Just four weeks from completion, Immanuel Lutheran Pastor Mark Bangert said he’s pleased with how the church expansion project is coming along.
“It’s come quite a ways,” he said, adding the church will be finished by the first Sunday in August.
Work still remains, though, as there are “a thousand little things” that need to be finished, he said. One of the bigger projects is the organ.
A refurbished organ is being installed in the choir loft of the church. The instrument was purchased from a church in Chicago and was refurbished by Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company Inc. out of St. Louis, which originally built the organ.
Crews were completing blacktopping the parking lot Tuesday, June 10.
Inside, the fellowship hall — which used to be the sanctuary, is being repainted. Floors are being installed and electrical work is in progress.
Thankful for Support
Bangert said he’s thankful the congregation has been so supportive during the construction phase.
“It’s been a challenge to be out of our old sanctuary and worshipping in our cafeteria,” Pastor Bangert said. “I think the congregation has responded well, but it will be good to get out of the temporary space and into the new one.”
Bangert said one highlight of the new sanctuary is the acoustics.
“The organ and hymn singing all will be very special in the new place,” he said.
After the project is complete, the church will institute a concert and speaker series. The first concert is the African Children’s Choir, from Uganda, who will sing Friday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m.
The new sanctuary can comfortably accommodate 500 people, Pastor Bangert said. The church has about 1,500 baptized adults and children.
“I’m looking forward to the new space,” he said. “The old space was beautiful, but antiquated. It (new church) will serve us in the 21st century more than the 19th century building we were in.”
Some features of the church include padded pews, video screens, art, new stained-glass windows, statuary and a custom floor mosaic around the baptismal font.
Immanuel Lutheran has a long history in Washington, dating back to 1862 when nine charter members organized the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel congregation and adopted a constitution.
The first Sunday afternoon worship services were held at the Presbyterian Church and later at the Methodist Church.
In 1863 the church was dedicated. A new church was built in 1881-82 for $7,614. The old church then became the school. A second story was added to that building in 1894.
A parsonage was built in 1939 and a new school addition was built in 1959.
Major renovations to the church and school were done in 1979, including adding a tunnel connecting the two buildings underground.
The church’s most recent addition was made in 1997.
Pastor Bangert said he hopes to have an open house Sunday, July 29, the same day as the Washington Fair parade. The open house would be held before and after the parade. More details will be released as the date approaches.
A dedication ceremony is being planned for Sunday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m.
Pastor Bangert has been the church’s pastor since 1992.