The Immanuel Lutheran Church will be celebrating its 130-year anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 21. The church is located on 411 County Road 401. The celebration event will begin with church service at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Ardene Wuthrich, who was raised in Immanuel, and the Praha Brothers Polka Band will lead the service. A catered German meal prepared by Chris Kelm will follow. Tickets are available from church members or they may be purchased at the church office by contacting Sandy Trussell at 512-365-9494. Church scrapbooks and other historical items will be on display. Families, friends, and former church members are invited to come celebrate.
Known as both "the church on the hill" and "West Taylor," Immanuel Lutheran Church had its beginnings when German immigrants began settling in Taylor and worship services were held in homes and schools as early as 1885. Under Rev. Glatzle's guidance, Immanuel Lutheran Congregation adopted a constitution on Jan. 1, 1888, which was signed by fourteen men who agreed to accept financial responsibility and support the church, thus becoming one of the early Lutheran congregations in Williamson County.
Charter members were Alexander Anderson, August Becker, Karl Brandenburg, Henry Fritz, August Kiesler, Julius Krueger, William Lange, Herman Lantzsch, August Luedtke, Fred Luedtke, Reinhold Mager, Fred Roeske, John Senkel and John Wuthrich, Sr.
A historical marker was placed on the church property in 1995. The marker reads:
German Immigrants began settling in the new railroad town of Taylor in the 1880s. Lutheran worship services were held as early as 1885, and the Rev. I.J. Glatzle and 14 families formally organized this congregation in 1888. The Rev. Gus Szillat became the church's first resident pastor when a parsonage was built in 1892. A frame church building completed in 1894 was destroyed in a 1916 fire, but the congregation soon rebuilt. Worship services were conducted in the German language until the 1940s. The church remains a reflection of the town's ethnic heritage.
In 2008 the church council approved the idea for a Live Nativity. The Live Nativity, now known as "The Pilgrimage to Bethlehem", is going on its 11th year of production. What began as a small church project with approximately 80 members of the church parish, has blossomed into 135 cast members of family and friends from 16 area churches. The Nativity tours begin in the church where visitors join in singing Christmas Carols with the Nativity choir as they wait until their tour begins. The tour witnesses the scene in Nazareth with the visitation of the angel Gabriel talking to Mary and Joseph, then into the market place as Mary and Joseph search for an Inn. The shepherds are next visited by the angels who tell the shepherds of the birth of our Savior. The tour then concludes with the birth of Jesus in the stable.
One of the church members explains it like this: "We believe that God wants all people to know His story and that God's way of reaching people is through His friends, through us. Each of us has a personal, shared and nontransferable mission; to make God real and share His grace so that others may know His salvation." Immanuel invites you to join them in putting on the production of the Nativity. If you can't do that, come out and take a tour Dec. 8-9, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. each evening.