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Our Mission, Vision & History

  We invite you to gather with us to participate in worship and fellowship, in ministries and other events and occasions.

Our Mission:

We love, serve, and gather in Christ.

Our Vision:

  Empowered by God, we will be instruments of the Holy Spirit's inspiration and passion to:

1. GROW in faith by broadening our spiritual horizons

2. SUPPORT each other by cultivating a sense of belonging

3. SHARE Jesus' love by being good neighbors in the community.

Adopted 12/8/13



Our History

   After World War II a number of Lutheran families who settled on the west side of Indianapolis found that the only congregation of the American Lutheran Church in the city was St. Matthew (1930) on the east side; and so, while they attended St. Matthew, they hoped for the creation of an ALC congregation nearer their homes.

   When Pastor Carl N. Busse arrived at St. Matthew, he took an active interest in starting a new congregation on the west side of Indianapolis. In May, 1946, twelve members of St Matthew canvassed the Mickleyville and Ben Davis areas to assess membership potential. Subsequently, on July 7, 1946, 18 persons attended the new Mickleyville Sunday School held in Ed and Hazel Tangman’s garage at 612 South Ingomar Avenue.

   During the summer and fall the weekly Sunday School continued to draw interest and there was a desire to begin midweek sessions for catechetical study. Because there was no other available site Tangman’s garage was insulated and heated, and in November Pastor Busse began weekly catechetical classes. As interest and attendance increased, the garage was inadequate, to say the least.

   On February 12, 1947, Faith Lutheran Church was officially organized and the new congregation began searching for more suitable quarters. The following June 14th, the congregation purchased 2.5 acres at 6047 West Morris Street. Soon afterward, the congregation purchased an adjoining acre, which included 140 feet of frontage on Washington Street. The purchase of the additional property was part of a plan to eventually erect a church building nearer Washington Street, which, as US 40, was a major east-west highway.

   On the West Morris Street property stood a large two-story farm house. The main floor would be used for worship. The pastor’s personal space would be the upstairs as well as the kitchen and dining room.

   The first Sunday school in the house occurred on July 20, 1947, using the kitchen and the enclosed back porch, both spaces already inadequate. That afternoon, Pastor Busse and pastor F.J. Klopfer installed Andrew J. Klopfer as the first pastor of Faith in a service attended by 114 people.

   The lack of suitable space for Sunday school and the need for space for organization meetings and a garage prompted the decision to add an outbuilding. The congregation received permission to erect a structure to serve the recognized needs. Several members combined their skills and trades and constructed a concrete-block building, which was ready in December for the Christmas program.

   Meanwhile, work had been going on to remodel the house’s main floor to provide a more suitable worship space, with a dossal curtain and a proper altar, gifts from a church in Staunton, Indiana.

   The charter membership roll was closed on December 31, 1947, with 22 confirmed and 34 baptized members.

   Pastor Klopfer left the congregation on December 1, 1948. His successor, Pastor George Probst, was installed July 24th the following year.

   Work began on March 30, 1950, to enlarge the recreational building and erect a tower so that the structure could serve as a church building. At completion, the two-story tower served as the new entryway and also held a German-made bell, which had been received as a gift from the congregation in Staunton, Indiana. The first worship in the remodeled building occurred on June 18, 1950, and it was dedicated on the following November 19th.

   Accepting a Call to a Venice, Ohio, congregation, Pastor Probst left on March 28, 1951. On October 7, Pastor Arnold G. Raabe was installed.

   In late 1950, the congregation was informed that the Indiana State Highway Department had surveyed the property because it was in or near the proposed path of the new interstate freeway. After more than two years of waiting to hear of a decision and a few trips downtown, the congregation was notified in April, 1953 that the highway department had established a definite route for I-465, and that route would require all of Faith’s property. The final settlement with the state was completed in December of that year. The congregation chose a new site not far away at South High School Road and Gregory Drive. On the property was a ranch-style house with a full basement. This structure was dedicated as a parsonage on October 17, 1954.

   Funds for a new church building came from the highway department for the Morris Street property, a loan from the Mission Board of the ALC, and a gift from Faith’s “mother” congregation—St. Matthew. The congregation broke ground on the same day it dedicated the parsonage. The cornerstone was laid on January 30, 1955.

   The final worship service in the old church building was on May 29, 1955. The church bell was subsequently removed from the tower and installed in the new building, which was dedicated on June 5, 1955, completing the series of events of change that had begun in late 1950.

   February 12, 1957 marked the 10th Anniversary. A service of celebration recalled the journey of Faith during the preceding ten years.

   Pastor Raabe accepted a call to Stockton, Illinois, on June 14, 1959. That same month, Rodney Willeke, yet a seminary student, accepted a Call, and was installed as pastor after graduation from seminary.

   In 1967, the congregation called for bids for an educational wing comprising ten classrooms, a parlor, a nursery, an office, and a pastor’s study. On May 7, 1967, the congregation accepted a bid from Sheppard Construction, Inc. for the project. Construction began in June and was completed less than a year later. The congregation dedicated the new addition on May 5, 1968.

  Faith congregation celebrated its 25th Anniversary the weekend of February 12-13, 1972. Several former pastors attended the Saturday dinner and the Sunday worship service of thanksgiving. In a letter to the congregation recalling the earlier years, Pastor Arnold Raabe commented on the relocation of 1953-54.

   “In regard to the relocation, Arndt Weidner and I went down to the Highway Department many times to find out whether a decision had been made, or would soon be made, in regard to where 465 would go. We stood and watched them draw the plans, had the cloverleaf explained to us, and all but drew the plans ourselves, but we couldn’t hurry the decision. Even the fact that Arndt knew Gov. Schricker (and we let them know about it) didn’t help us any.”

   Pastor Willeke accepted a Call to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in December, 1973. The congregation issued a Call to Pastor Marvin Wittkopf of Wabash, Indiana, that same month. To fulfill the need for a new parsonage, the congregation, in January, 1974, approved the purchase of a nearby house to serve that purpose. Pastor Wittkopf accepted the Call that same month and on the following February 28th became the first resident of the new parsonage.

  In February, 1982, the congregation accepted the 35th Anniversary Fund Pledge Challenge and set a five-year goal of $39,000, with the condition that the first $2,000 would be sent to Lutheran Community in Christ in Columbus.

   In 1988, after 14 years of service to the congregation, Pastor Wittkopf accepted the position of assistant to Bishop Ralph A. Kempski of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In May of that year, Pastor Joel R. Vogel, then at St. John Lutheran Church, Hammond, Indiana, accepted Faith’s Call, and was installed.

  Also in 1988, the congregation secured a loan from Lutheran Brotherhood for a remodel of the church building. Of the loan amount, a tenth was divided among and given to three new missions of the ELCA. The remodel project provided new carpeting, paint, reconstruction of the pews, a revamped chancel, air conditioning, a new organ and piano, and a paved parking lot.

   The year 1997 marked Faith’s 50th Anniversary.

   Pastor Vogel announced his retirement in May, 1999, and remained a member of the congregation. Pastor John W. Kost, then at Trinity Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, Indiana, accepted Faith’s Call and began his ministry at Faith in August, 2000.

   The year 2006 was a momentous one for the congregation. After much prayer, study, conversation, and discussion, the congregation voted to sell the South High School Road facilities and relocate to Avon. In May, the congregation secured a mortgage from Thrivent Financial for the purchase of 35 acres on C.R. 100 North in Avon.

   The congregation negotiated a contract sale of the South High School Road property in May, 2008. At the last worship service on July 20, the congregation celebrated the preceding years of ministry at that site. The guest preacher for the occasion was Pastor Rodney Willeke.

   The buyer of the South High School Road property informed the congregation in March 2009 that it would not be fulfilling the sale contract, and vacated the property in May, at which time it was put back on the market.
The following year, on February 19, one week after the 63rd Anniversary, the congregation closed on the sale of the property. The net assets of the sale were sufficient to pay off the mortgage on the C.R.100 property.

   The congregation’s first quarters in Avon were in a multi-story office building on US 36 from July, 2008 to March, 2011. The congregation is currently located in a multi-use building just off US 36 on Cobblestone Springs Drive, and continues to study areas of ministry focus before committing its efforts to build on the C.R. 100 property.

   One of the congregation’s historical artifacts—the German church bell—was removed in 2010 from the deconsecrated building on South High School Road, and was put into storage to await placement in its next home.

Membership as of 12/31/2011: baptized—203, confirmed—124, communing—87

Members entering Lutheran ministry: none

PASTORS SERVING FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH

Andrew Klopfer............1947—1948
George Probst.............1949—1951
Arnold Raabe...............1951—1959
Rodney Willeke............1959—1973
Marvin Wittkopf............1974—1988
Joel Vogel....................1988—1999
John Kost.....................2000—2012
Emily Wiles..................2014—2017
Joshua Burkholder .....2017—PRESENT

 






 

 

 


Faith Lutheran Church • 5706 E. County Road 100 N • Avon, IN • 46123 • (317) 272-10222