Blog
Immanuel Lutheran Church-Hermansberg  LCMS         570 3rd Rd Bremen, KS
                Immanuel Lutheran Church-Hermansberg                  Church History
Immanuel Lutheran Church-Hermansberg was founded August 9, 1869 three miles northeast of  Bremen, Kansas.   It was the 7th Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in the state of Kansas and has been blessed by God with a long and rich history. Early History: “This is Hermansberg.  Some day we will build a church here.”  The Rev. G Ladgraf conducted the first Lutheran services in the area on June 7, 1868 in the home of Friedrich Westermann.  Pastor Landgraf then wrote a letter to Dr. C.F.W. Walther, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States (UAC) in St. Louis about the prospects of establishing a congregation. Dr. Walther sent a theological student, Vicar Jonas Matthias, who in private homes conducted Sunday services and taught school on weekdays.  One afternoon in the summer of 1868 Vicar Matthias led his students to the top of the hill where Immanuel Lutheran Church now stands.  He told his students:  “This is Hermansberg.  Some day we will build a church here.”  “Hermansberg” referred to Vicar Matthias’ home in Germany. At the end of August 1868, Vicar Matthias returned to St. Louis to complete his theological training.  After Vicar Matthias’ graduation in 1869, the congregation issued a call to him to become their first regularly called pastor. On August 8, 1869, the formal organization of the congregation took place with the adoption and signing of the constitution. For some time the congregation continued to conduct worship services and school classes in private homes.  Construction of the first church began in 1870.  This stone church included two rooms in the back-one to serve as a school classroom and the other as a parsonage.  This building was dedicated in February 1871. 
However, the congregation soon out-grew its classroom.  Less than three months after its dedication, the pastor asked permission to hold classes in the church nave.  In 1877 the congregation resolved to build a school and teacherage and to call a full-time teacher.  In the same meeting it also resolved to build more schools if necessary.  Mr. Peter Meyn was called as the first full-time teacher.  In 1880, the Voters’ Assembly granted a peaceful release to fifteen families in the northwest part of the parish.  These families formed Trinity Lutheran Church-Hanover, six miles northwest of Immanuel.  This was Immanuel’s first daughter congregation.  The congregation also decided to remove the east wall in the church building to increase seating capacity (this gave the church room for about 400 worshippers).  It also decided to construct a parsonage. In 1888, with enrollment of over 100 students, the congregation decided to build two more schools and to call two more teachers.  One school was built 4.5 miles to the northeast and the other 1 mile south of Bremen, giving the congregation three schools, each with grades 1 through 8.  The Church and parsonage was in the central district.  In 1891 Immanuel, at that time probably the largest congregation in the Kansas District, hosted the Kansas District Convention (the first of several District conventions which Immanuel would host).  The Rev. F. Pennekamp (later to be Immanuel’s pastor) was president of the District.  The 1891-1892 records listed 626 Communicant members plus 170 children in the 3 schools, far exceeding the seating capacity of the first stone church.  A group of families in the Herkimer area requested their release to form Zion Lutheran Church, Herkimer in 1892. This was Immanuel’s second daughter congregation. Still in need of larger worship space, the congregation decided to build two churches, one in the North School District (with this District becoming a separate congregation) and another on the site of the old stone church.  The two churches were completed in 1901, with the North church becoming Bethlehem Lutheran Church-Bremen (the third daughter congregation).  Both of these church buildings continue to provide worship space for the congregations to this day (2015), well over a century later.
In 1906 a release was given to a group of members living to the south to form Trinity Lutheran Church (Afton), which is the fourth daughter congregation.  In 1928, Mt. Calvary Lutheran in Marysville was organized, which is Immanuel’s fifth daughter congregation. Immanuel continued to see changes, including the arrival of electricity, the gradual change to using the English language instead of German, church renovations and new school buildings. In 1952 it was decided to move the South school to Hermansberg to join with the North school.  Both the North and South school buildings were physically moved and placed atop a new basement which was dug northeast of the church.  The basement served as a new parish hall for the congregation.  In 1964 a ball field was constructed east of the church and school.  The information above was compiled from the history book for Immanuel Centennial (1969). This book contains an excellent description of Immanuel’s first century.
Recent History A thorough, Christ-centered education has been a top priority of Immanuel Lutheran Church from its very beginning.  Even before its first church building was constructed it conducted classes in private homes.  In 1976 a school association was formed between Bethlehem and Immanuel in 1976 and the two schools were combined to one, with classes being held at Immanuel as “Bremen Lutheran School”.  In 1994, Mt. Calvary-Marysville joined the association, and the association decided to move the school to Marysville.  They built a new school and named it Good Shepherd Lutheran School.  In 2011, an addition on the west side of the school was completed.
In recent years, Immanuel moved the parsonage house east of the church building and built a new parish hall.  The former teacherage house across the parking lot north of the church now serves as the parsonage. The old school building northeast of the church is used as a school museum and for additional fellowship space. Today, Immanuel and Bethlehem have a dual parish agreement and share a pastor.
Pastors at Immanuel Lutheran Church To the right is a picture of the back of the church sign which has the list of Pastors along with their years in office.  Pastor Aaron T. Fenker Sr. was installed on July 12, 2015.
Worship services, the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, the administration of His Sacraments, and Christian fellowship continue to this day in Immanuel Lutheran Church on the hill called Hermansberg.  Some words from the Foreword of the Centennial Book from 1969 still hold true today: “May our faith in Jesus as our Savior, our steadfastness to God’s Word, our courage and our willingness to follow as He directs, match that of our forefathers to the end that the Name they chose and confessed may also apply to us:    IMMANUEL – God With Us!”