What does it mean to be an “independent” Lutheran church? Grace Lutheran Church is independent in the sense that it is not a member of a Lutheran synod.
We are independent not by choice but by necessity. The land at the corner of Bonnie Brae and Division streets, where our church stands, was purchased in 1927 from the school now known as Concordia University. At that time Grace Lutheran Church was a member of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS). The terms of the deed of sale stipulate that if Grace Lutheran Church ever left the LCMS and joined another church body, the synod would have the right to buy back the property. The terms of the deed remain in force for 100 years.
After controversies in the LCMS during the late 1960s and 1970s led to the congregation's decision in 1978 to leave the synod, Grace Lutheran Church, by necessity, became an independent Lutheran church.
Being independent provides the opportunity for us to be very intentional about our Lutheran identity. We seek to be faithful in mission and ministry in accord with the Lutheran Confessions.
We are independent but not isolated. We have partners in mission and ministry both in the United States and abroad.
Is Grace Lutheran Church part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) or any large body of Lutheran congregations? Because of the terms of the deed to the land on which the church is built, Grace Lutheran Church is not currently a member of a synod.
As an independent Lutheran congregation, we seek to carry out our mission and ministry in accord with the Lutheran Confessions. And we have created partnerships in mission and ministry both in the United States and abroad.
How are my offerings used? Generally, offerings given to Grace Lutheran Church are used for church and school operations (salaries, benefits, facilities maintenance, etc.) as well as to support church and school programs.
Ten percent of the offerings are designated to specific benevolences as near as our local communities and as far away as other continents. Each year, members of the congregation’s Benevolence Committee identify organizations that will receive financial support from the church.
Members are also able to designate how their contributions are to be used.
Do I need to be a member of the church to join one of the choirs? No, you don’t need to be a member of the church to join one of its choirs. Our choirs welcome new voices. To learn more about joining a choir, please contact the .
Can community groups use the church's facilities? Grace Lutheran Church is a busy place, but sometimes we are able to accommodate community events. For example, the church has served as a polling place, and Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous have used our facilities for meetings. For more information, .
Where can I park? Parking is available: • On the street, along both sides of Division and on the west side of Bonnie Brae. Read street signs carefully on weekdays. • Evenings and Sundays, guests are welcome to park in Concordia University's parking garage. Use the driveway on Bonnie Brae, directly south of Grace.
Handicapped parking is available: • On the south side of Division, just west of the Bonnie Brae intersection. A ramp leads from here to the church doors. • In the River Forest Park District's public parking lot. Use the driveway on the north side of Division at the Bonnie Brae intersection, just across the street from Grace.
Please do not park in the drop-off areas in front of the church doors and the Bonnie Brae entrance to the building.
How do I arrange for my child to be baptized at Grace? Call the church and speak to one of the pastors. Families wishing to have their child baptized are invited to attend a workshop to prepare for the baptism. How do I arrange to be married at Grace? Call the church and speak to one of the pastors. Couples wishing to be married at Grace Lutheran Church will meet with a pastor for counseling in advance.
What is the Grace Memorial Garden? The Grace Memorial Garden, established in 1999, offers a place for the interment of the ashes of Grace Lutheran Church members and members of their immediate family. Located in the church’s courtyard, the garden includes a fountain and a memorial wall and provides a quiet setting for prayer and contemplation.
A one-time charge covers the cost of interment as well as maintenance of the garden and inscription of a name on the memorial wall. To learn more about the Grace Memorial Garden, .
How can I contact a pastor in an emergency? Call the church at (708) 366-6900. After business hours, follow the prompts to a pastor’s extension, where you will find more information about emergency contact.
How do I become a member of Grace Lutheran Church? We welcome your interest in joining our congregation, and we invite you to find your home in God in this place and among us.
As Jesus' disciples we are committed to the habits of discipleship: participating in weekly worship, daily prayer, and the regular reading and study of Scripture; serving at and beyond Grace; nurturing Christian friendships; and giving of our time, talent, and money.
For more information about joining Grace, . What is confirmation? How can I enroll my child in confirmation classes? Confirmation is the public affirmation of your baptism, after a period of study and preparation. We have a Confirmation program for children that begins in the sixth grade and culminates in an Affirmation of Baptism service at the end of the eighth-grade year.
Adults who wish to affirm their baptism and join the church are asked to .
How do I enroll a child in Grace Lutheran School? You can begin by meeting with the school principal (for an appointment, call the school office and speak to the school secretary). At your meeting with the principal, you’ll learn about the school and its curriculum and receive a tour of the facilities. Interested families then complete an application, paying an application fee of $50. For an appointment, . Read more about the admissions process here.