The History Of Emanuel Lutheran Church
Part Three

In April of 1989, Emanuel's women hosted the Spring Convention, Maumee Valley Conference. One hundred fifty women, representing 32 congregations, attended this event.

On August 13, 1989, Jeff Bischoff, a son of the congregation, was ordained into the holy ministry at Emanuel and was called to serve at Zion Lutheran Church in Huron, Ohio.

Emanuel continues its support of missionaries. The Maurers, after 5 years of mission work in New Guinea, returned to the United States in 1989. The Byrums, after 7 years in Senegal, Africa, returned in 2000. Emanuel is currently contributing toward the support of the LeMond's in Hong Kong.

At the October 29, 1989 congregational meeting, church council recommended that Emanuel call a second pastor to further Christ's work at Emanuel. A vote was taken and the resolution to call a second pastor passed by a vote of 104-Yes, 20-No, and 1-Abstained.

At a special congregational meeting On August 26, 1990, the congregation decided to issue a call to Pastor Roger McQuistion by a vote of 125-Yes, 11-No, and 3 no-votes. That call was subsequently returned.

In November of 1990, the Men's Bell Choir travelled to Vienna for the Advent Sing. They were the first bell choir to ever take part in their Advent program.

At a special congregational meeting on February, 17, 1991, the congregation decided to call Pastor James Updegraff as Co-Pastor of Emanuel. Pastor Updegraff accepted the call and was installed on April 21, 1991. Pastor Updegraff, his wife Pat, and their 3 children moved into the Napoleon area in May of 1991.

In June of 1991, the congregation celebrated with Pastor Norman Ritterling his 35 years of service since his ordination into the holy ministry.

At the October 27, 1991 congregational meeting, Emanuel voted to undertake the restoration of its stained glass windows.

In both 1991 and 1992, our Men's Bell Choir was invited to perform at the White House Christmas Progam by President and Mrs. Barbara Bush.

In June of 1992, the three large windows on the west side, the balcony windows, and the rose window were removed by Botti Studios of Illlinois. They were repaired at a cost of $48,000 and were replaced in September 1992.

In November of 1992, Emanuel celebrated its 110th anniversary and took this occasion as a special rededication for the newly restored stained glass windows.

On February 25, 1993, Ron Schink died. Mr. Schink was the organist/music director at Emanuel for over 30 years and was the founder of the Men's Bell Choir in 1962.

After Ron Schink's death, Mrs. Pat Updegraff became our primary organist. To keep other organists in the area familiar with our organ and with the services at Emanuel, she invited a guest organist on the average of once a month. Pat also directed the Adult Choir and assisted in many other endeavors. The directing of the Adult and Catechism Bell Choirs was taken over by Hugh Schink and the Catechism Chime Choir was taken over by Bill Panning.

In August of 1993, the congregation observed Pastor Ritterling's 25th anniversary as pastor at Emanuel Lutheran Church.

In August 1994, Pastor Norman Ritterling announced that effective January 1, 1995, he would retire from the active ministry at Emanuel.

On January 22, 1995, a special celebration was held to honor and thank Pastor Ritterling for his many years of faithful service to the members of Emanuel Lutheran Church.

In March of 1995, the congregation celebrated with our Pastor Jim Updegraff, the 25th anniversary of his ordination into the holy ministry.

At the April 30, 1995 congregational meeting, the congregation voted to change Pastor Updegraff's call from Co-Pastor to Senior Pastor.

In the spring of 1995, a call was sent to, and accepted by, Patricia Bowsher of Lima to serve as a part time Associate in Minstry to assist Pastor Updegraff during the time that Emanuel is seeking a second pastor.

At the October 29, 1995 annual congregational meeting, Emanuel voted to call Pastor Joy Miller as Associate Pastor of Emanuel Lutheran Church. Pastor Miller accepted that call and was installed on January 21, 1996.

After serving faithfully as interim minister at Emanuel from February 1995 to January 1996, Patricia Bowsher said her farewells at a special dinner in her honor.

During the installation service for Pastor Joy Miller on January 21, 1996, word was received that Pat Bowsher had collapsed that morning at her home in Lima and she died later during the day.

The supplemental hymnal, "With One Voice" was introduced at Emanuel in 1996.

The Lutheran Home at Napoleon asked if they could make a presentation to our congregation on a proposed assisted living quarters, an addition to the Lutheran Home. A special meeting was called for May 5, 1996 and Mel Zehnder presented their plans for this addition. By recommendation of church council, the congregation voted to contribute $5,000 over a three year period.

In 1998, to create a larger opening at the back door, double doors were installed. A time lock was also added so the door would automatically lock at the same time every day. At that same time, new stairway lighting was added.

On March 8, 1998, at a special congregational meeting, the congregation voted "that the congregation proceed with the proposed organ/sanctuary renovation project by authorizing church council to expend monies from the existing organ fund for the preparation of final plans and cost estimates for presentation to the congregation and further request council to initiate a fund raising campaign to determine the financial commitment of proceeding with the project." Estimated costs of the project at that time were around $350,000 to $400,000.

Also in 1998, Emanuel's Prayer Chain was formed, we added an inspirational bibly study led by Deb Weirauch and the Fit For The King exercise classes began with Judi Fortier as our instructor.

In July of 1999, a new computer was purchased for the church office and a complete new phone system was installed. Toward the end of that year, the women's restroom was spruced up by putting in new stalls and painting the walls. A new roof was put on the elevator building.

In February of 2000, Emanuel celebrated with Pastor Updegraff his 30th year in the ministry.

At the October 29, 2000 congregational meeting, the congregation moved "that the officers of Emanuel Lutheran Church of Napoleon, Ohio, Inc., be, and they hereby are, authorized to borrow upon such terms as they may deem proper such sum of money as may be necessary to pay the cost of the organ and building project, to execute such promissory notes and other documents that may be necessary to accomplish same, to mortgage the church property as may be necessary to serve the payments of any such loan, and to execute all instruments that may be required by any lender for such purpose." The total estimate of the project was now at $736,534.00.

After the regular congregational meeting on October 29, 2000, members of Emanuel started dismantling the sanctuary of our church to get it ready for the renovation. All the woodwork was removed and all pews taken up and moved to a building on North Scott Street for refinishing. Arrangements were made to conduct services in the basement of the church until the renovation was completed.

On Easter Sunday, April 15, 2001, the congregation held their first services in the newly renovated sanctuary.

Pastor Joy Miller left Emanuel to accept a call to Trinity Lutheran Church, Moulton, Ohio. Emanuel congregation held a farewell dinner for her on May 27, 2001. She had served Emanuel almost 5 1/2 years as associate pastor.

In May of 2001, a call committee was appointed to select and recommend a second pastor for Emanuel.

In May of 2001, the WELCA women hosted a Daughter Luncheon.

In July of 2001, members took an exciting canoe trip from Independence Dam to Napoleon.

Two youth choirs were formed in 2001 with Peg Snyder directing the Youth Choir (Grades 1-5) and Barb Hoffman directing the High School "Living Spirit" choir.

The Health Ministry started a "library" of health related books and information rack in 2001.

The Paschal Candle was our first oil filled candle purchased in 2001.

In 2001, white grape juice as well as wine became available during the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

On September 15, 2001, a Landscape work day was held where volunteers from the church landscaped the area on the east side of the church and educational unit. This is the area where the ground had been torn up to install the new drainage system for the church and educational unit.

On September 30, 2001 the congregation held its organ dedication service with Robert Hobby as our guest organist.

In October of 2001, Pastor Robert Mix, a member of Emanuel, was called to serve as interim pastor, assisting Pastor Updegraff during the vacancy. Pastor Mix started his ministry with Emanuel congregation on October 1, 2001 and concluded his service during July of 2002.

In the year 2001, Emanuel developed its own website. This website is maintained by a website committee which reports to the Congregational Life Board. The website contains information about our church, our newsletter, our history, and many photographs of our activities. Our web address is:

Jim Stadtlander of Mantua, Ohio, had been commissioned to carve the Risen Christ and the Means of Grace wood carvings for the archways at the front of the newly renovated sanctuary. The Risen Christ carving was delivered in time for our Easter Service on March 31, 2002 but the Means of Grace carvings were not delivered until July 27, 2002. The Means of Grace carvings were dedicated on Reformation Day, October 27, 2002.

Pastor Linda Rahe was installed as an associate minister on July 22, 2002. She resigned in May of 2003 and later accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Findlay, Ohio.

In June of 2002, our sponsored missionary, Pastor John LeMond from Hong Kong preached at both services, made a special presentation to the Sunday School children and was our guest at a potluck following the services.

In 2002, the Health Ministry Committee hosted a day trip to Frankenmuth, MI.

In 2002, Congregational Life Board published a tri-fold brochure outlining various programs at Emanuel Lutheran Church.

Pastor James E. Updegraff resigned his ministry at Emanuel in May of 2003 and then retired from the ministry later that year. During the time that Emanuel was without a pastor, substitute pastors were made available by the synod.

In 2003, Health Ministry Committee hosted "Active Parenting" classes.

In August of 2003, twelve youth and 4 advisors attended the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Atlanta.

During the summer of 2003, a project was completed to landscape the area around the front of the church and the bulletin board sign.

On September 1, 2003, Pastor Alan Schwochow began serving Emanuel as interim pastor. Pastor Alan completed his ministry on November 14, 2004 after having served Emanual for 1 year, 2 months, and 14 days. A farewell potluck was held for Pastor Alan on November 10, 2004.

In November of 2003, many members of Emanuel Lutheran Church helped with Napoleon's 1st Community Thanksgiving Day dinner.

In April of 2004, "Sharing Our Gifts" seminar was led by Pastor Alan Schwochow. This seminar provided an opportunity for us to learn more about the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to each of us through our baptism into Christ and how these gifts are to be used more fully.

In May of 2004, "Simply Giving," a direct deposit form of giving to Emanuel was started.

During the summer of 2004, all the old shrubs were removed from the west side of the west side of the church and new drainage for the downspouts was put in so the water will run into the storm sewer on Scott Street. After the drainage project had been completed, the entire west side was landscaped by building a wall with landscape blocks and flowers and perrenials were planted in the raised portion of the bed. This work was all done by volunteers from the congregation.

At a special congregational meeting on September 26, 2004, the congregation voted to extend a call to Pastor James L. Castello who was currently serving a two point parish near Arcanum, Ohio. Pastor Castello accepted the call and was installed as pastor of Emanuel on November 28, 2004.

At that same special congregational meeting on September 26, 2004, the congregation voted to create a position of Worship/Music Coordinator/Organist. Emanuel had been without a permanant organist since May of 2003.

Effective February 1, 2005, Angela Tonjes began her duties as our Organist/Music & Worship coordinator. She started two new musical groups, The Cherub Choir and the Rainbow Ringers, for children ages 6 years and up.

At a special congregational meeting on June 12, 2005, the congregation voted to replace the existing slate roof on the church and educational unit with a copper roof at a cost of $185,000. To fund this project, $100,000 was to come from the Martha Gebers estate and the rest was to be funded by an $85,000 loan. The roof was replaced during the summer of 2005 and the project was completed just before winter.

In 2005, Congregational Life board established a monthly "Giving/Donation Center" outreach ministry to help charitable organizations fulfill their wish lists.

In October of 2005, Emanuel assisted two families under the "Operation Christmas Care" program.

In November of 2005, the first annual Henry County CROP Walk took place under the leadership of Carol Castello. Proceeds support the Henry County Christmas Cheer and 6 food pantries in the county as well as World Hunger Relief.

In January of 2006, "God's Praying People Club" was formed. This kids prayer chain includes Sunday School children in grades 1- 5 and grade 8. The mission is "Linking our hearts to God through Prayer."

In January 2006, cookbooks were compiled and sold. Delicious recipes were submitted by congregational members.

In July of 2006, five youth and two advisors attended the ELCA National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, TX.

In July of 2006, our supported missionary, Pastor John LeMond from Hong Kong, led the Thursday evening worship service. The service was followed by an ice cream social and fellowship.

Go To Part Four Of Our History