Our Former and Current Pastors

Pastor Louis Damman

1882 - 1898

Pastor Louis Damman, while serving St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hanover Settlement first organized the Lutheran Group in Napoleon, Ohio which became known as Emanuel Lutheran Church. That organizational meeting took place on July 9th, 1882. Pastor Damman became their first pastor and served both congregations at the same time. He submitted his resignation on January 8th, 1898, after serving for 16 years.

Pastor W. P. Wuebben
1898 - 1911

Upon the resignation of Pastor Damman, the congregation called Pastor W. P. Wuebben and he served the Emanuel Parish for the next 13 years.

Pastor George Haas
1911 - 1919

In 1911 the congregation called Pastor George Haas and he served both the Hanover Settlement and Emanuel Parishes as a combined parish for the next 8 years. Pastor Haas resigned from Emanuel in 1919, but continued to serve the Hanover Settlement congregation until 1937.

Pastor R. A. Born
1919 - 1934

Pastor Born accepted the call in 1919 and served the congregation until July 1, 1934 when he resigned. He had served the congregation about 15 years.

Pastor Bruno Brueckner
1934 - 1935

Pastor Bruno Brueckner was installed on December 16, 1934. He served until October 27, 1935 at which time he resigned and went to Capac, Michigan.

Pastor E. R. Moser
1936 - 1960

Pastor Moser, of Steele, North Dakota, was installed on August 2, 1936. He served the congregation until August 1959 to accept a position of Superintendent at the Filling Memorial Home of Mercy in Napoleon, Ohio.

Pastor Waldo R. Egbert
1960 - 1968

Pastor Waldo Egbert was installed as pastor on January 10, 1960. He served the congregation until his death on May 7, 1968. Funeral services were conducted on Saturday, May 11, 1968 with Rev. Robert L. Wietelmann, President, Michigan District of the ALC delivering the sermon. Pastor Robert Leppien, Chairman, Northwest Ohio Conference, Michigan District and Rev. Edgar G. Robison, Pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Napoleon Township were the officiants. Burial service was conducted by Rev. James Fox, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Wauseon at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

Due to the sudden unexpected vacancy in our congregation created by the death of Pastor Egbert, Mr. Robert Laughlin, a seminary student, served our congregation during the summer of 1968.

Pastor Norman Ritterling
1968 - 1994

Pastor Ritterling was installed in August of 1968 and served our congregation for 26 years, retiring on December 31, 1994.

During the time that Pastor Ritterling was our pastor, we had two interns who each served our congregation for one year.

Mr. John Wheelock - 1971-72

Mr. Ernest Elzey - 1972-73

Duane Miller
1974 - 1978

In 1974, the congregation decided to give up the internship program and called Mr. Duane Miller to serve as Christian Education Director. Mr. Miller served from 1974 to 1978. Mr. Miller was instrumental in beginning Emanuel's Good News Pre-School.

Pastor James E. Updegraff
1991 - 2003

At a special congregational meeting on February 17, 1991, the congregation voted to extend a call to Pastor James E. Updegraff to serve our congregation as a co-pastor. Pastor Updegraff accepted the call and was installed on April 21, 1991. When a call was extended to Pastor Joy Miller to become an associate minister, a call was also extended to Pastor Updegraff to become the Senior Pastor. Pastor Jim resigned in May of 2003 and retired from the ministry later that year.

Pat Bowsher

During the vacancy created by the retirement of Pastor Ritterling, Pat Bowsher, a lay minister, began serving as an interim pastor on February 22, 1994, to assist Pastor Jim Updegraff with the pastoral duties. After a call had been accepted by Pastor Joy Miller to serve as our associate pastor, the congregation bade their farewell to Pat Bowsher on January 7, 1996. On January 21, 1996, during the installation service of Pastor Joy Miller, word was received that Pat Bowsher had collapsed and died that morning in her home.

Pastor Joy Miller

Pastor Joy Miller was installed as associate pastor of Emanuel on January 21, 1996. She accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Moulton, Ohio and the congregation held a farewell dinner for her on Sunday, May 27, 2001. She had served our congregation almost 5 1/2 years.

Pastor Robert F. Mix
2001 - 2002

Until such a time when we could call an associate minster to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Pastor Joy Miller, the church council voted to ask Pastor Bob Mix to assist Pastor Updegraff in the interim. Pastor Bob started his ministry with our congregation on October 1, 2001 and concluded his service in July 2002.

Pastor Linda Rahe
2002 - 2003

Pastor Linda Rahe began her service with Emanuel on July 22, 2002. Pastor Linda resigned in May of 2003 and later accepted a call to a Trinity Lutheran Curch in Findlay, Ohio.

Pastor Alan Schwochow
2003 - 2004

Pastor Alan Schwochow began his interim ministry at Emanuel on September 1, 2003. Pastor Alan completed his ministry when Pastor James Castello was called. He conducted his last service at Emanuel on November 14, 2004 after serving Emanuel 1 year, 2 months and 14 days.

Pastor James L. Castello
2004 - 2018

Pastor James Castello was installed on November 28, 2004. He began his ministry with Emanuel when he preached his first sermon on Thanksgiving Eve in 2004 until his retirement in June 2018.