Formed in 1896, Immanuel Lutheran Church exists to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to all people in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 1896, the Rev. Professor R. Pieper of the Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, received a letter asking him to help in organizing a Lutheran congregation in Bridgman, Michigan. The letter was signed by Mr. Henry Nemitz and Mr. Gustav Burtzlaff, who had been members of Pastor Succop's congregation in Chicago. They were now farming in Michigan and finding the trip of fifteen miles over bad roads to attend services in St. Joseph too inconvenient. Confirmation instructions for their children made it even more difficult. With more people coming here from Chicago and immigrating from Germany, there were enough members in the Bridgman area to begin a new congregation.
The President of the Michigan District convinced student Polzin that here was a divinely sent call he should accept and serve to the best of his ability. Student E.H. Polzin came to Bridgman and conferred with Mr. Nemitz, Mr. Burtzlaff and Mr. W.H. Gast. At once, the local Congregational church was rented and services announced for Sunday. The first attendance was fair under the circumstances. The validity of his call was placed in question, so in about four months he organized and incorporated the congregation, built the church, called Pastor William Tabbert, and then went back to the Seminary for another year.
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bridgman, Michigan, had been ushered into the world. The official date of subscription to the constitution was June 14, 1896.
Immanuel Lutheran Church was established in June of 1896, almost 125 years ago. The original church was a clapboard building topped by a simple steeple without bells. When audio technology was available, (date unknown) the church placed speakers on the outside of the church for everyone nearby in Bridgman to hear the music of the organ.
In the years following, the Immanuel congregation outgrew the original church structure and started raising funds for a new sanctuary. The new (current) church building was completed in 1966 and dedicated in 1967.
To carry on the tradition of broadcasting music outside the new church building, the Anderson Family along with many other memorial donations provided the funds for an electromechanical carillon. Immanuel Lutheran Church purchased the carillon bell system from Schulmerich Carillons, Inc. in Sellersville, PA. The system contains the Carillonic Bells, control equipment, electronic amplification, and speakers mounted in the steeple.
Immanuel’s carillon started broadcasting in 1967 and continues to ring out daily after 53 years of continuous service. The bells play every evening starting at 6:00 pm for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the songs selected for the season. The music is comprised of pre-programed songs and hymns of the Christian faith.
We hope you enjoy them!