“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). So says our Lord Jesus, who is also called Immanuel, meaning God with us. God has indeed been with Immanuel, whose house of worship was dedicated in July 1908 to provide a place of worship for the Lutherans who lived in Okawville in a time when travel was difficult. Having a church in town made it easier to gather without having to travel to the nearest rural congregations like Ebenezer or Olive Branch. What matters most is that God is with us as the Giver around whose gifts we gather. He gives us forgiveness, life, and salvation through his Word and Sacraments. We respond with words and deeds of thanks and praise.
Right from the start, Immanuel established a parochial school to provide a Christ-centered education in and for this community. Students from preschool through eighth grade benefit from its outstanding programs which prepare them for life, both here and in eternity. Our school enjoys full accreditation under the high standards of National Lutheran School Accreditation. Our students use their God-given abilities to achieve academic success and athletic achievement. Since the beginning of this century, Immanuel has also operated the Wee Care, a Christian childcare facility that provides before and after school care to school-aged children as well as full-day childcare for children aged fifteen months and up.
In our community and in our church, hard work is highly valued. We also know the value of resting on God’s promises, so that we are refreshed and renewed to do our daily work in the world. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We remain works in progress; God isn’t finished with us yet. “He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).