A New Roof for Immanuel

"With Joy and Thanksgiving"


A New Roof for Our Church and Steeple

Below is part of a scanned document from our archives on how our church came to be built.

Since our beautiful church building first opened its doors in 1886, each generation of congregants, whether by choice, by challenge, or both, has found a way to make a contribution to its health, sturdiness and future.

We find ourselves no different. In recent years, much has been done in good stewardship of this building, with blessed renovations and repairs and the ongoing maintenance upon which all church activities depend. Now, however, we find it falls to us to see this fine old place of worship through a change that, God willing, occurs hardly more than once in a century.

Archival image of Immanuel Lutheran Church

We do believe our black slate roof to be about one hundred years old. It has naturally required repair at various times during its lifespan. Two years ago, holes were patched which had allowed raindrops to fall into the chancel. We have been advised, however, that such patchwork repair will grow increasingly counterproductive as time continues to pass. The very activity of workmen climbing around on the aging and frail slate cannot but lead to further damage. We were advised then that we should look towards replacing the roof in its entirety within five years, which leaves us presently with three remaining.

We are fortunate to have a good start on the funds needed for such a project, thanks to the blessing of a generous bequest which has been held in reserve for some years with just such a need as this in mind. So our campaign goal is for the balance of what we believe we will need for this job: $350,000. We think that this is attainable and we believe that it should be enough.

The title of our roof campaign resonates well here at Immanuel: "With Joy and Thanksgiving." We have children in our congregation who know that phrase by heart. It comes from the Offertory Prayer we pray so often:

[A] Merciful Father
[C] we offer
with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us -- our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Aye, that's what we do. That is how we have made it through all these years. We remain mindful of God's goodness and seek to lend a hand "with joy and thanksgiving" to divine causes. It might be a humble thing to build a roof, but we need that roof. Our church needs it, and Immanuel Lutheran Church helps keep faith in Christ alive in our city. There is no better purpose.

The ceiling collapse of 1969

Our roof has served us well through all these many decades, through all the changes that have come to our congregation and to our city. When tremors from nearby construction brought down Immanuel's ceiling in 1969, along with resultant destruction in the sanctuary, our roof stood strong, and allowed the congregation of that time (members of which are still with us, thanks be to God) to pick up the pieces and rebuild. So we seek to replace it with another sturdy roof that can last the best part of another century. We want it to be a gift to future generations here at Immanuel. They will not then need to worry about our historic wooden altarpiece being damaged by raindrops, nor our organ being damaged likewise, nor about any such injury from the elements.

Helping us in this fund-raising campaign is the Rev. Michael Meier. He is what is known as a Stewardship Key Leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and is a pastor specially trained for this role. He has already provided a training session for our Leadership Team and preached for us on Sunday, February 28th. He will return to preach again on Sunday, April 25th. That's a big day in this effort, for that is Commitment Sunday, when we ask those who are able to pledge a gift or a schedule of recurring gifts for this roof project. This being a long-term effort, with much planning required, such pledges will enable us to better judge where and when our fund-raising journey may end.

Repairing the wind-blown cross on our steeple

We know that these are tough times, rarely more so than the current time, and we know that individual financial resources vary a great deal. No gift is too small. We will count each gift, large or small, as a high honor and blessing for Immanuel Lutheran Church. This campaign is also an important opportunity to remind ourselves that our stewardship, accompanied indeed by "joy" and "thanksgiving," is a key part of our response to the amazing grace and goodness of God.

Over the course of this campaign, in mailings, in inserts within our Sunday worship folder and in gatherings, there will be more information on our goals and answers to your questions.


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Immanuel Lutheran Church
122 E. 88th Street
New York, NY 10128