Emmanuel Church History – written by the late Suzie
It was in 1902, when some
of the Hutterite people settled in this vicinity. I’ll explain for our younger
generation who these people were. Paul Dekker, who was the father of Sam Dekker
and old Andrew Stahl, who was the father of Rev. Paul Stahl. They decided that
there should be a church organized. Paul Dekker decided that Uncle Andrew Stahl
should be minister. People at that time only had small dwellings. So Paul Dekker
offered his house as a place where meetings could be held.
In 1903 the Brown Lumber
Company started in Saskatoon. Old Uncle Stahl got some lumber and built on to
his shack in which they were living. Then meetings were held in their home if
they were not asked out to other homes. In 1905 the first evangelistic meetings
were held in the Stahl home. But soon the place was too small. So the meetings
were held in the Garfield School, then in the Neuhoffnung School. The Lord
blessed the meetings and His word. The meetings were conducted by Rev. Peter A.
Wiebe of Hillsboro, Kansas.
In 1915 Rev. and Mrs. Frank
V Wiebe and Rev. David J.S. Mendel conducted the meetings. They then decided
these people were in the need of a church building. At the time money was
scarce, and with only fifteen members, they brought the matter before the
conference. The conference agreed to help.
In 1917 this church was
built. The question came up where to build it? It was decided it would be built
in the center of the district where the Hutterites lived at that time (it would
have been 1 ½ miles north of its present location). The question came up – who
is the owner of that land and where to find him? After some discussion Peter
Miller volunteered to donate two acres of his land in the north-east corner of
the quarter. The following spring after seeding, the work started. The basement
was scraped out and the volunteer work began. Sam Dekker hauled all the gravel
that was needed – all shoveled by hand. He also hauled the cement. Andrew Stahl
hauled all the lumber from Saskatoon. Mr. Corny Buhr, Langham, was the main
carpenter and the rest was all volunteer labor. Some of the people helped from
the beginning and worked until it was finished. One of them was Andrew Gross,
who was married to Alvina Miller.
Next came the choosing of a
name for the church. It was named: Emmanuel Church. In German “Gott mitt uns”.
What a wonderful name!
Then the outside painting
was discussed, so Bernhard Hiebert, who was married to Mary Gross, offered to do
the job for half price, if he could have a plot in the cemetery for his grave.
The agreement was made and the church was painted in 1917. In 1924 he occupied
his plot. He died in Manitoba and was buried here in this cemetery.
The day of “Thanks to God”
arrived when the church with its name was dedicated to God, August 13, 1917. It
was an all day affair. The ministers that spoke were: Rev. Diedrich Gossen,
Waldheim; Rev. Henry Wiebe, Langham, Langham Zoar Church at that time; Rev.
Peter Schultz, Langham; Rev. Jacob Schultz (son of Peter Schultz). The last
speaker was David J.S. Mendel, Freeman, South Dakota.
As stated, the church was
built in 1917. But in 1943 the basement walls and the floor had deteriorated due
to alkali and a higher water level. It became necessary that the walls and the
floor be replaced. A contractor jacked up the church and a new basement was
built. In one month the church was lowered onto the new foundation. But by 1962
the floor was redone again. Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations be destroyed, what
can the righteous do?” King David said of Spirit condition of his day. But later
we were in trouble again… the floor was replaced the third time with patio
In 1980 the north wall
began to lean outwards. It seemed dangerous. It was decided to move the church
off the foundation. According to municipal regulations it had to be moved 150
feet from the road. So we were left without a dining hall. The tables, benches,
and the dishes were stored at Mary Waldner’s place, hoping that some day we
would add a dinning hall.
Today, we have our dining
hall. To this has been added a beautiful set of kitchen cupboards donated by the
late Andrew and Kate Miller. A stove and fridge were donated to the church by
Jake and Edna Waldner and Mary G. Waldner. As you have noticed, we also have new
Hymn books. New kitchen silverware has also been donated by the late Sarah
Waldner and Families, and very recently, we were surprised by the addition of
new chairs to replace the old benches. These were donated to us by the late
Suzie Wurtz and Families.