Sanctuary before renovations

Our Newly Renovated Sanctuary

A pipe organ was installed at Emanuel Lutheran Church in 1921 at a cost of $3500. Eighty years later, the pipework begins a new era of leading our congregation!

There were only a few changes during those 80 years. After the educational wing was added in the 1950's, a new console was built and placed in the balcony.

During the 1980's, Ron Schink, organist and music director, realized that our pipe organ was in need of major repairs. At that time Muller Pipe Organ had made a proposal to repair/replace windchests as well as to revoice the pipework and add additional ranks. Also at that time, two other organ builders evaluated the condition of the organ and confirmed the deteriorating condition of the leathers and other parts.

In March of 1995, the Worship Board appointed a committee to study our pipe organ. After years of meetings and research, which included the realization that our sanctuary needed more than an organ renovation, plans were presented to the congregation and approved.

After construction drawings were completed, bids were made, and The Mel Lanzer Company was approved as the general contractor for the project. On Reformation Sunday 2000, volunteers from the congregation started dismantling the sanctuary and we headed to the basement for six months of worship.

Construction was watched closely by Building Committee chairman, Kevin Sonnenberg and by Jeff Eickhoff who had worked for months on the drawings. On Easter Sunday, we returned with joy to the renovated sanctuary.

Muller Pipe Organ worked in their shop for many months perfecting plans, cleaning pipes, orderering parts, building chests, and wiring more parts than anyone can count! Installation began at the church in June and although progress seemed slow, it was steady and well done! Excitement began when the finished console was installed. Without the console (the part with the keyboards), no music can be played. The woodwork on the exterior of that console has been refinished and the insides have been totally replaced with new solid state circuitry.

On Easter Sunday, April 15, 2001, the congregation moved back into the newly renovated sanctuary for services. The organ had not been finished but it was a joyous occasion to be back upstairs for worship.

On Sunday, July 29, 2001 the congregation joyously worshiped with the renovated organ for the first time! On Sunday, September 30, 2001 at 4:00 p.m. Robert Hobby, Director of Music at Trinity English Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, was our guest organist for a combination recital and hymn festival as we rededicated our renovated organ.

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.

Thanks to many for a lot of long hours of planning and work that was needed to bring this project to completion!