Mount Olive Lutheran Church celebrates its 20th anniversary
By Daina Chamness
The first thing to greet a visitor to Mount Olive Lutheran Church is a row of parking spaces marked “Guest.” The second is the aroma of comfort food coming from the massive dining room filled with people talking laughing and eating turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes. The congregation was celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its conception.
Twenty years ago a group of eight couples gathered in their homes and prayed to start a new Lutheran church in the Center Grove area. As word got out and the idea spread, they moved to the old West Grove Elementary school. Soon it became necessary to build a church to call their own.
The story unfolded in more detail as some of the charter members stood and told of those early years. Cindy Trimpe talked about how the members lent their own hands to the building of the church. Every member signed his name somewhere in the church as it went up and the youth group wrote bible verses all over the concrete floor.
Art Zoss spoke next of the original founders of the church, most of which are still with them. Randy and Brenda Erwin, Mark and Judy Queck, Carl and Jeanette Strohm, Keith and Cindy Trimpe, Art and Nancy Zoss, Vince and Sharon Cullers, Dennis and Doris Sherfy, Vern and Karen Heber. He spoke of freshly baked bread for the communion service and the dedication and sacrifices made by all these people to start this fledgling church. His talk was scattered with humor, and a tear or two as he spoke.
The Mount Olive Lutheran Church has grown from eight families to a membership of 600 baptized members. They participate in mission trips to such places as Tanzania, Central Africa, Honduras, El Salvador, India, Kenya and the Republic of Georgia They work in the inner city on service projects, provide handicap ramps where needed and participate in child and family mission work. Many of their children attend the Lutheran High School on the southeast side of Indianapolis. They are connected to the larger body of Lutheran churches around the world.
These 600 members hold three services a week with an average attendance of 315 people. One third of those members are under 21 years old. Pastor Jeff Alexander hopes that promises a bright future for the continuation of the work of this church.