What We Do

First Immanuel is seated at a crossroads between the Illinois Medical District and the communities of the Near West Side. Our church family lives both in these immediate areas but also throughout greater Chicagoland. Even so, our church family is deeply invested in our immediate community. Here are a few glimpses:

Migrant Support

Under the leadership of Kathy Kuehner, First Immanuel has launched an initiative to help the migrant families flooding into Chicago. Needed items (new only, please) include: Personal hygiene supplies for men and women including soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, lotion, toilet paper, Kleenex. Baby diapers and wipes of all sizes, baby formula, baby food, baby bath soap. Clean blankets that are in good condition, new pillows, backpacks that are clean and in good condition. Please place donated items in the marked box in the narthex. Money donations should be placed in an offering envelope and marked as “MIGRANTS.”

Crop Walk

Every third Sunday in October, First Immanuel hosts the Chicago Crop Walk to reduce food insecurity. We walk around our community to raise awareness and money. For more information, go to First Immanuel’s Crop Walk page or to http://chicagocropwalk.org. If you’d like to get involved in planning this event, talk with Vicar Anne.

Partner with Other Social Service Organizations

First Immanuel works in partnership with Paw Salvation and the Travis Manion Foundation. We share our facilities and our members volunteer their help with programs and initiatives. If you know of an organization that might benefit from partnering with First Immanuel, share your ideas with Vicar Anne or our President, Carol Emmons.

Stephen’s Ministers/Spiritual Care Visitors

Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation. Spiritual Care Visitors are lay congregation members trained to provide spiritual care to the sick. Talk to Vicar Anne if you have an interest in either one of these ministries.

Children’s Message

Children of all ages are invited to gather in front of the altar every Sunday during Worship to hear the Gospel message interpreted for them in a way they can readily understand.

Second-Sunday Sunday School

Children ages 3-12 are invited to gather in Friendship Hall during the sermon every second Sunday of the month for learning and crafts. For more information, talk to Tracy Howard.

Youth Ministry

First Immanuel provides both faith formation and fellowship activities for our youth (ages 13-17). These include Confirmation preparation, participation in youth gatherings sponsored by the Metro Chicago Synod, attending the ELCA Youth Gathering, and occasional movie nights and basketball games. Contact Ray Gesiakowski if you’d like more information about, or would like to get involved in Youth Ministry at First Immanuel.

Men’s Ministry

Despite the name, this ministry is open to everyone. The Men’s Ministry is primarily a fellowship group that meets 4-5 times a year to work on special projects. The projects include Fall/Spring cleanups of the church grounds, assembling food baskets for families in need at Thanksgiving and collecting toys for needy children at Christmas. Talk to James Wells for more information.


The Elders are responsible for the spiritual health of the congregation. They are also the glue that keeps the members of our congregation feeling connected, both to the church and to one another. Each Elder is invited by the pastor to provide spiritual care to a group of members. Elders reach out at least once a month to the people in their groups and report any special needs or requests to the pastor for follow up. The Elders form a special bond with the people in their care. For more information about Elders, contact Denise Williams.

Legacy Fund Committee

The Legacy Fund Committee manages and works to grow First Immanuel’s endowment to provide long-term support for First Immanuel’s ministries to future generations. If you’d like to make a gift to the Legacy Fund, or would like more information, contact Arif Negiz or Gary Stringer.

Romans 8 Technology Team

Formed during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our congregation connected by livestreaming Worship, this ministry takes its name from Romans 8:39. Its mission has since grown to include all things technology related. Training is provided. Contact Rebeca Covarrubbias to see how you can get involved in this essential ministry.

Church Council

The Church Council is comprised of the Pastor, the five Officers of the Church (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Financial Secretary and Secretary of the Church Council) and members-at-large. Members of the Church Council are elected by the Voters’ Assembly of the Congregation at the March Voters’ Meeting. The Church Council meets monthly via Zoom, and all meetings are open (see the Events calendar). At the present time, the office of Secretary of the Church Council is vacant. If you have an interest in the Church Council, talk with our President, Carol Emmons.


Anyone who loves to proclaim the joy of our Lord in song can join our choir. No audition necessary. Just show up to Sunday Worship, locate the choir in the back of the church near the piano, and introduce yourself to the others seated there. Be sure to also introduce yourself to our choir director, Ms. Yvonne Tabb, and our organist, Mr. George E. Manning, III.

Communion Assistants

Communion assistants help with the distribution of Holy Communion during Sunday Worship. Training is provided. Contact Janet Crawford for more information.

Altar Care Committee

This ministry involves caring for and changing the altar linen and paraments in keeping with the liturgical calendar. Contact Carol Emmons if you are interested in joining this sacred ministry.


Youth and adults serve by lighting candles during worship. They bring the light of Christ to our service. Being an acolyte is a great way for young people, ages 10-18, to actively participate in Worship. Talk to Vicar Anne if you, or someone you know, is interested in becoming an acolyte.