Immanuel Congregation Church

Harlem Mission took the name Immanuel Congregational Church on March 9, 1891.  A church building was built at 6739 Hancock, but in November 1904, the Church practically burned to the ground.  While repairing the old church building, a new one was also considered.  Over the next several years there was discussion as to the best course of action.  Church activities continued in the homes of members. The church had also organized the Gordon Missionary Sunday School on Watson Road and Arthur Avenue.  A portable cottage from the World’s Fair grounds was purchased for the Mission.

In 1919, the lot where the present church stands at 3460 Jamieson was purchased for $1,500.  Fund raising was started in 1920.  The building was completed in 1925 with a dedication December 13  of that same year.  Total cost was $33,740.  In the meantime, the parsonage had been built and the upstairs was rented out to pay off the church loan.

Over the years, the church played an important social role in the community.  These included the Women’s Fellowship, the Kuples Klub and the Homemakers.  Sunday night Carry-in Suppers were held once a month during the l950’s and 1960’s.  The Pilgrim Fellowship was an extension of the Sunday School Classes.  Sunday evening activities for young people prevailed.  The Men’s Fellowship was also active and instituted weekly volleyball games.  All of these activities made for a vibrant church community.

Another fund raising drive was held in 1954 which gave the church building a new exterior and increased space in the sanctuary for worship services.  Construction started in 1955 and was completed in 1956.  In 1958, the downstairs offices were reconstructed.  Further improvements were made in the 1970s including air conditioning  and  redecoration of Fellowship Hall.   Additional maintenance and upgrades were undertaken in 1997-1998 after a generous bequest from a long time member of the church allowed for a new roof on the church and bell tower, replacement of two old furnaces and many interior refurbishments.

Over the course of its recent history there have been periods where declining church membership and financial considerations led the congregation to question whether the church should close.  Each time, the decision was made to continue as long as possible.  In January, 2005, the Board of Trustees voted and the congregation approved that Immanuel would become an Open and Affirming congregation.  Since that time the membership has increased and Immanuel is once more an active viable church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Deborah Lawson.

Membership in the church declined to the point that in 2010, the remaining members closed the church and auctioned off the contents. The building and rectory has been purchased by a local architecture firm and is being converted into an office and living space for the firm.