Emmanuel Episcopal celebrates 150 yearsIt has been 150 years since the first service of Emmanuel Episcopal Church was held in Alexandria. The congregation is celebrating this weekend with a hog roast on Saturday, August 15 and a celebratory Eucharist on Sunday, August 16.
It has been 150 years since the first service of Emmanuel Episcopal Church was held in Alexandria. The congregation is celebrating this weekend with a hog roast on Saturday, August 15 and a celebratory Eucharist on Sunday, August 16.
The public is invited to the Sunday service, which begins at 10 a.m. with special music beginning at 9:40 a.m. The church is located at 12th and Lake Street.
In 1859, the Reverend Henry Benjamin Whipple was consecrated first Missionary Bishop of Minnesota. He came to Alexandria that year and held the first Episcopal service in the trading post, which was also the home of Charles Cook.
Worship services were continued in the Cook home until the stockade was built in 1862. After the Civil War, services were held in a store, which also served as the courthouse.
In 1869, Whipple appointed a building committee, and construction of a church building began later that year, modeled after the English Gothic style of churches. The original church, located at 5th and Fillmore, was consecrated August 31, 1875. In 1871-72, the Norwegian Lutherans were granted the use of the building for temporary worship services.
Emmanuel Church, at its original downtown location, remained the center of worship for Episcopalians and others of the area for many years. Improvements were made from time to time as the congregation and Sunday school grew.
A new church site was purchased in 1965 at 12th Avenue and Lake Street, with groundbreaking May 22, 1966. The cornerstone of the new church building was laid July 24, 1966. In the 1990s, a meditation garden was developed on the church grounds, and a wooden cross was added in 2000. The garden is used for personal meditations, outdoor services, and is available for weddings.
Emmanuel’s members started the Douglas County Food Shelf in 1982, helped the local crisis center provide transitional housing for the abused and vulnerable in Alexandria, has sent a mission team to Honduras to build homes for hurricane victims and has reached out to provide economic support to families in Rwanda.
Sunday services are at 10 a.m. The church is open for coffee every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited. For information, call (320) 763-3201.