The Presbyterian church has been a fixture in Marion for 125 years. Everyone knows that. But did you know that we’ve had Presbyterians in Marion for quite a while longer than that? As far back as 1880, there was a Presbyterian pastor preaching a circuit that included Marion, Salem, and Cameron (a small town near Canistota). Eventually, in 1882, Marion organized its own Presbyterian church, with 7 members. They built a church – but not on the site where we all recognize the church. This first church was actually on the site of what is now Bethesda Lutheran!
Emmanuel (originally known as “Emanuel German Presbyterian Church”) was organized in 1889, following the closing of the original church in October of 1888. Emmanuel has a very rich history. Here is some Emmanuel trivia you might not have known:
One pastor served Emmanuel on two separate occasions. Rev. Hilko de Beer was pastor for one year (1900-1901), then returned from 1909-1913.
Services and meetings were conducted entirely in German for years. Worship did not switch over to English until Rev. J.W. Limkemann arrived in June of 1943! It was extremely odd for German-language churches in the United States to continue worshiping in the German language beyond WWI, much less after the start of WWII.
Did you know that Emmanuel’s membership of 118 is the same today as it was in 1927?
Emmanuel has had three members who belonged to our congregation (joining at their confirmations) for 75 years: Dina Kettleson, Lillian Sorenson, and Ernest Frerking.
Our longest-serving pastor was Rev. A.E. Boell (1927-1943). That pales in comparison to the tenure of Jean Smith as organist. She served Emmanuel in that way for 63 years.
Emmanuel still has 4 members and one child who are directly descended from founding members of our church. Lawrence and Clifford Wentzel are the great-grandchildren of Dirk and Etta Krull. Conrad Buse is the great-grandson of John and Frauka Ebeling. His son Dan is also a member, and Dan’s daughter Jada is the latest descendant in a LONG line of members at Emmanuel.
Stay tuned for more next week as we lead up to Emmanuel’s “birthday!”
Emmanuel Presbyterian Church is celebrating their 125th anniversary on reunion weekend. There will be an open house at the church and the manse next door from 2:00-4:00 PM on Saturday the 21st. There will be a special worship service at 10:00 on Sunday morning to be followed by a meal ($5 per adult, kids 12 and under eat free; call the church at 648-3876 if you plan on joining us for the meal). Please plan on joining us for as much of this weekend as you are able. We would love to see you there!