Immanuel has been a church in search of a future. It wasn’t always that way, since for the most part Immanuel prospered with its community.
In 1910 Waughtown was so far out in the sticks that Mary Ann Blum Libes, a member of Home Church, didn’t know how she was going to get her children to Sunday school. Being a resourceful lady, she solved the problem by bringing the Sunday school to them. She had help from her pastor, J. Kenneth Pfohl, and in short order a regular Sunday school was being conducted in her home.
Since Waughtown was a growing community, it quickly became apparent that a church was needed. A lot was purchased on Peachtree Street in 1911, the cornerstone was laid on April 28, 1912, and the first service in the new church — a prim little chapel built of wood — was on July 28. Organization of Immanuel Moravian Church followed on October 6, 1912.
As Waughtown grew so did Immanuel. Classrooms were added in 1922 and a Sunday school annex in 1931. A parsonage was built in 1947, and Immanuel got its first full-time pastor, Ellis S. Bullins. The congregation launched a major building campaign in the 1950’s with a new Christian education building and a worship/fellowship area, which opened on April 19, 1953. A fine new sanctuary was planned for down the road.
And then in the turbulent 1960’s Immanuel was ripped apart. Opinions hardened on what and how to believe, and a number of members departed. Membership at Immanuel plunged. About this time too the neighborhood began to change. Many of the members still lived in Waughtown, but a number of them had moved to the suburbs and now commuted to church. An attempt was made in 1983 to relocate the church into the Sedge Garden neighborhood between Winston-Salem and Kernersville, but that effort fell through.
From a high membership of 599 in 1959, Immanuel declined to fewer than 180. The congregation, faithful, devoted, determined, clung on, mindful of its rich past, prayerful for its future. And then on October 7, 2002, Immanuel made Southern Province history. After closing services on the day before — its 90th anniversary to the day — it merged with neighboring New Eden to form a new congregation called Immanuel-New Eden Moravian Church.