united church of christ


"No matter who you are

or where you are on life's journey,

you are welcome here."



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.

We celebrate the sacrament of Communion on the ​first Sunday of the month.

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


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.


We confess the authority of one God. We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures, the doctrine of justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the principle of Christian freedom. We celebrate two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.


"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."

open and affirming coalition of the United Church of christ

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.)


a group of children holding up a colorful kite


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!

A.R.K.S. stands for Activities, Religion, Kid-style. Open ​to children 4 years old and up, we meet the second Fri​day of each month except January and July. The prog​ram is from 6:30–7:45 p.m. We have a theme each mo​nth with crafts, lessons, games, and snacks. Please c​all the church office for more informati​o​n.

Each year we host a week-long VBS program wit​h a unique fun theme to spread the word of the Lord ​and Jesus to children 4–12 years old. There is a mini​mal fee; however, all children are welcome regardless​ if payment can be made. You do need to call the off​ice to put your child's name on the list. Our youth gr​oup members are helpers during V​B​S.

VBS 2024 will be July 15–19 from 6–8:30 p​.m.

a group of people sitting on a bench together


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 Goo​gle Meet.

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


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


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 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. ​The Upper Room Voices Choir and Handbell Choir are ​directed by Julie Burk and accompanied by Joyce​ Harris.​

Members of these choirs are among the most​ dedicated members of Immanuel, as they rarely miss​ singing or playing for a service, come rain, shine, or​ blizzard. During the harshest of winter Sundays, it's​ not unusual for the choir attendance to be as large as​ the rest of the congregation!​

Upcoming Events

May 202​4

  • A.R.K.S. Meeting: Fri., 5/10 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Confirmation: Sun., 5/19 @ 9:30 a.m.

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



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

Senior Minister

Ken Painter

Administrative Assistant

Michael DeSoto

Financial Analyst

Joyce Harris


Tom Wilborn


Julie Burk

Choir Director

2023–2024 Council Members

Nelda Heller


Pat Daniel

Vice President

Lane Cornforth


Cassie Browning


Eva Sfura

Christian Education

Ginger Graves


Bill Howarth


Jon Hinman


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


Office Hours

Monday–Wednesday, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Thursday, 2–5 p.m.