Who We Are:The campus ministry of the Indiana District, LCMS, at Purdue.
Primary Focus:Serving students and others at Purdue and helping them grow in Christ.
Primary Belief:Forgiveness and salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, centered in God’s Word, the Bible.
- Regular worship around Word and Sacraments
- Bible Studies
- Service to the community and the needy
- Fun activities with others
- Speakers and workshops for Christian learning
- International ministry and English conversation
- A safe place to ask questions and learn more about Christianity
A History of Service:
University Lutheran Church has been a campus church since 1945 and has been at 100 S. Chauncey since 1951. We are the campus ministry of the Indiana District, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, at Purdue University. We exist to serve the campus community, and particularly the students at Purdue.
Our church is made up largely of students. We have and we welcome people from the community to worship with us and be members; but our primary focus is upon students and the campus. Most of our activities are geared for students, and most of our church officers are students.
As a Lutheran church, we gather around God’s Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Our primary teaching is that God has a rescue plan for our sinful world, centered in the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ. All of us need the forgiveness and new life and hope that come by grace (undeserved love) of God through faith in Jesus Christ, as revealed to us in and through God’s Word, the Bible.
Who is Welcome?
Anyone who’d like to visit with us is welcome. While our focus is on students, community people are welcome, too.
International students are also welcome to visit University Lutheran at any time. We would be happy to show you what a Christian church is like and answer your questions, with no pressure or obligation. We also have English Bibles, dictionaries, and Bibles in a variety of languages available free for you. Stop by the church to receive one or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We seek to help people to be:
- Rooted in Christ
- Growing in Christ
- Sharing Christ
We therefore offer weekly Sunday worship, as well as midweek services during Advent and Lent. We offer Bible studies throughout the week, and we have activities just for fun and fellowship with others and for service to the needy in our community. Our pastor is available to talk with people about spiritual concerns and other problems.
We are unashamedly a Lutheran church with conservative Biblical teachings, but welcome anyone who would like to join us for our worship and activities. We try to provide a safe environment for asking whatever questions you have about the Christian faith and the Lutheran church. We want to be of help! Feel free to contact us for more information; or just visit us any time!
More on Our History...
University Lutheran Church was organized in 1945 to serve the Purdue campus and the West Lafayette community, sponsored by St. James Lutheran, Lafayette, and our District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The congregation worshipped in rented facilities in the Village until the church building was constructed and dedicated in 1951, long before Chauncey Hill Mall ever existed!
The first pastor was E.P. Weber, who served from 1945-1959 and went on to become Dr. Weber and President for many years at Concordia College, Portland, OR. (Dr. Weber was called to eternal life on June 21, 2010, in Oregon.)
In the 1950s, the decision was made to “spin off” the resident members of University Lutheran and to start a “town” church in West Lafayette—Redeemer Lutheran. University Lutheran remained the “gown” church, focusing on students and the campus.
A number of vicars served University Lutheran in the earlier years; and God blessed the efforts of Pastor Weber, Vicar G. H. Mendelman, and others, as a second church was started out of University Lutheran—Holy Cross in Crawfordsville, IN.
Pastor R.F. Rehmer came in 1958 and served the church for more than thirty years, until his retirement in 1988. (Pastor Rehmer was called to his eternal home in 2005.) He guided the congregation through the stormy years of the 1960s and the Vietnam era and struggles in the LC-MS.
Funds were raised for a Schlicker pipe organ, and it was dedicated in 1967. The organ reflected a continuing interest in church music in the congregation. Many students have had an opportunity to learn and grow as organists and directors and musicians and singers in the choir, through the years. The congregation was blessed to have as organist for a number of years, Dr. Robert Hawkins, who later went on to be a seminary professor of music and liturgy.
The congregation has had only one assistant pastor, Lynn Podoll, who served from 1976-1985, together with Pastor Rehmer. Pastor Podoll was especially gifted in drama ministry and directed many plays and a touring group of students, during his time at University Lutheran. For about 20 years, the Indiana District also held part-ownership in the Christian Ministry Center and had offices there. Pastor Podoll worked from that location, primarily.
In 1988, Pastor Rehmer retired; and Pastor Jim Barton served the congregation from 1989-2013. During Pastor Barton's years at University Lutheran, there was an emphasis on expanding Bible studies and small groups. The congregation has done much more with international ministry in recent years, as well, with a Korean ministry and a Chinese ministry and participation by a variety of other internationals. Pastor Eun-Kyoo Cho and Pastor Edmund Lim assisted with these ministries for a time; and from 2002-2012, Toby Schmidt was commissioned as a full-time Campus Missionary to the Chinese, working from the church.
Following Pastor Barton's retirement, the congregation was served by an interim pastor, Rev. Kenneth Kueker, until the installation of our current pastor, Rev. Justin Herman, on August 24, 2014. Pastor Herman has brought a renewed emphasis on outreach to students, implementing an LCMS U Bible study group and the Resident Fellow program, to replace the "church mice."
The congregation has been working, also, to refurbish its 50 year-old building—to keep its “classic” look, but also to make the facility more functional. The basement and offices were remodeled, and in the summer of 2002, the entire building was re-roofed and a lightning rod system installed. Most recently, the church lounge was completely redone, and was re-dedicated in 2009 as the Rev. Dr. R.F. Rehmer Memorial Library.
In 2014, the congregation launched its "Immeasurably More" capital campaign to raise funds to renovate the pastor's and secretary's offices into gathering spaces, redesign the parking lot, and construct a two story handicap-accessible addition with restrooms and offices. The church commemorated 70 years in the ministry and celebrated the groundbreaking for the building project on November 8, 2015.
ULu on the Move...In May 2016, the Indiana District Board of Directors voted to move University Lutheran Church, and the Indiana District has subsequently completed an agreement to purchase a new location for our ministry: the former Exponent building at 460 Northwestern Avenue. Located in the heart of Purdue University’s campus, the new location will greatly increase ULu’s visibility and establish multiple opportunities for expanded outreach to university students.
The goal is to pursue the projected move carefully but quickly and formally launch the new University Lutheran in the Fall of 2017, just in time for the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. For details about the upcoming move, click here.