Emmaus Lutheran Church - LCMS

Pastor David W. Kern
Worship Service: Sundays at 10 A.M.
Sunday School and Bible Class: Sundays at 9 A.M.

A Brief History

Emmaus Lutheran Church was begun in 1859 as a dual parish along with Zion, Bethalto with J. D. Warns as the pastor of both. At this time Pastor Warns was a member of the Illinois Synod. Emmaus, however, was not a part of this synod, existing as an independent Lutheran congregation until 1883, when it joined Das Evangelische Lutherishen Kirche von Missouri, Ohio, und Andern Staaten (The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod). The congregation continued as a dual parish with Zion until 1868, when they called Pastor J.C.H. Martin, the third pastor of the congregation, and the first parsonage was built.

The original small red brick church was built around 1861. When the new church was built in 1874, the original church continued to be used as the classroom for the parochial school. The original church/school, parsonage, and new church can be seen in this picture on the left, taken about 1880 of Pastor Flachsbart and his family. A new white frame school building was built in 1924, and shortly thereafter the original brick church/school was torn down. The picture on the right was taken at the 1924 dedication service for the new school.

Emmaus Lutheran Church 1880
Emmaus Lutheran Church 1924

However, by 1930 the congregation no longer operated a parochial school, and the frame school building was torn down in conjunction with the building of a new parish hall in 1947. At that time the church was also remodeled with the addition of the current altar area.

Emmaus Lutheran Church 1947
Emmaus Lutheran Church 1947

In 2004 the congregation dedicated a new parish hall and remodeled the 1947 parish hall. The remodeling work was done entirely by members of the congregation. Because of delays involving the plumbing contractor, the new facilities were delayed by several months and members of the congregation worked most of the day on Good Friday so the new parish hall could be used for the Easter breakfast.

Emmaus Lutheran Church 2008
Emmaus Lutheran Church 2009

However, a church is much more than just buildings. A church consists of people who believe that Jesus is God become flesh for the purpose of taking the sins of the world on Himself so that those who believe in Him might have forgiveness and eternal life. These Christians in a locality join themselves together and form a congregation, such as Emmaus.

A characteristic of these people who make up the church is that they desire to grow in faith and proclaim the message of salvation in Jesus to bring others to faith. For this purpose God has given pastors to the church. Over the past 150 years 22 pastors have served here at Emmaus.

More than 1360 individuals have been baptized, 831 confirmed, 317 couples married, and 436 buried here a Emmaus.

Over the course of 150 years much has changed, as would be expected. When the parish hall was added in 1947, the men's and women's rest rooms in the basement were a huge improvement over the outhouses which were the only option up to that point. But as time passed and expectations changed, these were recognized as seriously inadequate, and were brought up to current standards in the 2004 renovation.

We now worship in English rather than German, we no longer have to pump the organ because electricity had come to Dorsey, and we can take hot baths as often as we want without depleting the cistern or boiling the water on the cook stove.

With all that has changed, one thing has not changed, which is the message that we proclaim. We still preach Jesus Christ, crucified for the sin of the world. That message can never change without being unfaithful to the Scriptures.

As we look to the future, we wonder how the congregation might be described at its 250th anniversary. We, of course, have no way of knowing. Nor do we know if there even will be a 250th anniversary. Jesus has told us through the Scripture that he could return at any time. What we do know as we contemplate the future, is that we have nothing to worry about. This is not because of our own self-sufficiency, but because God has promised He would be with us. The proof is Jesus. As Paul tells us, if Jesus loved us enough to die for us, it is absurd to think that He will not love us enough to care for us and preserve our faith so that we are with Him.

Since its beginning Emmaus has been served by 22 called pastors:

J. D. Warns 1859-1864
John G. Nuetze 1865-1867
John Martin 1868-1871
Earnst T. Richter 1871-1875
Herman Flachsbart 1876-1889
Daniel Lochner 1889-1892
Philip Fritze 1892-1893
H. P. Kuehn 1893-1901
K. G. Schlegel 1902-1909
W. M. Peterson 1910-1918
C. P. Rohloff 1919-1922
G. E. Roesener 1922-1928
H. A. Middendorf 1928-1945
Otto Strothmann 1945-1953
Arnold Wagner 1954-1960
Duncan Stevenson 1960-1969
Joel Zeddies 1969-1971
Richard Lischer 1972-1974
G. Howard Whittaker 1975-1979
George J. Gude 1980-2010
David Stratmann 2010-2014
David W. Kern 2015-Present