Who We Are

Welcome to Calvary Lutheran Church! — LCMS

Calvary Lutheran Church and School lives under the cross of Christ. From the five crosses that hang in the heart of Calvary’s sanctuary, to those found on the walls of our Christian Day School, our members, students, families, and staff are constantly reminded of the good news that we are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection, because He loves us.

Our MISSION – Why We Exist

Empowered by the love of Jesus Christ, the mission of Calvary Lutheran Church and School (CLCS) is to be about the task of…

Engaging People In Christ
Connecting, Learning, Caring and Serving

Our Core Values

Connecting people to God
in Christ Jesus.
(Relationships, Fellowship,
and Worship)

Jesus said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”   
(John 12:32, 14:6).
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  (Romans 12:5)

Learning the Faith through
the Word of God.
(Personal and
Group Bible Study)

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”   (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

Caring for one another
in Christ’s Name.
(Internal Care of our
Family of Believers)

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”   (1 John 4:7)

Serving others with our
God-given Gifts.
(External Mission & Service to
our Community & the World)

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”   (1 Peter 4:10)

Our STory

It all began back in 1929, when a small group of people canvassed the south side of Indianapolis to assess the interest in starting a new mission church.  Calvary was officially organized on January 21, 1931. Over the years Calvary grew, holding services in a storefront building, acquiring a portable chapel, building a small church at Dudley and Shelby, starting the school in 1950, and expanding through multiple church and school building phases on what is now our Shelby Street campus.  Through it all, Calvary has been committed to building up the body of Christ in southern Indianapolis, reaching out to others with the Good News, and serving its members, the local community and the world at large!  Explore our detailed history by clicking below.

detailed history

Calvary Mission, 1929

In November 1929, a canvas was conducted on the southside of Indianapolis with the purpose of establishing a new mission church. Services were held throughout 1930 in a store building near Madison and Epler Avenues. On January 21, 1931, Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church was officially organized. Services were conducted in a portable chapel, which was moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana and still stands, at 1531 East Epler Avenue.

Calvary Church Picnic, 1931

Because of a growing ministry, land was purchased at Dudley and Shelby Street and a new church was dedicated at that site on March 15, 1942.

Dedication, 1942

In the mid-1940s, Calvary arranged with St. Paul’s congregation for the Christian Education of its children. In 1948, Calvary called its first teacher, Mr. August Schwark, who served at. St. Paul’s school until Calvary built its own school with two new classrooms constructed in 1950. Every year Mr. Schwark “rung in the school year” with his brass teacher’s bell. In 2009, his wife, Mabel, and his son, Jim, took over that tradition as Mr. August Schwark was called home in September 2008.

Calvary, 1963

The original purchase of land at 6111 Shelby Street included six acres. We now have 14 acres. In January, 1963 Calvary dedicated two new classrooms, a kitchen, dining area and worship center at our current location. That worship center now serves as our auditorium/gymnasium.

To accommodate an ever-expanding ministry Calvary added more space to its Christian Day School through building programs in 1985, 1990, and 1996 and began the new millennium with additional construction under a special Lilly Foundation matching grant. Calvary’s current sanctuary has been expanded and remodeled from the 1982 building and was rededicated on Easter 1997.


Throughout all the years, Calvary has been blessed with talented and faithful pastors. In recent history, Pastor Arthur Wehrmeister retired on September 30, 2012, after 30 years as Calvary’s Senior Pastor.  Pastor William Yates who joined this ministry in 1990 as Associate Pastor and was installed as Senior Pastor on October 7, 2012. Pastor Kurt Ebert joined Calvary and was installed as Associate Pastor on September 29, 2013.  After Pastor Yates accepted a call to serve in Washington DC in the US military's chaplain program, Calvary then called Pastor Ebert as Senior Pastor, and he was installed June 26, 2016. Pastor Joshua Reifsteck joined Calvary from the Seminary and was ordained by Indiana District President Don May and installed as Associate Pastor at Calvary on June 11, 2017. Sam Troemel was installed as Youth Director on July 16, 2017. Sam began the Specific Ministry Pastor program in the fall of 2018. He successfully completed the program and was ordained at Calvary on January 17, 2021, as Youth and Family Pastor.

In recent years, Calvary has added staff to better meet the needs of our congregation and community. Emily Spelde began leading Calvary's Adult Ministry program in January of 2009. She then embarked on a three-year program leading to being commissioned and installed as a Deaconess at Calvary on August 25, 2013. After Emily retired in 2023, Barb Sorgius became our Adult Ministry Director in 2024. Kara Hiatt was hired as our Connections Director. Heather Marrero was hired as our Children's Ministry Directory. Brian Krohmer joined Calvary as our Youth intern in 2023, and after a year of internship, was extended a Call to become Calvary's Youth and Family Director.

We thank God for all He has done to bless our church and empower us to serve the spiritual needs of our community!

Slideshows by decades

Calvary in the 1930's & 1940's

Calvary in the 1950's & 1960's

Calvary in the 1970's & 1980's

Calvary in the 1990's & 2000's

Calvary in the 2010's & 2020's


“In the Cross of Christ I Glory”

(Galatians 6:14Colossians 1:19-20)

The liturgical heart of the entire building is the complex of five crosses that hangs in the front of the sanctuary.  

The bronze-covered cedar crosses have been fired with a torch to give the resemblance of burled wood. The many spots, wrinkled lines and holes denote the trials and strains of life, the marks of sin; then comes blessed relief and forgiveness as our cross touches the cross of Christ.

The prism above the crosses reminds us of the many different ways in which God’s love shines through Christ’s cross into our everyday lives. As we move to and from the altar area we pass through the cross, reminding us that our entire Christian life is lived beneath the cross of Christ. The entire assemblage is free standing. Each cross has words of Scripture on each side appropriate for that particular cross.

Calvary Lutheran Church is indebted to the sculptor, Mr. Henry Menke, for this thoughtful, inspirational work of art.

#1: Your Cross and Mine—The Cross of Jesus Christ

The central, most highly polished cross. The rest revolves around the cross of Jesus.

#2: The Cross of the Repentant Thief

Parallel with, in harmony with, the cross of Jesus.

#3: The Cross of the Unrepentant Thief

The most darkened cross, it is crossed over, at odds with, the cross of Jesus.

#4: Your Cross and Mine

The Call to Faith

#5: The Call in Discipleship

We follow in obedient and loving service.

Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

As a member of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Calvary has important core values:

  • We are a Christ-Centered faith community – exalting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus
  • We are a Bible-Based faith community – trusting the truth, power and promises of God’s Word
  • We are a Worshipping faith community – celebrating the new life in Christ
  • We are a Praying faith community – depending on God for power and blessing
  • We are a Caring faith community – nurturing people and relationships in Christ
  • We are a Learning faith community – life-long learners who support excellence in Christian education
  • We are a Serving faith community – where everyone has a ministry and has gifts to use
  • We are an Innovative faith community – open to new ministries, creative ideas and methods