125th Anniversary

It is with joy and celebration on the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of Immanuel Lutheran Church, do we announce and invite you to celebrate with us. We would love to have you join us in praising God for all that He has done and is going to do at Immanuel! Our celebrations are planned around Covid restrictions, but we are hopeful that through this year, God will heal our land of this virus and we may have some more normalcy in our future events.

Did you know?

    • In 1911, the cornerstone for Immanuel Lutheran School was laid and the school was dedicated on the corner of Griffin and Fairchild. The cost was just $12,938.00.
    • In 1958, ground was broken for a new Education Center on North Bowman Avenue. At the time, it was about the only building in the area, besides farms.
    • The same shovel was used in breaking ground for the Education Center and for the new church. It can be seen in the trophy case in the school lobby.
    • The cost for the new Education Center was a little over $400,000.00
    • The mortgage was burned for the Education Center in 1969.
    • The butcher block table in our present school kitchen came from the old school on Fairchild Street.
    • Our school gym is actually named Berthold Hall. There is a plaque on the wall.
    • Our Baptistry Window was designed by Bernard Greunke of the Conrad Schmitt Studios, New Berlin, Wisconsin. The artist based the window design on the event of the baptism of our Lord.
    • The flow of movement in the window is from top to bottom, focusing on the lower central panel where the baptismal font is located.
    • The voice and power of God is symbolized by the sunburst near the top of the window. The descending dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is seen in the central window panel. Since Baptism is a Sacrament of water and the Word of God, the window portrays moving waters receiving the flow of God’s grace and power.
    • The fish forms, reminding us that baptism is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are an ancient confessional symbol of Christendom. The Greek word for fish forms an acrostic of the phrase “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Savior.” In baptism, we are made confessors of Him who was baptized in the waters of the Jordan.
    • The Baptistry Window is the gift of Dr. Walter W. Dalitsch, Jr. and his family in memory of his parents, Dr. Walter W. and Selma Erdmann Dalitsch.
    • The baptismal font was gifted in memory of Tracy Bragg by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Bragg, schoolmates, and friends.
    • The pulpit in our church is a memorial to Rev. Gerhard Leverenz, Chaplain at the VA, and a member of the Immanuel Building Committee. He was tragically killed on May 13, 1970 while serving as the Protestant Chaplain at the VA.
    • On October 4, 1896, it was resolved that the seating arrangement in the church be the same as in the city church. i.e., the children in the front on the left side; the men on the left side and in the choir; the remaining places for the women. On November 16, 1913, it was resolved that everyone is free to sit wherever they wish in the church.
    • In 1966, the Joint Services Committee of Immanuel and Trinity began sponsoring Holy Week midday services at the Palace Theater. The half hour services were open to the public, with a special invitation to those who worked downtown. Immanuel's school children were bussed to the services as well. This same committee also sponsored the Easter Sunrise Services that began in 1954.
    • On June 15, 1958, 16 items were sealed in a copper box and placed in the cornerstone of the new Parish Education Center. The time capsule contains: a Bible, Luther's Small Catechism, a ballot cast on April 24, 1955 when the voters' assembly decided to build by a vote of 84 to 12 that has "We build for Christ" written on it (this later became the slogan of the building program), the Lutheran Witness dated June 1958, Commercial News dated June 3, 1958, a copy of Immanuel's May 1958 Newsletter, a church bulletin dated June 1, 1958, a 1956-1957 yearbook, a list of building committee members, a list of the 1958 church council members, a list of the called and contracted servants of 1958, one building fund envelope, 1958 Immanuel Lutheran School handbook, 1956 building fund brochure, a copy of Immanuel's constitution, and a brick from the old school on East Fairchild street.
    • At the time of the Cornerstone Laying Ceremonies, Immanuel's congregation numbered 1,314 souls and 888 Communicant members.
    • In 1872, 5 acres of land was purchased by Trinity Lutheran Church for $625.00.
    • In November 1872, 2 acres (hillside) were sold back to the original seller for $125.00
    • On October 11, 1937, 3 more acres were purchased from William and Edna Syrcle.
    • In 1945, paperwork was filed stating that the cemetery is now jointly owned by Trinity and Immanuel congregations.
    • In April of 2002, the west parcel, 3.25 acres, was purchased for $14,000 from the estate of Margery Miller. 
    • The shelter was erected in 2012 by Tom Burmeister in memory of his parents. At that time, the large Bible and concrete slab were already there.
    • the oldest stones date back for the 1870's and are in German script.
    • Both Immanuel and Trinity congregations contribute to the upkeep of the cemetery.
    • Our stained glass windows are not just for decoration. They symbolize Biblical scenes and parts of our Christian life.
    • The focal point of our sanctuary is the tall chancel window up front that represents the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The lamb represents Christ. The gold cup represents the Last Supper. The wheat represents the body of Christ, and the grapes near the bottom represent the blood of Christ.
    • The Covenant of Noah: Noah’s Ark and Rainbow from Genesis 12:9-16 is shown reminding us of God’s providence to Noah of the Ark to ride out the flood and the rainbow of God’s promise not to flood the earth again.
    • The Covenant of Abraham: “Your Descendants Shall be as Stars” from Genesis 15:4-5 reminds us of God’s promise to Abraham of an enduring family. Also shown is the knife of covenant making’ and the cross and crown of Jesus, his greatest Son.
    • The Call of Moses: “The Burning Bush” from Exodus 3:5-9 is shown reminding is of the call of Moses out of a burning bush to go for God and liberate His people from slavery in Egypt.
    • The Covenant of Israel: “The Pillar of Fire” from Exodus 13:20-22 is shown representing God’s care and promise to the Israelites that He would be their God and they would be His people.
    • The Nativity of Jesus: “The Manger” from Luke 2 is shown with the Star of Bethlehem pointing us to the Christ Child. Over the manger is the Chi-Rho, Jesus’ monogram in Greek.
    • The Crucifixion of Jesus: “The Cross” is shown with the three nails that fastened Jesus to the cross on which He died for the sins of us all.
    • The Resurrection of Jesus: “The Empty Tomb” is shown with Jesus’ victory banner flying in the background. We are reminded that Jesus triumphed over all our enemies and the last to be defeated was death.
    • Pentecost: “The Dove” form Acts 2:1-3 is shown descending to give the followers of Jesus gifts represented by tongues of flame.
    • Baptism: The triangle represents the Holy Trinity in whose name we are baptized while the shell, drops of water, and fish represent the water of Baptism.
    • Christian Education: This window features the lamp of learning and the open book of the Bible that proclaims God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
    • Christian Marriage: The interlocking gold rings over a stylized cross symbolizes marriage in Christ who blesses marriage as He did when He attended the wedding at Cana in John 2.
    • Eternal Hope: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelations 2:10. Christ gives us the victory and Crown of Life in Heaven where all the saints will shine like the stars. Daniel 12:3.

    1927 - Immanuel Lutheran School's float in Danville's Centennial parade. Pastor Berthold is standing at the driver's window with Al Dettman next to him in a paper hat. Arthur Seils, and ILS teacher, is below them wearing glasses. Notice the dirt roads, hard rubber tires, and the Elliott Lumber sign under the float!

    A Group of men in front of the old church. The gentleman on the cart is grading the road.

    Throughout the year, we will share memories from current or former members. If you would like to submit a memory, please email it to ilcd.churchsec@gmailcom or mail it to the church office. thank you!


    From Diana Pratt

    In 1959, Kindergarten was optional and only half day. My parents were undecided as to whether I would go to Kindergarten until Pastor Bartz paid a personal visit to our home to say that I should attend at the new Educational Center on Bowman, and so it was! My Kindergarten class was taught by Zora Drews. My first grade was taught by Ruth Ranzenberger. We learned Spanish, which I still remember today. Teaching second grade was Frances Drews and third grade was Ruth Wendling (Roderick), who was also our cheerleading coach. Fourth grade was taught by Paul Puckett and 5th and 6th grade by Ted Meyer. He was the model to me in becoming a teacher. Clarence Goldenstern was my 7th and 8th grade teacher. He was also the principal, so we were sometimes left alone while he did principal duties. His office was attached to the classroom, so he could watch us through the window. There were 36 students in that classroom, in tank top desks. Mr. Goldenstern has a pretty good aim, so if you had the desk top up, talking behind it, a chalkboard eraser just might hit it. Our 8th grade examination and Confirmation took place on the stage in the gym before the new church was built.

    From Carol Johnston

    The class of 1951 (5 girls, 4 boys) of Immanuel Lutheran School met in a basement room of the school in the morning for Confirmation instruction. Most classes were taught by Pastor Theodore Krause, assistant pastor to Pastor Berthold who would sometimes teach class. Before our Confirmation on March 18, 1951, we were given an oral examination before the congregation on Luther’s Small Catechism. We had to be able to recite the Ten Commandments, the three articles of the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer with the petitions, and Bible passages to support the questions we were asked. I slept with my Catechism under my pillow the night before hoping my brain would absorb the material while I was sleeping.

    From Millie (Burgdorf) Burmeister

    “I taught at Immanuel Lutheran School from 1951 to 1956 with Mr. Harms as my principal. There were about 42 students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Another teacher was added in my last year and then I only taught 3rd and 4th grades. I lived with the Wahlfeldts and did not have a car, so I walked to school each day. I would move back home to Elmwood Park in the summers and work at Petersen’s Ice Cream to earn money. I am still in contact with some of my students via Facebook. I met my husband, Albert Burmeister, while teaching at Immanuel.”

    From Doris Krueger

    “One Sunday morning, shortly after my husband accepted the Call to Immanuel, I was talking to our oldest member, Millie Rick, after church. She had recently turned 98. I asked her how it felt to be that old. She said, “Fine, and I’m ready to go to heaven anytime. I just hope the good Lord isn’t in a hurry.” I love her comment and tell people about it when discussions turn to old age or dying. She made the best lemon cream pies!”

    From Pastor Krueger

    “This memory involves Howard Koehn who owned a Dodge dealership. He was on the building committee for the new church and we would travel to see churches that might inspire the committee. One evening on the road he was driving his Chrysler and I was in the front passenger seat. On chance, I glanced at him and saw that his eyes were closed, driving asleep! I nudged him and called out to awaken him. A tragedy was avoided!”

    From Marian Heideman (niece of Pastor Berthold)

    Pastor Ernest Berthold was “Uncle Ernest” to our family, as he was my grandmother’s brother, and so to all the family he was known as Uncle Ernest. He was a very loving and kind person, but also quite strict. Mom & Dad would pick up “Uncle Ernst” and Aunt Emily (Mrs. Berthold) on Sundays for an afternoon of togetherness or perhaps for a family baptism, as he handled all the family baptisms. Our plans were for Uncle Ernst to handle our wedding when Marion came home from the service, however that did not happen due to his accident on Fairchild Street. He was known all over Danville, especially the East end as he walked everywhere he wanted to go for parish visits, etc.

    From Lori Quick Warburton

    I will always remember Pastor Krueger. He was always there in many phases of my life, from Religion class, confirmation, he officiated my wedding and baptized my daughter. He had a good sense of humor and I felt that he led me to Christ. Pastor Heidle baptized my grand-daughter and son-in-law and also had a memorial for my husband. He is very caring, understanding, and a good listener. The church has been blessed with Pastor Callahan through these trying times. I enjoy his sermons very much. These three pastors have been a blessing in my life and will always remain in my heart.

    From Barb Garner

    One of my special memories involves the hundreds of beautiful white doves that were suspended in the sanctuary. The doves floated above us as we celebrated Pentecost. They were also inspirational as viewed from the balcony. They were left on display beyond the actual service they had been designed for because they were so striking.

    From Mrs. Kathleen Wakeley

    We transferred to Immanuel from Trinity back in the 1960’s when our eldest child, Mark, was ready for Kindergarten. We had bought a house in Holiday Hills and so it made sense to transfer so he could walk to school. Our transition was eased along by the kindness of Shirley Kuhn who was a Sunday School teacher at that time. When we took out children to Sunday School she invited me to come to the Rebecca Circle meeting of the Women’s Guild. They held their meetings in the school cafeteria. There was only the school at the Bowman location at that time. Church services were still held on Fairchild Street where the original church and school were located. The Women’s Guild has several circles at that time and the Rebecca Group was for the young women. I believe the Altar Guild was another circle. The LWML met quarterly. Today it is one group. The school in those following years had close to 200 students at one time. If you belonged to the church, you did not have to pay tuition but were expected to pay for the school with your church donations. Many students lived in the Holiday Hills subdivision. At one point we started worship services in the gym of the school as well as the church on Fairchild Street. This involved a lot of extra work each week. The floor was covered with plastic mats and folding chairs had to be set up and taken down. The altar and the organ was on the stage. The bleachers were pulled out for extra seating.

    From Kurt Thornsbrough

    When I started to attend Immanuel, church was in the gym. Later as an Immanuel Lutheran School student, we set up every Friday and took it down each Monday. I have great memories of our basketball team winning state and nationals my Junior year!

    Theodore Meyer playing the organ for a church service in the gym. He was installed as the music director for the church and school. He and his wife, Genevieve, had 3 children: Lenore, Beth Ann, and Larry.

    This is a picture of an Waster Sunday Worship Service when church was held in the gym. The altar, flowers, and organ are on the stage.

    From Theo Leverenz, son of Gerhard and Betty Leverenz, of Georgetown, KY

    As for my time at Immanuel's grade school, I remember playing tag (I wasn't the fastest, but I wasn't the slowest either) and dodgeball. My 3rd grade teacher was Miss Timmons, and 5th and 6th grade teacher was Mr. Meyer. My dad (an ordained pastor who worked at the VA) led weekly whole school devotions from the stage in the gym. Also,  since I lived in Holiday Hills, I remember "volunteering" to help clean the school each August before school began.

    From Betty (Anders) Hall

    My parents, Fred and Alma Anders, were the first couple married by Pastor Berthold on November 29, 1923. My sister and brother-in-law, Mary Jane (Anders) and Ralph Wilkinson, were the last couple to be married by Pastor Berthold while he was serving the congregation as the vacancy pastor on November 29, 1953.

    From Nancy Purviance

    Remembering... Vera Thomas and how her favorite hymn was "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". Everyone who knew her was aware of it....   The fun, pictures, and memories shared at our 100th Anniversary of Immanuel...   Al Steffie's beautiful bass voice when we did "The Seven Last Words" Cantata in choir.... The Krueger's and their sense of humor and love... Our Easter services at the Dixie Drive-In.... The precious memories of those who have passed on at our church: Amanda Drews, Vera Thomas, Juanita Stephens, Ann Rohlfing, Eva Buchanan, Barb Kroll, Bill Seidler, and many, many more special people.

    From Ken Kuhn

    In the 1960's and 1970's, whenever basketball teams or college choirs came to Immanuel Lutheran School or Church, the team or choir members were housed by the congregation members. Shirley and I took one of these groups into our home. For one basketball tournament, a school sent 12 students to the event. Shirley and I took in 4 boys into our home. The boys had a game on Saturday morning again on Sunday. I took them to the Saturday game, which they lost, and after that they were not interested in watching anymore basketball. I brought them home, but they became very active and Shirley suggested I take them somewhere. It just so happened that the U of I engineering Open House was that weekend. I took them to Champaign, and we spent the afternoon observing various demonstrations. After their game on Sunday, they all went back to their homes. About two weeks later, I received a letter from one of their mothers, she thanked us for the hospitality we extended to her son and the rest of the boys. Then she went on to say that the entire group that went to Danville met together to discuss their experiences and Shirley and I were voted the #1 parents to stay with if they ever came back to Danville. I miss those basketball tournaments and college choirs and I even miss having these young people in our home.

    From Kinley Pratt, age 7

    Singing and playing and learning about God and Jesus. My grandma is my favorite Sunday School teacher. I know about Bible stories now. I love church.

    In 1936, our congregation gifted Pastor Berthold with a trip to Germany after serving our congregation for forty years. This article is about him, his service at Immanuel, and his travels. The congregation even wrote a song in honor of Pastor Berthold's return to the tune of "O Tannenbaum"!

    Our Cemetery Walk

    On May 30, 2021, we held a Cemetery Walk. Members could visit various sections of the cemetery to pay their respects to and hear the interesting stories of some members buried there who helped shape the congregation in to what it is today. If you didn't get the chance to take the guided your on May 30, you can click on the link below for a Cemetery Walk packet. The stories we shared that day are printed in the packet as well as a map of the cemetery to you can visit each gravesite on your own. 

    Pastor Krueger once preached a sermon about our chancel window (shown above). Click play to hear an audio recording of his sermon.

    02 Track 2.mp3

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