Our History

Purpose Statement: Lutheran Church of the Savior will joyfully share God's love in community. 


Unifying Principles

  • We are generous to others because God's generosity empowers us.
  • We reach across boundaries.
  • Jesus' love inspires us to advocate for peace and justice wherever Christ guides us.
  • We are Christ centered.
  • We commit to God's life-changing mission.

Who We Are


It was in 1966 in Kalamazoo, Michigan that a few citizens discovered they were not the only ones with interest in forming a Lutheran church. These few citizens worked together with their community to make a place of worship all their own. In 1967 they came together to form Lutheran Church of the Savior a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church plant. Worship services were lead by Pr. Neibacher in the Parchment High School auditorium.  


By 1968 the congregation had outgrown this space and ground was broken for a new worship building. With a place of their own, the Lutheran Church of the Savior (LCS) took off, averaging a 200 person membership with 100-150 service attendants each Sunday. Their newly found community was compassionate, strong, and filled with inspiration for the future of their church. Eager to serve, LCS began supporting mission trips and community involvement. In 1977 LCS voted to leave the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and LCS became part of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC). In 1988 the AELC along with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and American Lutheran Church (ALC) merged to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) which LCS is part of. 


In 1990 the sanctuary was remodeled and LCS added a new wing of classrooms and a larger kitchen. In 1997 Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Gull Road voted to close and many members brought their gifts to LCS. In 1998 Deb Rafferty became our organist and she is still sharing her musical gifts with LCS. 

In 2016 LCS sponsored the Vihamba family, refugees from the Congo, to come to Kalamazoo. In 2017 LCS celebrated its 50 year anniversary, and under the leadership of Pr. Andrew Tengwall LCS began sharing our worship space with the African Christian Fellowship (ACF). The ACF Christian worship community made up of refugees from the Congo and other countries in Africa who have relocated to the Kalamazoo area. They are lead by Pr. Joshua Kibezi and worship Sundays from 3-5 p.m. Pr. Andrew left to take another call in 2018 and we welcomed Pr. Paul Nuechterlein as Interim. In 2019 LCS voted to call Pr. Nikki Smith as our next pastor and she was installed on Sunday March 24th. 

Today we continue to listen to the Holy Spirit and seek to grow in faith, and live out our faith by loving and serving in our community and the world. We continue to strive to be a place where all feel the love of Christ. 

Faith in Action

About Lutheran Church of the Savior

Additional Missions We Have Supported

Each week, congregation members give in many forms to help our church community through time, talents, and financial gifts. Through our financial gifts and fundraising, a large portion of our budget goes towards our annual missions. These missions are coordinated through a dedicated task force. These efforts were largely matched by funds from Thrivent. Our current missions are:


  • The Gift of Running Water - Navajo reservation water project.
  • Udhhar - Ongoing mission and development work in India.
  • ISAAC - Anti-racism group that seeks to create the beloved community of equality and inclusion in South West Michigan.
  • Kairos Dwelling Home - Free hospice at the end of life in Kalamazoo.
  • SWELL - (Sharing With Everyone Lutheran Love) provides support by collaborating with community agencies that serve foster children and young adults.
  • Samaritas - Provides over 70 program sites in 40 cities transforming communities one life at a time. In our area they help support the transition of new American families to the Kalamazoo area.
  • Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry - A primary food assistance distribution program in Kalamazoo. We partner with Sunnyside Methodist Church.
  • Out Front Kalamazoo - Gay and lesbian organization creating inclusive, just, and equitable environments in South West Michigan.
  • Ministry with Community - Local organization empowering people to make positive life changes by connecting them with local services in Kalamazoo.
  • African Christian Fellowship (ACF) - A strong Christian refugee group which supports new refugees coming to Kalamazoo & provides a safe place to worship. We are proud to share our worship space with this community.




*WMU Campus Ministry-financial support and homemade food for Sunday luncheons.
*ELCA WORLD Hunger Financial Support and Disaster Relief Appeals
*Kalamazoo Pride Festival- exhibit to support outreach
*Annual CROP Walk- financial support with walkers
*Hat, Mitten, Scarf tree for children in Kalamazoo at Christmas
*Christmas boxes for the home bound and families in need
*Pastor's Discretionary Fund- assistance for random instances
*Provide free use of our building for community activities, such as.. funeral luncheons
*Talons Out Honor Flight-sponsor veterans a flight to Wash DC to see the Memorial