Concordia Lutheran Church began in 1956 as the result of several Lutheran families living in Greenwood who were interested in seeing a Lutheran congregation established. A canvass early in the year revealed about 50 interested adults, many of whom formed the nucleus of the new mission and were charter members of the congregation. One of the first planning meetings was held in the home of Tom & Martha Heininger and some who attended subsequent planning meetings included: Virgil & Elsa Waltz, Jesse & Lea Van Dyke, Virginia Weston, Betty Bertsch, Mary Sluss, and Rev. Elwood Zimmerman.
On August 5, 1956, the Greenwood Lutheran Mission held its first worship service at the American Legion Hall on U.S. Highway 31. Rev. John Kaiser, a retired Army chaplain, who served as supply pastor through July 1957, gave the first sermon. A choral group from Calvary Lutheran (Southport) provided special music at the first service. Elaine Gerkepott, Franklin, was pianist. Ralph Dedert, chairman of the Greenwood Lutheran Mission was quoted as saying that the service was considered a success as nearly twice as many people were in attendance as had been contacted through their mailing list. A newspaper account of the first service mentioned that the Greenwood Lutheran Mission planned to start Sunday school classes after Labor Day. The coming weeks would see the formal organization of the new congregation.
On September 2, 1956, the Mission held its first communion service in the American Legion auditorium. The Mission met at the Legion Hall until entering its own church home the following June. Mr. Harold Reiss, of Redeemer Lutheran, donated an oak individual communion service, used for the first time on this occasion. St. John’s American Lutheran Church, Jasper, Indiana, supplied the altar and pulpit antependia, crucifix and candelabra. All in all, the American Legion hall, though requiring much effort on the part of the members each Saturday evening or Sunday morning for readiness, offered a most delightful place of worship, in which, at all times, a churchly atmosphere was maintained, eliciting the praise of strangers or fellow-Lutherans from other areas on the fitting and appropriate character of the place of worship.
On September 9, 1956, the Greenwood Lutheran Mission held Sunday school for the first time, with 18 in attendance in Adult Bible Class and 30 children in the Sunday school classes. Mr. Robert Muhlhauser was elected superintendent and the following teachers constituted the faculty: Mrs. Harold Sluss, Mrs. Virgil Waltz, Mrs. Arthur Knight, Mrs. Ralph Dedert, Mrs. Clay Glover, Mrs. Thomas Heininger and Miss Elaine Gerkepott. Pastor Kaiser took charge of the adult class. The pastor conducted regular teachers’ meetings at two-week intervals using Concordia Sunday school literature.
On October 7, 1956, after the regular service, the congregation selected its new name. From a dozen or more names suggested, four selected names voted upon were – Bethel, Concordia, Mt. Sinai and St. James. 117 were present in the service that day. Following the selection of the name Concordia, the congregation used it officially for the first time in the bulletin on October 14, 1956.
After a Constitution had been drawn up following a pattern of Lutheran models, a special meeting was held on Sunday afternoon, October 21, 1956, to adopt the Constitution. Some twenty people signed as charter members. Members not present that day, but who desired to become a charter member, had the opportunity to sign later. The first Reformation Festival was observed by the congregation on October 28, in which Pastor Kaiser spoke on Luther, God’s Man, using John 1:6 as his text.
On November 4, 1956, the newly named congregation elected officers to serve for the remainder of the year and for 1957 with installation of the officers held on November 18, 1956. Also, on this date, the congregation held its first baptism and received into membership Randal William Bueckman, born October 26, 1956.
The congregation held its first Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 25, since the American Legion Auditorium was only available for Sunday services. Pastor Kaiser used Psalm 103 as his text and spoke on Our Thanks to Almighty God.
On January 23, 1957 the women of the congregation met to organize the local LWML chapter.
The young congregation purchased a large home on Madison Ave. early in 1957 that, with renovations, served as a permanent church facility until 1964. The main floor served as the chapel with Sunday school classroom space in the basement. The pastor and his family lived in an upstairs apartment. On June 2, 1957 a dedication service was held for the Madison Avenue location. Originally scheduled for April, the dedication was delayed until June due to the pews not coming on time.
During June 2 – 21, 1957, the first Vacation Bible School was held. Pastor Kaiser taught the older children during this first two-week long VBS.
On July 14, 1957, Rev. Howard Hilsabeck was ordained and installed as the first full-time pastor. In 1960 he moved into a parsonage nearby which had been purchased by the congregation. Pastor Hilsabeck left for Grafton, Ohio, in October 1961.
Rev. Luther G. Strasen served as the second full-time pastor following his installation on September 5, 1962. He moved to Fort Wayne in November 1968. As the congregation grew it needed a larger worship facility and in January 1963 purchased eight acres of land on Howard Road in Greenwood. Dedication on November 8, 1964 took place seven months after groundbreaking on April 12. The church continues at this location. The cornerstone for the building cites Psalm 133:1, “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
Rev. Laverne W. Polley served as Concordia’s third pastor from his installation on December 7, 1969, until January 1978 when he moved to Berne, Indiana
Installation of Concordia’s fourth fulltime pastor, Rev. Howard O. Fabricius, took place September 17, 1978. A preschool for 3 and 4-year-olds began the following September under the direction of Pastor Fabricius’ wife, Beverly.
In 1982 plans were initiated to go ahead with a major expansion project. Groundbreaking occurred on Sunday, April 8, 1984. Extensive remodeling to the small education building provided for larger office space. Extending at a 30-degree angle toward Howard Road, the expansion included a large multi-purpose fellowship hall. A spacious foyer and entrance area became reality by enclosing the space between the church and the original education building.
During the 1980s, Concordia called its first Deaconess, Deborah Roth. When Deaconess Roth married Rev. Carl Rockrohr and moved away, the congregation again needed to look for a full-time staff member. Deaconess Monica Eickmeyer returned to the congregation upon completion of her education at Concordia University.
Following the resignation of Deaconess Monica in March 1990 to become a full-time mother, the congregation began a search for its next staff member. On August 12, 1990, the congregation welcomed Mark Musick at his installation as Director of Christian Education. As part of the ongoing improvement to the large window on the west side of the building, a stained glass Garden of Gethsemane window was dedicated on July 28, 1991.
When Mark Musick received and accepted a call to Texas, the congregation decided to call an associate pastor as its next full-time staff member. Rev. John A. Flamme accepted the call and his installation took place on November 5, 1995.
In May 2000 the congregation launched small group ministry by sending Rev. Flamme and Al Grotke to train as ChristCare equippers. Eighteen months later a team of ChristCare leaders launched the era of small group ministry that continues to present.
When Rev. Fabricius announced his retirement, the congregation extended a call in March 2003 to Rev. Flamme to serve as sole Pastor of Concordia. On June 8, 2003, Rev. Fabricius preached his farewell sermon to the congregation after 38 years in ministry and 25 years at Concordia. Royal Oak Country Club was the scene for a reception for family and friends that afternoon.
With the parsonage vacant when Pastor Flamme’s family moved into their own home, the congregation voted in July 2006 to house the Preschool on the first floor of the former parsonage and to fence an area for a playground. The Preschool occupied the new space at the beginning of January 2007 and remains housed at this location.
In June, 2013 the congregation extended calls to Sarah Rice to be its Director of Christian Education and Erica Stephenson to be a part-time Deaconess.