Grace Lutheran Church of Dyer, Indiana is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS). Our congregation is located in the Tri-town northwest Indiana parish of Dyer, Schererville, and St. John.
We are committed to the pure preaching of God’s Word and the right administration of the holy Sacraments, catechesis of all people in the Christian faith, and liturgical worship consistent with our Reformation heritage. The congregation at Grace is joined in the one, holy Christian church, proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and reigning for the salvation of the world.
In 1957 the original canvas of the Dyer area was connected under the direction of the Calumet Lutheran Mission Association. Later canvasses led to a general meeting of interested people in the Dyer Township in August of 1960. The Rev. R. Wilkening, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Black Oak conducted services from October 6, 1960 until the Rev. Erwin A. Brese was installed on July 23, 1961. Until then, The Rev. D. R. Koenig, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Highland served as vacancy pastor. January of 1961 saw the congregation organize with 55 communicant members. June was the month of reception into the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. By September, the congregation became incorporated and saw its way clear to purchase a 15-acre site on Sheffield Avenue.
It being desirable to vacate the rented parsonage on Lakewood Drive; plans were made to build a parsonage as well as the first unit of the church building. The ground breaking for the new Grace Lutheran Church was held on October 28, 1962. The cornerstone laying on Epiphany, January 6, 1963 followed this. Three years after the congregation’s first worship service, the long awaited new worship and educational facility became a reality. Dedication Day was celebrated on September 9, 1963 with a weeklong schedule of activities concluding the following Sunday with two regular worship services, Sunday School, and open house at the parsonage.
After a ministry of seven years, Pastor E. A. Brese left Grace in May of 1968 when he accepted a call to serve Lutheran Church of the Risen Christ in Florissant, Missouri. On July 13, 1969 the Rev. R.J. Suckow was installed as Grace’s second pastor. Pastor Suckow served Grace until he ended his ministry in November of 1971. Grace’s third pastor, the Rev. Milton W. Beer, was installed on February 27, 1972. In 1974 the church was refurbished. Included in this project was painting, the installation of carpet and pews, as well as paneling in the pastor’s study. Again in 1981 a building project was begun. New fellowship and educational facilities were added, the kitchen was enlarged, and a nursery and secretarial office were added.
The blessing of Pastor Milton W. Beer’s thirteen years of faithful ministry to Grace came to a close in September of 1985 when he formally retired. The fourth pastor, the Rev. David S. Mack, was installed on January 5, 1986. Pastor Mack served Grace until his death in February of 1996. Following a vacancy during which Pastor Rogers Hake ministered, Pastor Michael Schuessler was installed as the fifth Pastor in October 1997. After Pastor Schuessler accepted a call to begin new ethnic missions in Iowa, he said farewell on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1999. Pastor Dean Mues served during the interim which ended with the installation of the sixth pastor, the Rev. John C. Kolb, November 28, 1999.After a period of vacancy in 2007-8 and the intentional interim of Pr. Mark Pflughoeft in 2008-9, the Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie was ordained and installed as Grace Lutheran Church’s seventh pastor on July 25, A+D 2010.
Pr. Gillespie spent most of his younger life in the Lafayette, Indiana. He attended St. James Lutheran Church and was a student of their Lutheran school from kindergarten through eighth grade. Pastor graduated cum laude from Concordia University Chicago in 2000 with a major in Media Communications and a minor in Music.
Before entering the seminary, Pr. Gillespie worked for five years as a sales consultant for Audio Consultants, designing hi-fidelity stereos, home theaters, and whole-house entertainment systems. Most recently he and his family lived in Lockport, Illinois where they attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. While a member, he served as an elder and chair of the technology committee. He was encouraged by his pastor, his family, and his church to follow the office of the Holy Ministry. In May of 2005, Christopher entered the Masters of Divinity program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Aside from the seminary curriculum, he worked for the audiovisual and information technology departments. In 2007, he and his family moved to Saginaw, Michigan to serve as vicar for Immanuel Lutheran Church. In 2008 they returned to Fort Wayne and in May of 2009, Pr. Gillespie graduated from CTS with the M. Div. degree. In the Fall of 2009, he completed the academic portion of a Masters of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) degree. He foresees completing the thesis portion of the degree while serving Grace Lutheran Church, Dyer, Indiana.
Pastor Gillespie has many hobbies including listening to music, cooking, baking, grilling, electronics, photography, computing, studying theology, and Christian apologetics. He regularly blogs on Outer Rim Territories and Facebook.
Our gracious Lord has bestowed many blessings upon Grace Lutheran Church during the past fifty plus years. May the Lord continue to accompany his people as they praise the Lord from generation to generation!