Our Story

Immanuel Lutheran Church was established in 1867 when Pastor E. Sitzman began holding
services in Lawrence and Eudora. After he left in 1869, the congregations were served irregularly by neighboring pastors, but then disbanded.

To serve Lawrence and the Lutheran students at KU and Haskell, Immanuel was reestablished in 1923 under Pastor M. C. Heerboth. Services were held in various buildings until 1924 when Immanuel purchased its first church home, the little stone church at 10th and Kentucky. Pastors Stoeppelworth, Meyer, Brandt and Britton served from 1926 to 1959. The congregation was officially organized in 1928. In 2003, it celebrated its 75th anniversary.


Under Pastor Norman Brandt, a new sanctuary was built in 1952 at 17th and Vermont. It also served as the Lutheran Student Center. Pastor Dan DeBlock served the congregation and university students from 1959 to 1966 and Pastor Walter Lutz served them from 1966 to 1985. Under Pastor Lutz's leadership, five classrooms and more office spaces were added and central airconditioning was installed.

Because of the rapidly growing university community, the Kansas District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in 1965 established University Lutheran Church. The District purchased property and built the sanctuary and student center at 15th and Iowa, and called Pastor Norman Steffen to serve the campus. He served until 1977.

From 1966 to 1985, University Lutheran ministered to all Lutheran students and others from the KU community through a cooperative arrangement with the National Lutheran Campus Ministry. Pastor Don Conrad was the ELCA campus pastor. Pastor Mark Hoelter of Hepler, Kansas served University Lutheran from 1977 until 1990.

The need for extensive building maintenance at University Lutheran led to discussions about merging the ministries of Immanuel and University Lutheran. With the support of the Kansas District this was done on Januaray 1, 1986. Thus, today we have Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Lutheran Student Center. In August 1986, the remodeled facility at 15th and Iowa became the worship center.

Also in 1986, Pastor Don Miller became the senior pastor for the Lawrence ministry. Pastor Ken Kueker became campus pastor in 1991, then Pastor Alan Estby in 1998.

The members and students associated with Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Student Center thank God for the faithful witness of the parent congregations and for the more than seventy-five years of fruitful service by dedicated pastors. The congregation and center are committed to proclaiming the Gospel to the Lawrence community and to the students attending Kansas and Haskell Universities.


Serving Immanuel Lutheran
E. Sitzman 1867–69
Martin Heerboth 1923–25
Walter Stoeppelworth 1926–41
Victor Meyer 1942–48
Norman Brandt 1950–56
William Britton 1956–59
Daniel DeBlock, Jr. 1959–66
Walter Lutz 1966–85

Rudolph Kurz 1959–60
John Suelflow 1960–61
Melvin Meyer 1961–62

Assistant Pastor
Earl Zimmerman 1962-65

Serving University Lutheran
Norman Steffen 1965–77
Mark Hoelter 1977–85

Serving Immanuel/University
Walter Lutz, Parish 1986–
Mark Hoelter, Campus 1986–90
Donald Miller, Parish 1986–2005
Kenneth Kueker, Campus 1991–96
Alan Estby, Campus 1998–
Earl Bielefeld, Interim 2006
Jerry Powers, Interim 2006–2007
Marty Schlossman, Vacancy 2007–2009
Randall Weinkauf, Parish 2009–2020
Thomas Harries, Vacancy 2021-2022
Andrew Wehling 2022-present