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IMMANUEL CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
IMMANUEL CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST. Immanuel’s roots go back to the early 1840s when the Rev. Peter FLUERY, a native of Switzerland, worked with an informal group of some 83 German and Swiss people who lived in Dubuque. His church was located at Ninth and Iowa STREETS and in 1844 it adopted the Congregational creed and doctrine based on evangelical ideals.
Rev. Fluery conducted services each Sunday in the German, French and English languages. (1) He hoped that this ‘Evangelical” church, as it was called at the time, would unite immigrants of both the Lutheran and the reformed traditions. Although there was interest in forming a church, an official church was not organized.
By 1848, the “Evangelical” church had become the “German Church”. It was under Congregational care and had 83 members. That year, Adrian Van Vliet and about half of the members separated from the church and formed a Presbyterian church which became FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
In 1867, the “German Church” called upon Rev. Jesse Guernsey, the Iowa Superintendent for Congregational Churches, for assistance in forming a German Congregational church. A small white frame structure was erected in 1867 on the hillside above the intersection of 18th street and Central Avenue. It was named the German Congregational Church and its address was 20 West Eighteenth Street. In 1868 it was formally chartered as a church. (2)
The Rev. Herman Ficke was called as the first pastor. He arrived in 1868 and found a church with a membership of seven adults and two children, a small unfinished building, and a debt of $1,200. (3) Under the leadership of Rev. Ficke, the problems were gradually settled.
Construction of the present church at 18th and Jackson STREETS was begun with the laying of the cornerstone on October 16, 1887. The original church was rented to other church groups for several years and then torn down in the 1890s. A parsonage was constructed on the site. Ficke continued in his position until his death in 1911.
Mergers marked the next two decades. In 1929, Immanuel merged with the Durango Congregational Church. Immanuel’s growth continued with a number of enlargements to the church building and many improvements. In 1931 the merger of the Congregational Churches, and the Christian Churches, into the Congregational Christian Churches occurred.
In 1943, the house at 1737 Jackson Street was purchased as a parsonage. In 1945, a special evening service was held to burn the mortgage for the latest church addition.
In 1957, the Congregational Christian Churches merged with the Evangelical and reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ. Immanuel changed its name to Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ; reflecting both Immanuel’s congregational past and its UCC future. The Fellowship Hall, pastor’s study, and church office were dedicated in 1958. The new entryway and the cry room were added in the early 1960s and the steeple was removed. The church was made handicapped accessible in the 1980s when ramps and the chair lift were installed. The sanctuary was rededicated in 1997 after an extensive redecoration, and in 1998 the Women’s Fellowship remodeled the church parlor. In 2006, the parking lot was doubled in size thanks to the contribution of numerous donors.
The 1987 through 2014 Dubuque City Directory listed 1795 Jackson.
1. "Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ," Online: http://www.immanueluccdbq.org/
2. London, Michelle, "Immanuel UCC's Stained Glass Memorializes a Historic Past," Telegraph Herald, February 5, 2022, p. 7A