VISIONS OF THE PAST - A BRIEF 25 YEAR HISTORY
WRITTEN BY PATTI COLLINS, 1986
In the beginning...
Faith Presbyterian Church established a Sunday Church School in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Ruliffson, 1701 Twining Avenue, Nunaka Valley, in 1958.
A Nunaka Valley home, 6006 Acheson Street, was purchased by the Board of National Missions in July, 1959. This three-bedroom home was originally intended to serve as a future manse; however, this plan was later changed. From the time of its purchase to the time of its sale, it served as a place to hold classes of the Sunday Church School, as well as morning worship.
The first worship service was conducted by the Rev. Lowell Campbell, then Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church, on October 4, 1959. Twelve persons were present.
Faith Presbyterian Church was dissolved in April, 1959, and the Rev. Lowell Campbell accepted the pastorate of the Milan, Illinois, United Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Hal N. Banks, then Pastor of Christ United Presbyterian Church, Lakewood, California, was called as the first full time Pastor of the yet unorganized church.
The new Pastor arrived in Anchorage on May 28, 1960, and conducted the first worship service on May 29, 1960. The attendance was eight adults and twelve children. The attendance of the Sunday Church School was eighty-three.
Looking toward organization of the church, the Steering Committee was brought together by the Pastor for the first time on October 20, 1960. The committee was composed of: Miss Mary Jane Hargrove (Landstrom), Mrs. Richard (Rozann) Kimpton, Mrs. Kenneth Hartzberg, and Mr. Fred Conner.
The church began holding services and Sunday Church School in the Nunaka Valley Elementary School, July 3, 1960.
Immanuel United Presbyterian Church was organized by the Presbytery of the Yukon in an Organization Service conducted by an Administrative Commission appointed by the Presbytery of the Yukon, Synod of Washington, in the Nunaka Valley Elementary School on May 21, 1961. Those participating in the service of organization were: The Organizing Pastor, the Rev. Hal N. Banks, the Rev. Bert Bingle (Presiding Pastor), Miss Alice Green (Chairman, National Missions Committee), and Elder George Carrick, First Presbyterian Church, Anchorage.
Charter members of Immanuel Presbyterian Church included the following:
Donna Victor Bennett (Mrs. Jewell),
John Ellis Jones,
Robert Aleck Jones,
Kathleen Harris Lofgren (Mrs. Wayne),
Jean Roepke Reinke (Mrs. John),
Herbert Brown Richardson,
Margaret Pierce Richardson (Mrs. Herbert),
Lillian Collins Jones (Mrs. Robert),
Fred Clate Conner,
Agnes Cole Schmitz,
Richard Gene Kimpton,
Rozann Macon Kimpton,
Joan Forney Wilson (Mrs. Stanley),
Louise Lofgren Hartzberg (Mrs. Kenneth Augustsson),
Walter Ervin Jerde,
Mary Jane Hargrove (Mrs. Frank Landstrom),
Virginia Wheeler Banks (Mrs. Harold), and
Muriel Seely Urban (Mrs. Victor).
The first class of Elders elected for Immanuel United Presbyterian Church included the following:
Fred Clate Conner,
Mary Jane Hargrove,
Louise Lofgren Hartzberg,
Agnes Cole Schmitz, and
Rozann Macon Kimpton.
In addition, Joan Forney Wilson was elected Treasurer-Financial Recording Secretary.
A manse was purchased in August of 1960 in the College Park Subdivision. The Pastor and his family moved in on August 31, 1960.
The Nunaka Valley property was sold by the Board of National Missions on September 16, 1962.
Five acres of land were purchased by the Board of National Missions at 24th Avenue and Boniface Parkway in November, 1960. The cost of $10,000.
Ground was broken on September 3, 1961, for a $60,000 multi-purpose building. Mr. Edwin Crittenden was the architect.
The first unit was completed by the Ken Brady Construction Company in December, 1961.
The First worship service held in the new edifice was a Candlelight Communion Service on Christmas Eve, 1961.
In the beginning, Immanuel United Presbyterian Church was a mission church, supported financially by the Presbyterian denomination. Monies were received directly from the denomination, made possible, in part, by gifts from sponsoring churches. These included the following:
Gaston Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA; Prospect Street Presbyterian Church, Trenton, NJ; First Presbyterian Church, Saginaw, Michigan; St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Mattapan, MA; First Presbyterian Church, Findlay, OH; Calvary Presbyterian Church, Wyncote, PA; Yale Avenue Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, OK; Shady Lane Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH; The First Presbyterian Church, Hazelton, PA; First Presbyterian Church, Carbondale, IL; Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, Williamsport, PA; Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church, Snow Hill, MD; Trafford Presbyterian Church, Trafford, PA; and Inglewood Presbyterian Church, Bothell, WA.
Sometime in the early 1960s, Immanuel became self-supporting. This meant that they were now financially independent; on their own; and would start giving back to the denomination what had been given to them. They could now become a sponsoring church.
In 1965, Immanuel made application for a grant/loan in the sum of $100,000 with which to begin building additional facilities. These facilities would become the education wing of the church, which now includes classrooms, our library, the Chapel, and the office. This money was made possible through the denomination's Fifty Million fund. Sponsoring churches designated this sum of money for use in expansion of local churches' facilities. The grant/loan was approved, and ground was broken in 1968. Preliminary structural work was done by contractors, with the church's own members supplying the labor and hard work to finish the interior.
Also in 1965, the first classes of the Seminary of the Church (SOTC) were held. This was and continues to be a very special and unique ministry at Immanuel - an ecumenical center for adult study. Opportunity is provided to investigate not only the nature and relevance of the Christian faith, but sources of truth that are found in the world's living religions, philosophies, and the various academic disciplines wherever the search may lead. It is a fellowship of learning.
The SOTC is a center that provides opportunity for the student to gain understanding of himself as he seeks to develop his particular lifestyle.
The SOTC is a center that provides the tools, the direction and the encouragement that will enable the student to express his growing faith in the world in which he lives.
Persons attending the classes and events of the SOTC have always been encouraged to be candid; to express their beliefs or lack of them; to speak up, ask questions, and to "discover" and think for themselves.
SOTC instructors have come from a variety of backgrounds and lifestyles, and have all been highly qualified, bringing with them a wide variety of topics and classes throughout the years.
In Immanuel's first 25 years, there were only two full time pastors. The Rev. Hal N. Banks served in our pulpit from June 1, 1960 until he retired July 31, 1980 and moved to Roswell, New Mexico. A committee was formed after that to find a new pastor for our church. It took some time, but the committee finally found the best man for the job. The Rev. Richard Madden was called, accepted, and became the new pastor on March 29, 1981. The Rev. Richard Madden transferred to Inland Empire Presbytery February 15, 1990 to accept a pastorate in Spokane.
So...this was the end of our first quarter of a century...but it is really was only the beginning...so much more can and did happen!! We've come a long way...from a school room to our own property and facilities...from a mission church to a self-supporting church...with God's love and guidance, and the support and hard work of each and every member of this congregation, we can go another 25 years ...looking forward to bigger and better things in the future!!
Since the above essay was written over 25 years ago, a lot has happened at Immanuel! We had ebbs and flows in membership, the arrivals and departures of several pastors, changes in church leadership, participation in many outside mission activities and much, MUCH more!
We were blessed with the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dianne O'Connell, Rev. Jay Olson Ketchum, Rev. John Carey, Rev. Karen Lipinczyk, Rev. Susan Knight, and our current pastor, Rev. Ellen Johnson-Price.
There were times when we were without a pastor, and we were blessed with the lay leadership of many of our members, as well as the pastoral leadership of many retired pastors that call Immanuel home. We thank Rev. Dan Ketchum, Rev. Ian MacInnes Green, Rev. Kim MacInnes Green, Rev. Dwayne Cole, Rev. Howard Bess and many more, for their willingness to step in and lead us in worship services over the years.