna, Erik and all our youth, and I’m looking forward to going again to New Orleans in 2025. - Christine Olsen

I’m going to be honest with you – when we left for the National Youth Gathering four weeks ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. Sure, I knew I would be in a van for 16 hours, and I knew everyone was obsessing over a deflated balloon who was our mascot, but I never knew what it was going to be like, no matter how many times people tried to explain it to me. And honestly, I don’t think I could fully explain it to you either. But I’ll try. In a nutshell, NYG is where thousands of Lutheran kids from all over America gather in one place to talk about Jesus. Pretty cool, right? You get to connect with the King of Kings, but you also get to connect with each other. I sat down in that van on the morning we left knowing most of the people we were driving with, but I wasn’t close with them. The day we came back, I stepped out of the van with my best friends. And those were the same people I left for Texas with! NYG was a place where I made deeper bonds and connections with the people I knew, and I got to meet new people too. The friends I made are incredible, and I still keep in touch with them; I know I will for the rest of my life. When we came back from NYG, I felt different. Changed. Transformed. (A good transformation, don’t worry). I had a new outlook on my life, such as how to handle my friendships and other relationships. I also had many new memories made with my new friends. But most of all, I had a different connection to our Lord, one where I was (and still am) closer to Him. Even though the NYG event is over, I still feel it going on in my life every day. I consistently talk to the friends I met. I listen to more Christian music when I drive. I wear this epic Martin Luther hoodie. And I see God’s hand everywhere - in nature, in people on the street; I see Him. He’s in all things. - Colleen Siemann

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VBS 2022

Back in June we had over 300 people involved in the ministry from the generous people who donated food supplies, to greeters, to kitchen staff, to crafters, to guides, to tech people, to storytellers, nursery staff, to office staff, music leaders, to dancers, to guide helpers, to parents who attended with their preschoolers, to all of our activity leaders, and to all the behind-the-scenes people...LOOK what it takes to run a VBS. It takes a community! 

We took over 3,000 food items to Batavia food pantry. It filled a truck and a van! We held a contest between the boys and the girls as to who could bring in the most food--the girls won! Everyone, boys and girls, got to throw water balloons at Pastor Chris because they lost the Food Drive competition. ( It would have been Mrs. Wert had the girls lost.) But let's just say, contest aside, Batavia Food Pantry won!

"An ya" Heart visited our VBS this year. The Bible verses we learned this year were written "On Many Hearts." She pushed her shopping cart around and handed out goodies to everyone who sought her out to say the verse of the day. I think many leaders also learned the verses as I heard them saying them with their groups during snack time.

Thank you to all the volunteers! This ministry is so intergenerational! You were all so awesome to give up a week of mornings to help share the Great News of Jesus to kids and parents! That is what VBS-Vacation Bible School is all about!

-Mary Wert, Director of Children's Ministries

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Last day of Sunday School May 15, 2022

Sunday School ended for the year with the kids doing a Servant Event! Kids, K-6th planted 3 small raised gardens next to the blue house in hopes that what God produces, we can give to the Batavia Food Pantry or make a salad for Hesed House. We planted zucchini, tomatoes and green beans and prayed over them. Next time you come to church, look how God is helping our garden grow!

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