History and Future of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Marion, Ohio

Humble Beginnings:

For over 100 years, Emanuel Lutheran Church has been faithfully serving Christ and spreading the good news throughout the Marion community and the world. Emanuel had its beginning late in the 19th century as a struggling mission holding services in the basement of a Methodist Church. The first building Emanuel called its own still stands at the northeast corner of South State and Columbia Streets. The cornerstone was laid in 1885 with the building being dedicated a year later. This sanctuary served the congregation of Emanuel until their growth created the need for an even larger church building.

The Current Sanctuary:

The cornerstone for our present church building (at 241 South Prospect Street) was laid on May 13, 1917 and the church took two years and two days to complete at a total cost of $73,664.92 (equivalent to over $1.3 million today). The church building is in the form of a cross and the architecture is the pure Gothic type. Windows in the sanctuary are all imported, antique glass; done in the old technique (or 13th century style). All are set in natural stone tracery. Furniture of the sanctuary is built of selected, quarter sawed white oak, elaborately carved in designs true to the Gothic period.

On September 8, 1918, Rev. M.C. Hecht preached the final sermon in the old church followed by a congregational procession to the new church where they sang “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty.” Rev. A.L. Nicklas delivered the dedicatory sermon at the new church building.

On September 9, 2018 the 100th Anniversary of Emanuel’s House of Worship was celebrated with a special worship service and catered boxed lunch. Pastor Ken Wilson, Director of Leadership of Development and Congregational Vitality from the Northwestern Ohio Synod, gave the sermon; Pastor Mark Schuring and Deacon Kevin Kehn assisted. As part of the service Pastor Mark reconsecrated the existing church building and our congregation’s lives to Jesus Christ.

Pastors Called To Serve Emanuel:

Emanuel’s Senior Pastors:  Rev. M.C. Hecht  1884-1891; Rev. A.L. Nicklas  1891-1896; Rev. E.F.W. Stellhorn 1896-1909; Rev. J.W. Schillinger 1909-1937;  Rev.Martin E. Hollensen 1937-1972;  Rev.James Rave 1973 – 1986. (He went on to become the Bishop of the Northwestern Ohio Synod); Rev.J. Weston Jones served from 1986 until his retirement in 2009.  Rev. Mark Schuring was called to serve as Senior Pastor in 2009 until his retirement at the end of 2020.  During this time the following served as Associate Pastors: Pastor David Augenstein; Pastor Henry Seibert; Pastor Arnold Wulff; Pastor Robert Carlson; Pastor Robert Gordon; Pastor Dawn Donato; Pastor William Maki  and  Pastor Mark Schuring. Deacon Kevin Kehn was called to serve as the associate in ministry in 2010 and retired in 2022. Deacon Molly King served from 2010 – 2011.  On Sunday November 11, 2018 Tanyce Addison was commissioned as Parish Deacon.  On November 14, 2019 Tanyce Addison was installed as a Synodically Authorized Minister – Vicar, serving until 7/1/2020. Rev. Michael Poole was installed as an Intentional Interim Pastor in February 2021 and is currently serving.

Worship Services:

Emanuel’s worship schedule includes weekly Sunday morning services with Sunday School, and  a weekly Thursday evening praise service.  The 8:00am and 10:30am Traditional service schedule began in 1960 with 9:15am Sunday School .  The 7:00p.m. Thursday evening worship was initiated in 1989. Sunday morning’s 9:15am Contemporary service began in 2000.

Historical Facts:

Emanuel’s first live radio broadcast of the Sunday morning 10:30am worship service on 1490 WMRN-AM (1943);
Construction of a four-floor educational building with offices, a lounge, classrooms, kitchens, and a 200 seat addition to the sanctuary (1953); the parsonage was converted to offices in the 70’s, and the formation of the Church Library.

80s and 90s saw such milestones as the first Festival In Faith (an annual event brought hundreds of high school youth from Lutheran churches throughout Ohio to Emanuel for a weekend of worship and fellowship), opening of Emanuel Child Care, a summer music program for children was formed, Kids Praise Kids; on November 18, 1990 the installation and dedication of the Casavant organ.

Early 2000’s: October 11, 2005 the church chartered the Cub Scout Pack 26; 2003-2013 Women’s Appreciation  Dinners were held; 2008-2009 “Living The Legacy Today and Tomorrow” Campaign raised $1,200,000  for the renovation of the church sanctuary; 2010-2018 A Gentle Worship Service as formed to cater to those with special needs and the elderly; on November 23, 2014 a new digital sign was dedicated; 2016 the hand bells were refurbished with a life-time guarantee.

The Future of Emanuel Lutheran Church

While Emanuel Lutheran Church celebrates a deep history and long tradition, we also continue to keep our eyes focused towards the future. Our mission as children of and ambassadors for God doesn’t have a known end date so we strive to be forward-thinking in how we can reach people with the love of Christ.

When our first sanctuary was built, Emanuel was looking forward. When the congregation made the commitment to build our current sanctuary, Emanuel was looking forward. When we began broadcasting our Sunday morning worship on the radio in 1943 it was very forward-thinking.

Our sanctuary is a beautiful house of worship where both traditional and contemporary styles of worship take place. We even offer a Thursday evening worship service for those unable to join us Sunday mornings. Sunday School is offered every Sunday morning at 9:15am.

The work we do, knowledge we gain, and fellowship we enjoy are at the same time part of our past, present, and future. God continues to strengthen us and we try to strengthen each other. While we don’t know the end date, we know the end result – and that’s something to look forward to.

Emanuel  holds true to its mission statement: Emanuel: God with Us ~ Loving Christ, Loving Others