Immanuel’s roots go back to the early 1840’s 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 and 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 is now First Presbyterian Church.
In 1867, the “German Church” called upon Rev. Jesse Guernsey, the Iowa Superintendant for Congregational Churches, for assistance in forming a German Congregational church. The attempt failed for reasons unknown.
            However, there remained enough interest that a church was built under the direction of Superintendant Guernsey. 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.
            The rev. Herman Ficke was called as the first pastor. He arrived in 1868 and was no doubt expecting to find an organized and active church. What he found was a church with a membership of seven adults and two children, a small unfinished building with a few loose benches, a rusty stove, and a debt of some $1,200.
            Pastor Ficke’s personal motto was “A Christian is a man who can wait.” As he waited, he worked, and within twenty years Pastor Ficke built a congregation which outgrew the building.

The Church Expands…
            A new church was built in 1887 just two blocks from the original structure and it remains there today, at the corner of 18th and Jackson Streets.
            As the church membership grew the new building was expanded and improved. In 1906, a pipe organ was purchased and dedicated.
            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.
            The year 1931 saw the merger of the Congregational Churches, and the Christian Churches, into the Congregational Christian Churches.
            In 1943, the house at 1737 Jackson Street was purchased as a parsonage. Soon after, in the sanctuary symbols of the Christian Church were painted on the arch at the entrance to the chancel, and symbols of the apostles were painted around the stained-glass window.
            In 1945, a special evening service was held to burn the mortgage from the latest church addition.
            In 1957, the Congregational Christian Churches merged with the Evangelical and reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ, and 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 1960’s and the steeple was removed.
            The church was made handicapped accessible in the 1980’s 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.
Immanuel has, indeed, enjoyed a long history of ministry, growth, activities, and accomplishments.