History of Immanuel United Methodist Church
Prior to 1871, religious services in Townsend, Delaware were held in members’ homes. On June 20, 1871 a frame church was constructed and dedicated on September 14, 1871. This frame church served as the church building until the present sanctuary was built. In 1878, Townsend was made a “station” and the congregation was recognized as a part of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Planning for the present sanctuary of Immanuel United Methodist church began before 1900 and on October 1, 1900 a one-acre lot and a seventy-foot lot were purchased from the Ginn family at a cost of $400. The money for this purchase was raised on a single Sunday morning. On April 5, 1901, the Board of Trustees met to decide whether to repair the old frame church or begin the process of constructing a new sanctuary. In 1903 the name of the church was changed from Emmanuel to Immanuel. The cornerstone for Immanuel’s new sanctuary was laid on September 10, 1902. The church was build by George Larimore of Seaford at a cost of $12,600. Eleven years later the parsonage was added at a cost of $30,000. The sanctuary was officially dedicated on May 3, 1903 when the Rev. John Beauchamp was pastor of the church. Immanuel is an example of high Victoria architecture, creating a sense of the past while borrowing details from a variety of styles.
Immanuel windows were installed when the sanctuary was built in 1903 and are rated among the most beautiful in the area. Tiffany and Company in New York created the window glass at a cost of $92,000.
In 1870, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company gave a bell to the church that had been used by the railroad to inform people about the arrival and departure of trains. Sadly the bell was lost and not found until the 1970’s. During the time the bell was lost another bell was purchased and installed in the steeple of the church, that bell is still in use today.
In 1910 Mr. William Salmon presented the Baptismal Font as a memorial to his parents. On August 14, 1910 the first baptism took place in the church. In 1947 through the generosity by many a pipe organ was installed.
The present sanctuary was renovated in 1934 at a cost of $1,900 and again in 1952 at a cost of $10,300. In 1961 construction began on the educational wing of the church including Fellowship hall. The project was completed in 1963 at a cost of $68,000. Since the last large construction project in 1953 other small projects and maintenance has been completing including the addition of a handicapped ramp, air conditioning and carpet. During the past year the construction of an updated garage for the parsonage was completed. This small addition adds a lot to the visual affect of the church.