In 1852, Indianapolis was still a small city. It was here that the First Reformed Church was formed. It was located on Alabama Street across from the courthouse. Immanuel is a daughter of this first congregation.
As more and more German immigrants moved to the south side of the city, it was decided to begin a new church and it was named Immanuel Reformed Church. The year was 1880. In December of that year, the current property at South East Street and Prospect was purchased for a church and parsonage. Six months after creating this new congregation, membership had grown from 40 to 125.
As the congregation continued to grow it was decided to build a new church which was completed and dedicated in October 1894. That building is still used today as the main sanctuary.
All services were conducted in the German language until 1911, when the transition to English began with Sunday school instruction. It wasn’t until 1926 that the congregation voted to conduct all services and meetings entirely in English.
Over the next several decades additional changes were made to the church. An Educational Building was added in 1927 to house the Sunday school, a kitchen, a fellowship hall, an office, and restrooms. In the late 1940’s a new pipe organ was installed and is still used today. Major renovations were made to the sanctuary in 1951 and again in 1989. An addition was added to the rear of the sanctuary and dedicated in 2002. A chapel, offices, nursery, multi-purpose room, elevator, restrooms, and Sunday school office completed this addition.
In 2018, the sanctuary was again renovated, creating platforms for the center of the altar area to accommodate large groups, dramas, and children’s programs. Audio-visual effects were created and projected near the altar for use during services. Also, fewer pews were used to give the sense of togetherness.
Today, the 200+ member congregation provides numerous civic and social activities for the surrounding community just south of downtown Indianapolis.