Our Story

On November 28, 1917, a group of 19 members living in the village of Elk River asked for a release from St. Johns Lutheran Church, Burns Township, to organize another congregation.  The nineteen men attending this meeting became the charter members; namely Gustave Benseman, Fred Blocker, John Blocker, George Cornelius, Henry Cornelius, Herman Greupner, John Kuehn, Albert Kliever, Carl Marohn, Herman Marohn, Herman Middlestadt, Carl Roggatz, Frank Roggatz, Carl Schwanbeck, Ralph Skellinger, Louis Spect, Ernest Wittenhagen, Fred Wittenhagen and August Wruck.

The official name of the congregation was adopted on February 24, 1918:  The Evangelical Lutheran Emmanuel Congregation of Elk River, Sherburne County, Minnesota.  On August 3, 1918 the Articles of Incorporation for the Congregation were filed with the Register of Deeds.

Back in 1912 - before the release - Rev. John Kretzschmar, Pastor of St. Johns, conducted the first service in the Village of Elk River.  The services were held twice a month on Sunday afternoons in the German language, and they were held in the old Methodist Church located on the corner of Holt and 3rd Street.

When Pastor John Schert became pastor at St. Johns in 1914, he continued his services twice a month but soon changed to every Sunday because of increased interest in the services held.

Rev. R. Weimhold succeeded Rev. Schert in 1924 and continued to serve both parishes until he resigned from Emmanuel in 1948.

The first Sunday School sessions began in 1924, and the first confirmation class was confirmed that year.

By 1934 only English language services took place.

On April 19, 1948, a resolution was passed for the congregation to call its own pastor and withdraw from the multiple parish arrangement with St. Johns.  That request was granted July  5, 1948.

1948 - On August 24th, a special meeting was held and a "call" was made to Rev. Arnold Affeldt of Madison, Minnesota.  He accepted and was installed on October 3rd.

1949 - At a January meeting, the congregation passed a resolution to obtain a suitable future building site for a new church and parsonage.  In April, a .73 acre of ground located on Main Street was purchased from a member.  Monies from private parties plus loans were put into a Building Fund.  On August 30th ground was broken for the new church and the cornerstone was laid in October.

1950 - On May 7th, the church was dedicated and the parsonage was dedicated on August 21st.

1966 - The Christian Education Building was added to the church.

1975, - Rev. Gerald Creighton became the new pastor after Rev. Affeldt retired.

1979, - Remodeling of the Sanctuary was completed.

During these years David Hussong served as Director of Christian Education (1971-73), Mark Wenger as Director of Christian Education and Youth (1973-77), and Wayne King as Parish Assistant (1983-85).

1997 - Rev. Gerald Creighton completed his ministry at Emmanuel and accepted a call in Lampson, Wisconsin.

1998 - Rev. Gary Rehborg became Emmanuel's new pastor.

1999 - Cheryl Heidinger became the first Director/Teacher of “Guiding Hands Preschool”, a program of our Congregation.

2001 - Remodeling of the Education Building was completed. This included roofing our courtyard area and creating an enlarged Narthex and Fellowship Room, new offices, kitchen and handicapped accessible bathroom.

2004 - Richard Hensel began his Vicarage.

2004 - Rev. Gary Rehborg was released from his call to complete a Doctorate in Missiology at Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

2005 - Richard Hensel completed his Vicarage.

2006 - Rev. Terry Grzybowski was installed as pastor.