Gloria Christi Lutheran Campus Church
Gloria Christi Lutheran Campus Church was a campus mission subsidized by the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that served the academic communities of Northwestern University, Evanston Hospital School of Nursing, National College of Education, and Kendall College from 1963 through the spring of 1981. In 1963 the congregation broke from St. James Lutheran Church, the Wisconsin Synod congregation adjacent to the Northwestern University campus, and called a full-time campus pastor, Reverend Eugene V. Brueggemann, in October 1964 to serve as their first pastor. Gloria Christi rented space in the Lutheran Chapel-Center, 2204 Orrington, Evanston, from the Lutheran Student Foundation, the body which administers the Lutheran campus ministry on college campuses in the Metropolitan Chicago area. This facility was also used by the University Lutheran Parish, the campus ministry of the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America. The two congregations held services at the Chapel-Center and during the early 1970s co-sponsored seminars and coffee hours as the Lutheran Association at Northwestern University. When the University Lutheran Parish formally organized itself as the University Lutheran Church in 1971, it invited Gloria Christi to join it in writing a common constitution, an invitation which was not accepted.
Nevertheless, Lutheran administrators continued to work toward establishing a unified campus ministry, especially after Pastor Brueggemann left in 1975. The Division of Campus Ministry and Education Services of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. conducted a survey to determine the future role of Gloria Christi as a campus mission of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The survey team, which visited the campus in February 1976, recommended that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ministry at Northwestern be turned over to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod/English District congregation, that the Northern Illinois District's campus ministry resources be reallocated to institutions not then served by Lutheran campus ministry, and that the Bethlehem Lutheran Church consider providing parish ministry to Northwestern students belonging to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Rejecting these recommendations, the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri steadfastly refused to form a unified campus ministry and continued to fund Gloria Christi. After Brueggemann's departure the congregation was served by a succession of part-time pastors and for a time continued to hold services in the Chapel-Center. In the absence of a full-time pastor, the University Lutheran Church and its pastor Clyde McCormick, who also served as Executive Director of the Lutheran Student Foundation, established new guidelines for Gloria Christi's use of the Chapel-Center. The President of the University Lutheran Church informed Gloria Christi of new hours that the Center would be available for Gloria Christi programs and services, noting that the University Lutheran Church's services were disturbed when the two congregations scheduled programs simultaneously. The Lutheran Student Foundation terminated Gloria Christi's lease in August 1976, although some Gloria Christi members continued to use the Center for study hours and programs. Gloria Christi began holding services in the Oratory of Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston.
Throughout its existence Gloria Christi held Sunday services weekly during the academic year which were commonly followed by coffee hours or study seminars. During the week members of the congregation gathered for bible study groups, midweek services, and social events. Many of these activities are detailed in newsletters, minutes and Sunday bulletins included among the records of the organization.
Gloria Christi disbanded in the spring of 1981. Its members intended to regroup as a student fellowship from the community church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Evanston.