Immanuel Lutheran Church is a multigenerational, gospel-centered, caring, inclusive, and welcoming community that offers a friendly worship environment
We are an active, small to mid-sized city congregation located in the heart of the North Adelaide café and shopping district. Our worship services are a blend of both contemporary and traditional elements.
Our congregation welcomes people of all denominational and cultural backgrounds.
Immanuel Lutheran Church is located in North Adelaide and was founded in 1930 as a mission-outreach congregation and to serve the needs of the students and staff of the Immanuel Seminary and Immanuel College. The first pastor, Dr J.J. Stolz, worked part-time. His other position was that of General President (Bishop) of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia.
From inception, services were held in both English and German and pastors called to the congregation were expected to be bilingual. After the end of the Second World War, a large number of European migrants strengthened the German speaking service, and a Polish language service was also added. The congregation became active in helping migrants resettle in Australia and two other congregations were started in the Western and Northern Suburbs of Adelaide. It was not until the late 1980s that the congregation called its first English language only pastor, as bilingual pastors were becoming difficult to find and there were a number of retired clergy who were able to take the German services. Sunday morning German services remained well attended, and Sunday morning English service often required the placement of extra chairs along the aisle and at the front of the church to accommodate the congregation, while Sunday evenings came to attract mainly young adults.
After about 20 years of meeting in the old Methodist church building on Tynte Street, the congregation constructed a new building, designed by one of its young members, [Sir] Eric von Schramek, who went on to design a number of other churches around South Australia.
From the 1950s through the 1970s the congregation had a very large and active youth group (which started in 1937). There were youth table tennis competitions regularly taking place in its hall.
Today, the congregation, like many others, is not as large as it was in the 1950s and 1960s, but it remains vibrant. There are still German language services held twice a month; there is still an active youth and children’s ministry; and there is still a focus on mission and outreach. We are in a process of transformation with many exciting opportunities to shape the future of our congregation and ministry.
Pastors who have served Immanuel Congregation
Dr J.J. Stolz served between 1930-1935 and 1940-1943
Rev Edwin Wiencke served for three years, from 1936, until his death in 1939
Reverend Alfred Freund Zinnbauer (1940), who later became one of the great home missionary pastors of the Lutheran church in the post war period, had recently arrived in Australia, having fled Germany as he was of Jewish descent, served for three months. Ironically, after fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany, after three months of service at Immanuel, he was placed in an internment camp by the Australian government on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathiser.
Reverend Henry Proeve (1943-1950). This was Pastor Proeve’s first call out of seminary and in his retirement years he again served the congregation by regularly leading German services.
Reverend O.H. Adler (1950-1952). Pastor Adler came to Immanuel from Queensland, but after just 2½ years, accepted a call to return to Queensland.
Reverend Karl Hartmann (1953-1968). Pastor Hartman has been to date the longest serving pastor of Immanuel and it was during his time that the present church building and later the church hall was built. It was also during his ministry that the German speaking Trinity congregation, which had met at St Stephen's in the city of Adelaide, joined the Immanuel German congregation.
Reverend Carl Pfitzner (1968-1971). Pastor Pfitnzer came to Immanuel toward the end of his ministry and served the congregation for three years, until his retirement.
Reverend J.H. Biar (1972-1984). Under Pastor Biar the congregation purchased a Collins pipe organ from England. Pastor Biar was also asked to take over the ‘provisional’ oversight of German services in 1977 at the Bethlehem congregation. The two German-speaking congregations in Adelaide have been sharing pastoral services since that time.
Reverend John Pfitnzer (1984-1990). Pastor Pfitzner was the son of Reverend Carl Pfitzner and served the congregation until he took up a position as senior editor at Open Book Publishers.
Reverend David Schulz (1991-1994). Pastor Schulz served the congregation for three years and was known as a very dynamic preacher and leader. He resigned due to ill health shortly before his death, and is still much missed not only his family, but by the congregation.
Reverend Paul Smith (1995-2002). Pastor Smith had an active interest in student ministry and served the congregation until taking a call to serve as a college chaplain in Queensland. He is currently serving as the Lutheran bishop of Queensland.
Reverend Ian Lutze (2002-2012). Pastor Lutze, after serving the congregation for a decade, took up the challenge of institutional chaplaincy at the Repatriation Hospital. He and his family have remained members at Immanuel.
Reverend Roger Whittall (2012-2015). Pastor Whittall initially agreed to serve Immanuel as interim pastor for six months, but was persuaded to remain for three years, until his retirement.
Reverend Dr Mark Worthing (2015-present). Pastor Worthing served previously as a lecturer and later researcher at Australian Lutheran College and as lecturer and Dean at Tabor College. After two decades as an academic, Pastor Worthing has felt a call to return to parish ministry.