Initially built in 1880 for a total cost of $152.88, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church near White Clay Lake in Cecil, Wisconsin owns a rich history of faith, perseverance and fellowship.
We saw all of that Friday afternoon when our friend Kaila Wussow married her high school sweetheart Joey Tauchen on a perfect summer day.
Pastor Steven Pockat pointed out that Kaila was the fifth generation of her family to marry in that church, two of which sat proudly in the pews sending her love and good wishes from close proximity, just like they had been doing for all her life.
Kaila and her brother Collin grew up on a dairy farm first homesteaded by their great-great grandparents, August and Ella, in 1893, and now owned by their parents, Ron and Nicolle Wussow. Kaila’s grandparents, Roy and Mary Ellen Fischer, who previously ran the farm, still live on the property as well.
Just as the Wussow/Fischer Farm has grown and evolved in 125 years, so has the church at which they all worshipped.
Three cornerstones mark the entrance to the small country church and tell a story of a feisty rural community committed to celebrating its faith.
Founded in 1880, Immanuel Lutheran laid the foundation for its initial building on May 22, 1881 and dedicated the completed project on December 1, 1881. The original cornerstone reads 1880. At that time, Pastor Peter Dicke earned an annual salary of $50.
The congregation added a framed church with five windows in 1892 and the second cornerstone reads May 26, 1892. Eight years later, the congregation upped the pastor’s annual salary to a generous $350.
During the spring of 1922, the church burned down and members agreed to raise the money to rebuild. The third cornerstone reads 1923.
Two years later, 33 years after the German congregation formed, they added a once-a-month English service. By 1944, the church held services equally in German and English.
Today, Immanuel Evangelical Church stands as a testament to its German heritage and the faith and generosity of its members.
And, with the sun bouncing off White Clay Lake just outside Cecil Friday afternoon, it felt good to witness all of that history form the foundation for the marriage of two young couple we really admire.
The Tauchen cornerstone reads July 6, 2018.