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 forever reminded we are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection ... because God 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…

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 is 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 remodeled from the 1982 building and was rededicated on Easter 1997. What began as a mission church with 30 members currently serves about 1600 members and is blessed by God with dynamic leaders and staff. On September 30, 2012, Pastor Arthur Wehrmeister retired after 30 years as Calvary’s Senior Pastor. Calvary is led by Pastor William Yates who joined this ministry in 1990 as Associate Pastor and was installed as Senior Pastor on October 7, 2012. We thank God for all He has done to bless our church and empower us to serve the spiritual needs of our community!

“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

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