History of the Immanuel Baptist Church
100 Years With God
History of the Immanuel Baptist Church
Immanuel, "God With Us" -- has been literally the experience of our church throughout these 100 years. Historical records are often cold and bare, limited to resolutions and statements, but between the lines of these records it is written with indelible ink. "God was with us." No institution of human origin could have survived the storms, trials and dangers of 100 years as our church experienced them. It is true that men and women seem to be the center of church life and activities, but at the best, these men and women are tools of God's hand and channels of His grace. With this fact in mind, we shall mention the names of individuals with great respect and humility.
The beginnings of the mother church in Oklahoma rest in the time of the opening of the Cheyenne-Arapaho territory in 1892. Several German Baptist families had come down from Kansas in their covered wagons to make the "run". Immediately after the settlement, a Sunday School was started in the 12 x 16 one-room home of Mr. and Mrs. David Schmidt. More families came. It seems that Rev. J. Siewers, pastor of the Hillsborough, Kansas, German Baptist Church, came down to minister temporarily to these new settlers. Under his leadership a small group of thirteen believers met in the home of Mr. & Mrs. F. H. Geis, to organize a church. Those 13 charter members were: Mr. & Mrs. Johann Geis, Mr. & Mrs. David Schmidt, Mr. & Mrs. Johann J. Lorenz, Mr. & Mrs. George P. Geis, Mr. & Mrs. Franz Weber, Mr. & Mrs. Franz H. Geis and Miss Maria Geis.
As the attendance grew, the effort to secure a minister and build a church was pursued. Their appeal to the General Mission Secretary, Rev. G. A. Schultz for full-time support of a mission worker in Oklahoma was denied.
They continued to hold their Bible study in any available home, log schoolhouse, or a one-room sod house. John Geis built a granary that was used as a building in which to hold their service for 18 months.
Rev. Edward Graalman, then pastor at Concordia, MO., was called to begin his ministry for this rural church in December of 1893. He was paid $200 yearly by the German Baptist Home Mission Society of New York. The church members pledged $150 yearly and agreed to sow 10 acres with wheat and other grain on his farm.
Rev. Graalman preached his first sermon in the home of Mr. & Mrs. F. M. Geis on the text from II Corinthians 13:13, "All the Saints Salute You." On the first day of the organization, five young converts were accepted into the fellowship of the church.
In the spring of 1894, they bought $234 worth of material to build their first church. Volunteers completed it in the fall, debt-free. It was located west of the present church on the one square acre in the NW corner of NE1/4 Section 31, Township 18, N. Range 9 WIN, donated by Mr. & Mrs. John (Kate) Geis.
The dedication was held the third Sunday of October. 1894. The morning and evening services were in German, the afternoon service in English.
The early missionary efforts of the church reached out to their German Baptist brethren to help establish a church in their community. There were several lay members that assisted in this ministry. Those helping in the early development of these churches were: J. J. Lorenz, F. Wahl, John Geis, Henry Schroeder, Frank Weber, John George Ehrlich, Henry Lipps and H. G. Geis.
In 1894-1895, 83 members were added to the roll. At a meeting, their Sunday School was organized, officers were elected, including David Schmidt, superintendent and Christof Weigand, assistant.
A vital part of the Immanuel Baptist Church history is their mission work. They gave leadership to their neighbors, assisting in their worship services. After learning about other German Baptist located in Okeene, Oklahoma, a mission was begun there in 1902. As the attendance grew, they rented the Methodist Church, where Rev. Graalman, Henry Schroeder, Frank Weber or John Geis would minister to the group on Sunday afternoon.
They erected their first building in August of 1902 and became the German Baptist Church of Okeene in January, with 55 charter members. Okeene remained a preaching station until 1912, when it organized to become the Zion Baptist Church.
In February, 1902, a request came from some German Baptist families near Ingersoll to be taken up into the church fellowship as a station. Brother Graalman served Ingersoll once every two months. This was the beginning of the Bethel Baptist Church. They were later put under the care of the Ebenezer Church at Deep Creek, which was closer. Later, Bethel moved to Cherokee where it is an active Church. In the year of 1904, there were 138 members.
In 1902, a Sunday School work was started at Hitchcock. Brother F. Wahl was entrusted with the work there. However, it seems that the work at Hitchcock was soon abandoned because of distance and removal of German settlers.
The records mention the work at Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Apparently several families moved there out of our church ranks and in 1901and organized an independent church. This church later dissolved and partly joined with the American Baptist Church at Kingfisher.
The church in Bessie and the Calvary Baptist Church of Corn in Washita County both begun as missions in 1900. The Bessie congregation merged with the Corn group later when a fire in 1948 destroyed the church and all its records.
The Gotabo brethren in Kiowa County asked Immanuel Church for assistance to begin a mission there in 1900. Later the Gotabo Church joined the Southern Baptist in Gotabo, Oklahoma.
The first German Baptist Church of Woodward was organized on April 24, 1904, with 12 charter members. Their services were held in private homes and schoolhouses. Rev. Ed Graalman preached to the group. They erected a small church 10 miles southwest of Shattuck. When Ellis County was formed, they changed the name to German Baptist Church, Goodwin. In 1946. they converted the services to English and changed the name to Ebenezer Baptist Church of Shattuck. They built a new church in Shattuck and dedication services were held on September 3, 1950. The church is still located at this site.
The time had come for Immanuel Baptist to convert to the English language in their services. In 1931, they discontinued the use of the German language with the exception of occasionally singing the hymns in German.
Eighty souls were converted and baptized in the 25 years of Rev. Graalman's ministry.
The new church building was built and dedicated in October of 1935. The beautiful picture, by Rev. Wagner, was painted at that time for the church.
In April, 1946, the parsonage was built and dedicated. The old garage was torn down and a carport was built in 1991.
The rest rooms were added to the church in 1963.
In 1978, the new pulpit was given in memory of H. H. Winters.
New siding was put on the church and parsonage and new glass doors were added in 1980.
The new piano was given in 1984 in memory of Dorothy Geis.
In 1990, the new organ was given in memory of Mr. & Hrs. Barney Dehn and Lucille.
The basement was remodeled and the pastor's study was added in 1984.
A new tape deck was given to the church in 1987 in memory of Arthur Freelander, Pastor Roger Freelander's father.
A copier was given to the church in 1988.
The windows on the north and west sides were removed in 1992 for insulation purposes.
In 1993, a new entry was built for the west basement door, the new church sign was installed, new sidewalk were put in and the upstairs of the church was remodeled.
The church is currently very active in supporting the community Bible School, church camp, White Cross work, missions, the Loyal Youth Group and reaching others for Christ through prayer and witnessing. We enjoy fellowshipping together and with others at our Members and Guests Banquet, our Valentine's Banquet, the Ladies Retreat and Oklahoma Fellowship.
We thank God for the opportunity to worship and serve Him!
1893-1915 Rev. Edward Graalman
1916-1917 Rev. August Rosnerv
1917-1919 Rev. Bornschlaegel
1920-1920 Mr. S. S. Feldman, Interim
1920-1925 Rev. Edward Graalman
1927-1931 Rev. H. A. Meyer
1932-1933 Brother Melvin Geis, Interim
1934-1941 Brother R. A. Klein
1941-1945 Rev. William Sturhahn
1945-1945 Rev. J. E. Ehrhorn, Interim
1946-1947 Rev. Alfred 0. Thornton
1947-1947 Brother John Toews, Interim
1947-1955 Rev. G. Wesley Blackburn
1955-1959 Rev. Eleon Sandau
1960-1977 Rev. Martin DeBoer
1978-1982 Rev. Anthony Arends
1982-1983 Rev. Clark Mann, Interim
1983-1983 Brother Rodney loran, Interim
1983-1987 Rev. Jeffery Patet
1987-1987 Rev. Clark Mann, Interim
1987-present Rev. Roger Freelander
Members and Those Attending at the 100 Year Celebration Time:
Dehn: Archie & Cecilian
Dobrinski: Daniel & Jeanie
Fisher: Dennis, Carol, Kevin, Clayton & Curtis
Freelander: Roger, Chichi, Geoffrey & Nathan
Geis: Danny, Shirla, Andrea, Jarod, Jolene, Samantha & Britney
Meier: Barbara Jo
Neufeld: Ben & Colleen
Pope: Steve, Sandi, Rustin & Ashley
Rauh: Lisa & Mandi
Roach: Glen & Jodi
Sampson: Ralph, Marcia, Ashly & Zachery
Shaloy: Alisha & Amber
Staude: Franklin, Patricia, John & Jay
Vilhauer: Norman & Alice
Winter: Doug, Kris, Hillary & Lane
Winter: Greg, Joan & Taylor
Winters: Stan, Kay, Evan & Meghan
Winters: Scott, Debbie, Whitney & Wager