Immanuel Lutheran Church was founded in Brandon in 1970 as a result of an ad placed in the local Brandon newspaper on Oct 1, 1969, by Nate and Eunice Kraxberger, who were seeking people interested in beginning a congregation.
After initial organizational meetings, the name Immanuel Lutheran Church was chosen in March 1970, and Rev. James Peter, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Plant City, conducted the first worship service on April 5, 1970, with 91 people in attendance.
Construction of our facilities on John Moore Road started in 1972 with the initial worship center, classrooms, and offices.
Principal Leo Raschke was called to begin Immanuel Lutheran School in September, 1980, with 72 students in grades 1 through 7. Today, we have over 150 students enrolled in an education program that provides Christ-centered instruction in the Lutheran tradition for children from Kindergarten through 8th grade.
In 1982 we built our current worship facility which has a seating capacity of 535. In 1989 we added the Pastor Roger Robinson Family Life Center which houses five classrooms, two locker rooms, a music room, a commercial kitchen, and a 140’ x 80’ gymnasium.
In November 2005, our new daughter — Lamb of God Lutheran Church — started worship services in Lithia, Florida, just a short eight miles away, planted to the glory of God and with His help and blessings. Pastor Wood (previously the Evangelism & Missions Pastor for Immanuel) helped to establish the Lamb of God mission and subsequently accepted a Call from the Lamb of God congregation in March, 2008.
In September, 2007, Immanuel dedicated to the glory of God its new Youth Room, Nursery, a Resource Library, many sanctuary renovations, and an expanded breezeway with drive-thru/drop-off capability.
The Immanuel youth group chose to dedicate the Youth Room to former member Cody Dykes as a lasting memorial to him. Cody died in an automobile accident in 2005 while a student at Riverview High School. During the Dedication Service, Mr Lee Dykes, Cody’s father, spoke movingly to the congregation about his son’s relationship with God and his deep understanding and knowledge of his salvation through Jesus Christ. Henceforth, the room will be known as the Cody L. Dykes Memorial Youth Room. (Coincidentally, Cody’s grandfather, Bob Dykes, was the architect for the original buildings at Immanuel.)
The new facilities and renovations are the culmination of Phase 1 of the three-phase Plowing New Ground Together Plan, started by the Immanuel Voters’ Assembly in August 2003.
Phase 2 of Plowing New Ground Together is now underway with the theme “Forward in Ministry – Sowing The Seed” as part of Immanuel’s Capital Campaign. This phase will result in a new school, a new and expanded preschool facility (our current preschool opened in August, 2008), and a new school administration building.
Today, the people of Immanuel look forward to further growth and the challenges, opportunities and blessings that come with it. As we look to the future and how we may best serve the Brandon community, among our planned ministry goals is to plant four more mission churches in surrounding area, establish a pre-school program on our current campus, and with our sister and daughter churches, support the establishment of a Lutheran High School in the Brandon area.
We invite you to become an active member of the family of Immanuel … to be a part of the next chapter of the history of how Almighty God has blessed us with His grace to His glory