The History Of Emanuel Lutheran Church
In October 1960, the worship schedule was changed from one to two services. The first service to be held at 8:00 a.m., the second at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday School to be held at 9:15 a.m.
Intern Robert Hartenfeld assisted in 1960, and intern Paul Bockelman served in 1961.
In June of 1961, the congregation purchased the Spangler property on Clinton Street., where the Egbert family had been residing for some time. The old parsonage on Scott Street was ultimately sold for $1.00 and removed from the property in 1964.
In 1962 a Boy's Bell Choir was formed by Music Director, Ronald Schink. Since its origination it has played for many area events, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Christmas at the White House, and they have taken many tours to carry their ministry. Those tours have taken them through 46 states of the United States, Hawaii, France, England, and Germany.
A 1963 survey showed Emanuel Lutheran Church to be the third largest congregation in Napoleon with the third largest Sunday School enrollment, and the second largest Sunday School attendance.
In October 1964, the worship schedule was again changed. There was simultaneous worship service and Sunday School at 8:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. However, in October 1965, the former schedule was again adopted.
Pastor Waldo Egbert passed from this life quite suddenly on Tuesday, May 7, 1968 at 4:00 pm. Funeral services were held at Emanuel Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 11, a t 2:00 pm. The preacher was Pastor Robert L. Wietelmann, President, Michigan District of the A.L.C. Officiants were Rev. Robert Leppien, Chairman, Northwest Ohio Conference, Michigan District and Rev. Edgar G. Robison, Pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Napoleon, Township. Burial was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio with Rev, James Fox, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Wauseon, Ohio Officiating.
Mr. Robert Laughlin, a seminary student, served Emanuel during the summer while the pastorate was vacant.
Rev. William Winzeler, a son of the congregation, was ordained at
Emanuel Lutheran Church on June 30, 1968.
A call was sent to Pastor Norman W. Ritterling, which he accepted and he was installed in August of 1968.
In 1970, some members started proceedings for Emanuel to sponsor a missionary. In August of 1970, Mrs. Vivian Wells was adopted while she was serving in the Madagascar mission.
Mr. John Wheelock interned at Emanuel Lutheran Church for the 1971-72 year. Mr. Ernest Elzey interned at Emanual Lutheran Church for the 1972-73 year.
In February of 1972, Emanuel voted to extend our credit to Faith Lutheran Church, Utica, Michigan, a mission congregation, to the extent of $45,000.00 for a period of 15 years. This was to assist them in constructing a new educational building. In June of 1972, the Dave Kryder family, formerly of this congregation, accepted a special call of the Lord and moved to Ecuador to serve in the mission field. Emanuel responded and supported the Kryders both financially and spiritually, and purchased a used printing press to be used by the mission. The Kryders served there for approximately two years.
In September of 1972, a parking lot was constructed at the rear of the church building. C.F. Gerken & Sons, Co. constructed the lot at a cost of $6,000.00, including the six-foot high fence along Shelby Street.
In April 1973 the congregation voted to loan $6,000.00 to the Lutheran Orphans and Old Folks Home in Toledo. Emanuel had another loan to the L.O.O.F. in the amount of $30,000.00. Both loans were at five and one half percent interest and the monies were taken out of our Building Fund.
The Internship Committee reported that Emanuel would not have an intern pastor for 1974-75; therefore in August of 1973 the Church Council presented for approval a job description for a Director of Christian Education.
In February 1974 the Parish Education Committee asked for approval to extend a call to Duane Miller from Cincinnati, Ohio, as Director of Christian Education. He accepted the call and was installed in July of 1974. He served in that position until his resignation in 1978, at which time he accepted a call to Williamsburg, Iowa.
Rev. Michael Rothgery, a son of the congregation, was ordained at Emanuel on June 8, 1975 by Pastors Norman Ritterling, Pastor Theodore Dockter, and Pastor C. A. Steinert. His first call was to Golden Valley, North Dakota.
Under the guidance of Duane Miller a Christian Nursery School program was initiated at Emanuel in 1975. The school is open to the community and is self supporting. Originally enrollment was confined to four year old children, but in 1979 it was expanded to include children at the age of three.
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him". Ephesians 1:17. God's people of Emanuel were offered many opportunities to study God's Word.
The Bethel Series, which was an in-depth Bible Study, had for its theme, "Blessed to be a Blessing". This series was presented at Emanuel starting in 1973. Numerous members took advantage of this program. We, who had been so richly blessed, learned how we could be a blessing to others.
The Abdon Course was first taught at Emanuel in 1978. This course helped to gain a systemized approach to Holy Scriptures. Again, many members took advantage of this adult study course.
Emanuel Lutheran Church was the recipient of a $25,000.00 bequest from the Ferdinand Oberhaus estate, and this gift was used in 1978 to remodel the kitchen facilities and to make other general repairs.
The Lutheran Book of Worship (The Green Book) was introduced at Emanuel in 1979. It replaced the Service Book & Hymnal (The Red Book) which had been used since 1960.
At the January 1980 congregational meeting, it was voted to donate $7,500 to the Lutheran Orphan's & Old Folks Home for a complex to be built in Napoleon. This complex, a 100 bed facility for the elderly, was to be built on South Perry Street in Napoleon.
The chapel organ was sold in March of 1980.
At the October 1980 congregational meeting, it was voted to budget $5,000 for L.O.O.F. Home at Napoleon.
Groundbreaking for the new Lutheran Home at Napoleon was held in December, 1983. On April 28, 1985, the Lutheran Home had their dedication service.
In June of 1981, Emanuel celebrated with our pastor, Norman Ritterling, the 25th anniversary of his ordination.
At the January 1982 congregational meeting, the congregation voted to have an elevator installed. The Mel Lanzer Company installed the unit at a cost of $30,124 and in May this elevator was dedicated.
On August 1, 1982, at a special congregational meeting, approval was given to replace the old conversion furnace in the church with three new gas furnaces from Standard Heating and Plumbing at a low bid of $4,228. The furnaces were installed and operational in October of that same year.
Emanuel Lutheran Church celebrated its Centennial in 1982. This special event was observed throughout the year with 7 special Sunday services and dinners. Confirmation class reunions were celebrated on 2 separate Sundays; prior to 1956, and 1956 to 1982. Special offerings were received which were used to paint and decorate the nave and chancel of the church building.
At the August 1983 congregational meeting, a renovation project was approved by the congregation. The project called for painting the ceilings and walls, redesigning the coves on both sides of the chancel, and the addition of paneling and vinyl wallcovering in the chancel. The hardwood floors were also sanded, sealed and varnished. The congregation gathered in the basement for services while this work was being completed and on Sunday, October 30th, a rededication service was held.
During April, 1985, Emanuel Lutheran hosted a meeting of the Maumee Valley Conference churches to discuss the formation of a new Lutheran Church. This new Lutheran Church to be formed by merging the American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church of America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Church. All congregations that would be effected by this merger would have the opportunity to decide if they want this merger to take place.
In 1986 the pastor's office was relocated to the south east corner of the educational unit. The secretary's office was then rearranged and redecorated. Also, a new office phone system was installed and put into use. Parking lot gates were also made and installed.
In May of 1986, new pew cushions were ordered with approximately $7,500 Building Fund monies being used for this improvement.
In 1987, church council approved for women to assist in serving Holy Communion.
In 1987, a new electronic sound system was installed at a cost of $6,500. A new copy machine was purchased for the church office. Also, the women of Emanuel purchased a new Advent wreath for the church.
On March 8,1987, Emanuel called a special meeting to determine, by ballot vote, whether or not Emanuel favors the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Majority vote did not favor the formation of this new church. The vote was 116 - No and - 93 yes.
January,1988, the new Evangelical Lutheran Chuch in America was formed, and since no action to withdraw was taken by Emanuel, it automatically became a part of the ELCA.