the interior of a church with stained glass windows

Immanuel

united church of christ

HIGHLAND, INDIANA

“No matter who you are​

or where you are on life's journey,​

you are welcome here.”​

About

a person with their hands up in the air

Worship

Join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Kids’ Church ​is available for children 4 years old through 6th ​grade. For children in grades 7–12, the Youth Group ​meets on the second and fourth Sundays. (Note: Kids’ ​Church and the Youth Group do not meet June–​August.


To learn more about the flow of worship, what songs ​we sing, and sermon topics, check out our Bulletin ​Archive.

a close up of a large metal bell with writing on it

History

Founded in 1890 in Hammond, Indiana, Immanuel ​moved to its present location in 1974 to better serve ​its growing and transient membership. The church ​has a long and storied history starting with German ​immigrants who formed the Immanuel Evangelical ​and Reformed Church. The United Church of Christ ​was formed in 1957 with the union of two Protestant ​denominations, namely the Evangelical and ​Reformed Churches and the Congregational Christian ​Churches. Immanuel is part of the Indiana-Kentucky ​Conference of the UCC. The church has evolved into a ​diverse congregation that believes “God is still​ speaking” to us today.​

united church of christ

Belief​s

To learn more about what we believe, you can read ​the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith, as ​adapted by Robert V. Moss, former president of the ​UCC. You can also read the UCC belief statements.

road to peru

Vision

“We are an intergenerational family of faith committed​ to living the Gospel message of love. Like Jesus, we​ welcome all people unconditionally, and we believe in​ serving God by serving others as we strive to create a​ just world.”​

the interior of a church with stained glass windows

Open and Affirming

“We declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming ​congregation welcoming into the full life and ministry ​of the church persons of every ability, race, culture, ​age, gender identity, gender expression, and ​economic status. We are committed to modeling a ​community of faith and spirit that works toward ​openness and understanding, offering justice, ​healing, and wholeness to the life of all people. We ​believe that through our diversity, all can grow and ​practice a unity of faith that transcends our ​differences. Therefore, in faithfulness to the gospel ​and our United Church of Christ identity, and to the ​best of our ability, we promise to provide programs, ​ministries, and pastoral care to all who seek God in ​this place. We work to ensure all persons are ​welcome and that the church is accessible to all. ​Immanuel United Church of Christ boldly proclaims, ​’No matter who you are or where you are on life's ​journey, you are welcome here.’”​


(Adopted September 11, 2016, by Immanuel United​ Church of Christ.)​

Ministries

a group of children holding up a colorful kite

Children

Our children 4 years old through 6th grade begin ​their Sunday mornings with their parents in church. ​After “Words with Children,” Kids’ Church meets from ​9:45–10:30 a.m. Our current curriculum is called "Dig ​In—Epic Teachings of the Bible" by Group Publishing. ​It includes exciting music videos and teaching videos ​along with the Bible story each Sunday. We hope you ​will join us! (Note: Kids’ Church does not meet June–​August.)


A.R.K.S. stands for Activities, Religion, Kid-style. Open ​to children 4 years old and up, we meet the second ​Friday of each month except January and July. The ​program is from 6:30–7:45 p.m. We have a theme ​each month with crafts, lessons, games, and snacks. ​Please call the church office for more information.


Each year we host a week-long VBS program with a ​unique fun theme to spread the word of the Lord and ​Jesus to children 4–12 years old. There is a minimal ​fee; however, all children are welcome regardless if ​payment can be made. Our youth group members a​re helpers during VBS.


V​BS 2024 will be July 15–19 from 6–8:30 p.m. See the E​vents section for more information.

a group of people sitting on a bench together

Youth

Junior and Senior High age youth (grades 7-12) meet ​twice each month on the second and fourth Sundays. ​On the fourth Sunday, our teaching team will lead the ​group in discussion about Biblical topics and themes. ​On the second Sundays the group will plan and ​engage in fellowship, outings, and mission activities. ​This class is currently meeting in a hybrid format (in ​person and online) on those Sunday mornings from ​9:45–10:30 a.m. Please call the church office if you ​wish to join in via Google Meet. (Note: The Youth ​Group does not meet June–August.)

two individuals sitting at a table with books and a cup of coffee

Adults

Bible study groups at Immanuel are led by Pastor Merlyn and also by church members. In 2022, Pastor led a study about how we as a church will respond to what God is calling us to do. Previous Bible studies have included an Advent series about angels led by Barb Haizlip.

a group of people sitting at a table in a coffee shop

TABEA Women's Guild

TABEA stands for Trust, Ambition, Benevolence, Earnestness, and Almsdeeds.


On October 19, 1893, Tabea Women's Guild was formed. It seemed fitting to be named "TABEA" from the Bible character.


The Guild's purpose is to unite all women of the church in Christian Fellowship, that all may be one: with a program of giving, serving, sharing, and spiritual enrichment.


In the early days, women were involved in garden festivals, box socials, and bazaars, with a multitude of women participating.


As time has passed and membership has lessened, the same purpose still prevails.


Each year a donation is given to an appropriate charity in memory of our honorees, with memorials given in memory of our deceased as occurs.


We continue to donate to various groups in need, such as the sewing and contribution of 35 beautifully crafted quilts in 2019 to people who are homeless in Chicago and regular donations to food pantries.


All Guild members participate in Church Women United of Greater Hammond events each year. Meetings are held from March through December, with no meetings in January and February, with regular meeting dates on the second Thursday of each month in the church. Please come and join us. You'll enjoy the eat-outs, inside picnics, birthday parties and Christmas Gala plus various other activities.

a blessing box with a sign on it that reads "take what you need. leave what you can."

Blessing Box

Together, the Immanuel United Church of Christ and the Griffith First United Methodist Church, have built and are filling a Blessing Box with non-perishable items. This box is located near the entrance to our church building. As Christians, we are called to feed God’s people, and this is our effort to help our immediate neighbors. The blessing box will shelter items from the weather and will never be locked. Neighbors may help themselves to what they need or donate non-perishable items if they can. Take What You Need, Leave What You Can.

a person in a wheelchair and a person walking down the street

Durable Medical Equipment ​Exchange

We accept donations of new or used walkers, ​wheelchairs, bath benches, blood pressure monitors, ​and portable commodes. Donations of unused non-​medical equipment, supplies, and disposable ​undergarments are welcomed. The church does not ​have room to store hospital beds or motorized ​wheelchairs. If you have materials to donate or a ​need for donated items, please call. Leave a message ​if needed and someone will get back to you ASAP. ​Please call 219-924-2100 if you have a need or cannot ​afford to get materials another way. All materials are ​provided free of charge.

shelves filled with food and other items in a food pantry

Greater Hammond Food Pantry

The Greater Hammond Food Pantry (GHFP) serves ​people in Hammond, Highland, Munster, Whiting, ​Lake Station, Griffith, Merrillville, and Hobart by ​feeding those who are hungry.


Immanuel UCC started supporting the GHFP in the ​summer of 2001 by collecting and donating non-​perishable food items. In 2012, monetary donations ​were collected in addition to the food items.


Several people from Immanuel volunteered at GHFP ​to help sort the food donations.


20+ years later, we are still collecting items for GHFP ​thanks to the many thoughtful and loyal supporters.

a glass jar on its side with coins spilling out

Noisy Offering

On the first Sunday of each month, the children of​ Immanuel have designated a charity to be supported​ through the Noisy Offering. The children circulate​ throughout the church during the first hymn. They​ carry colorful pails to collect loose change, thus it is a​ NOISY offering. This collection goes directly to the​ charity of their choice.​

a group of people with music sheets in front of them

Music

The music ministry of Immanuel is comprised of a ​vocal choir and a 3-octave handbell choir for anyone ​of confirmation age or above. The Upper Room ​Voices Choir, which is directed by Julie Burk and ​accompanied by Joyce Harris, sings for both the ​regular Sunday morning services and special services ​during the months of September–May, taking a ​much-needed “vacation” June–August. The Handbell​ Choir plays during church services on a somewhat​ regular basis.​

Upcoming Events

July 2024​


For a complete list of upcoming events, view our ​calendar.

Staff

Personnel

Rev. Merlyn Lawrence, M. Div., M. Soc. Sc.

Senior Minister


Ken Painter

Administrative Assistant


Michael DeSoto

Financial Analyst


Joyce Harris

Organist


Tom Wilborn

Custodian


Julie Burk

Choir Director

2023–2024 Council Members

Nelda Heller

President


Pat Daniel

Vice President


Lane Cornforth

Treasurer


Cassie Browning

Secretary


Eva Sfura

Christian Education


Ginger Graves

Deacons


Bill Howarth

Elders


Jon Hinman

Trustees

Juanita Grantham

Member at Large


JoAn Allen

Member at Large


Debbie Howarth

Member at Large


Rev. Merlyn Lawrence

Ex Officio

2201 Azalea Drive

Highland, IN 46322


219-924-2100

highlandimmanuelucc@gmail.com

Office Hours

Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.