Emmanuel Church - Gott Mit Uns

 Emmanuel Church History – written by the late Suzie Wurtz

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 blocks.

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.