FIRST CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
The first congregational meeting was held December 26, 1894. Alfred Larson was elected chairman. The income for the first year was $421 and expenses were $333. Balance in the account at this first meeting was $88. During 1895, the group held 38 services and baptized 7 infants. They paid J.C. Westglund the sum of $153.50 as their "preacher."
1911 - 1912
IMPROVEMENTS & EXPANSION
In 1911 electricity was added and by 1920 the mortgage was paid. The congregation decided to complete the basement and build a fellowship hall. The services were held in Swedish and there was no regular pastor or Sunday School. Occasionally, student pastors would come from Upsala College. Families would gather with their children and plan Christmas and Easter programs, under the guidance of the Deacons.
In the fall of 1911, Pastor John Johnson from the Bronx conducted the first confirmation class of 7 girls and 3 boys. These ten were confirmed on March 31st, 1912. Ida Brown was a member of that class.
1918 - 1949
This arrangement with Trinity continued until 1949 when it became evident that one person could not serve both congregations effectively. Emanuel had 47 adult members and 23 children, and George Nelson, a seminary student intern, came to Pleasantville to serve the congregation. The Board of American Missions sponsored his work. Membership increase by 50% and he made the congregation believe that someday they would have a large church. At the end of that year, it was decided that Emanuel should continue alone and that they should hire a full time pastor and seek a new site.
1952 - 1955
THE MOVE TO MANVILLE
In 1952 the site for a new church on Manville Road was purchased and plans were underway. This site was the only land big enough for a church left in Pleasantville. The price was $7,000. Messers Stromer and Tichenor met with the seller, Mr. Doherty and after several meetings, they shook hands, one on top of another, and that made a binding contract.
The first step was to build a parsonage, which was completed on Arthur Avenue in Thornwood. This was accomplished with volunteer work and donations. Breaking of the ground for the church took place on May 9th, 1954 and the structure was completed on March 1955. The first service in the new structure was conducted by Dr. Evald B. Lawson, President of Upsal College. Membership was at 175. It wasn't long until the congregation felt the need to expand.
In July of 1955 purchased a house on Manville Road, not far from the church as the parsonage. The house had been built in 1924 by Oscar Bergmark, son of a member of the congregation. The Thornwood parsonage was then sold.
MUSIC AND MORE
In 1975 the numbers had swelled to 700 confirmed and 300 additional baptized members. There was a carol choir and a children's choir. The senior choir of more than 40 members under the direction of Ron Dunn sang regularly. The Emanuel band performed several times a year with more than 35 members. The bell choirs started in 1973.
The Katy Club for singles and couples met once a month for social and other types of programs. The Senior Luther League of High School and Post High School age students was very active, as well as the Junior Luther league. A group of retired men organized the GOTHEM "Get Out To Help Emanuel Men." Sunday School directed by Eleanor Swanson involved more than 200 children and 20 men and women who were teachers and helpers.