Church of Change: A History of the Calumet Region’s Oldest Lutheran Church

Primary Submission Contact

Journey Holland

Faculty Sponsor

Allison Schuette

Faculty Sponsor Email Address



Arts and Sciences

Document Type

Poster Presentation


Fall 10-25-2019


Built in 1868 and organized in 1870, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gary, Indiana is the oldest Lutheran church in the Calumet Region. The church has a long history of being at the forefront of addressing important issues such as education and the changing demographics of Gary during the 1960’s period of white flight. Beginning in the 1870’s, the church hosted a school for Lutheran education. With support from the congregation and community, the church had a new building and a designated schoolhouse by 1888. Primary documents and images from the church archives reveal ways in which the congregation served the community through the Lutheran school and the church itself. The Ladies’ Aid Society served the country in the 1940s by sewing for the Red Cross and, at its peak, the Vacation Bible School served nearly four-hundred students. In the 1960’s interim pastor Karl Lutze canvassed neighborhoods to recruit new members for the church, an effort he was joined in by their called pastor Norman Brandt.

Keywords: Gary, White Flight, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norman Brandt

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Joy is a senior history major who first gained archival experience through Dr. Ostoyich's archives internship class. Over the summer of 2019, Joy worked with St. John's Lutheran Church in Gary, Indiana, to organize their documents and learn about the church's history. Joy is currently working to create a history of the church for the Flight Paths website.

Additional Presentation Information

Tabletop Poster

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