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History of
Emmanuel United Church of Christ

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In early 1830’s German settlers around Liverpool began meeting in homes on Sunday to worship together by reading from the Bible, singing hymns, and reading sermons. About 1834 some formed Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and erected a place of worship on Abbeyville Road.  Others held their first official service in the spring of 1838 at which time the name Emmanuel was selected. After a time and seeing the need for a larger more permanent space to worship the Parish was able to purchase 1 acre of land on February 12, 1842 for a place of worship and burial ground.  They built a log building as the first standing church for Emmanuel. The newly erected church was located nearly 2 miles south of Center Road on what is now Lester Road. In late 1840’s a group of members broke away from Emmanuel in order to follow a stricter Lutheran doctrine. They organized St. Paul Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod.

By the late 1860’s the church building was starting to become rather dilapidated and the need for a new church to be built was evident. The congregation decided on April 13, 1868 to build the new church in the middle of Liverpool which is now also known as Valley City. The cornerstone for the new church was laid on July 4, 1869. All usable wood from the old church was used to help build the new church. Construction was completed and dedicated on December 12, 1869. The church eventually joined the German Evangelical Synod of North America.

On August 7, 1881 the 1239 lb. cast iron church bell was erected into the bell tower which had remained empty until then. The congregation also decided to build a new school house which was much needed at the time. In 1885 the Sunday School for the church was organized and had an attendance of about 60 children.

By 1926 the congregation decided to build a hall which would hold many events over the years. The schoolhouse was turned and attached to the east side of this new building. All construction was completed in 1926. By 1930 the old horse sheds in the rear of the church were considered to no longer be needed as more automobiles were used for transportation over horse and buggy. The congregation decided to sell the sheds and use the money for landscaping to create the parking lot.

In 1934 the German reformed people of America merged with Evangelical to create the Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1940 a copy of the painting titled “The Light of the World” was donated to the church and remains hanging in sanctuary today. The picture depicts Christ’s words in the scripture Revelations 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”. The church cemetery was transferred to the township on April 22, 1941. The cemetery is now called Rest Acre Cemetery. In 1961 the Congregational Christian Churches merged to form the United Church of Christ. Emmanuel continued to grow and decided to add a new education building in 1963 which included enough room for all classes, a dedicated space for a library, a dining room, kitchen, offices, and storage.

Over the years many other changes and modifications have been made to better the church which include but not limited to the installation of gas furnaces, telephone system, a Wicks pipe organ which was purchased in 1937, sewer and water installed, air conditioning installed throughout the entire facility, and the stained-glass windows were refurbished to their original beauty. In 2011 a two-car garage was built as well as our pavilion on the east side of the church.

Our church holds a rich history and connection to Valley City. We contribute to local mission efforts and participate in many community events such as the Street Fair and Frog Jump. We are grateful to have the amazing and dedicated members without whom Emmanuel would not be what it is today. We welcome you to come join our Family in worship on Sundays and ask you to join us with our many events we hold throughout the year. Please visit the Events and Activities pages for our upcoming events.

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