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Emmanuel's History

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”   - Søren Kierkegaard

The original Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1834. This building also housed the publishing of The Lutheran Standard magazine.

The second Emmanuel Lutheran Church
building, erected in 1870 at 202 East High
Avenue in New Philadelphia. It would include
a clock on its tower.


Emmanuel Lutheran Church, circa 1960s

Even as we look back, we must also look forward. For an insightful Living Lutheran article on the current state of smaller Lutheran congregations, click here.


It was on October 27 of 1831 that licensed preacher Emanuel Greenwald arrived in New Philadelphia, Ohio, after a 12-day journey on horseback from Frederick, Maryland. Though Rev. Greenwald had planned to head further west to begin his ministry, local resident Dr. Samuel Stough persuaded Greenwald to remain in New Philadelphia and serve the many Lutherans scattered throughout Tuscarawas County.

Church services had been held in New Philadelphia since 1808, with various persons leading during the following years. Rev. Greenwald held his first Communion service on January 1, 1832, with only 29 members present. As the congregation quickly grew, it was determined that meeting at the old courthouse would not suffice, and plans were made for a church building. On September 11,1834, the cornerstone was laid for the first church building in New Philadelphia, Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church. It was built at the timely cost of $2,000 and had a seating capacity of 700 people.

In 1842, the Ohio Synod began publication of The Lutheran Standard, first edited in the basement of Emmanuel Lutheran Church by Rev. Emanuel Greenwald. This monthly magazine continued until the merger of 1988, when the ELCA was formed.

In 1870, a newer church structure was built on the current site, at 202 East High Avenue, in New Philadelphia. An annex was added in 1916 and, at this time, its tower was rebuilt and redesigned. In 1970, a fire destroyed the sanctuary and annex, and a new sanctuary and entryway were built in 1970-71. This "third" sanctuary is the current Emmanuel Lutheran Church building. (See photo below at right)


Lutheranism, like other church denominations in America, was brought to this country by the immigrant. Following the Dutch and the Swedes, the next significant Lutheran group to come

In 1916 an annex was added to the church, and its tower was rebuilt and redesigned.

to America was the Germans. In the nineteenth century, Lutheran immigrants established many churches, with the result that Lutheranism arose among several nationality groups, particularly the Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and Finns. Their churches grew and they organized national bodies. Before Emmanuel Lutheran Church became a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1988, it was a part of one of the ELCA's predecessor bodies, the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).

Emmanuel Lutheran has a long and rich history, and has called many pastors and deaconesses in its tenure. It has always existed not for its own sake, but to worship God and to serve God's people in the Tuscarawas County (and beyond).

Emmanuel Lutheran Church – Faith in Action

The third Emmanuel Lutheran Church building,
as it looks today, still at 202 East High Avenue.

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