NORMAN — It’s hard not to reminisce about days gone by when a small group of University Lutheran Church and Student Center members get together.
They’ve got stories of weddings, confirmations, potluck dinners and funerals. They have stories of growth, building projects and new pastors. All of these stories reach back as far as 50 years.
What started in an old fraternity house at 815 Jenkins Ave. as a way to reach out to University of Oklahoma students has now developed into a full congregation.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the church plans to host a church open house from 4 to 6:30 p.m. June 7 with a happy birthday ULCSC party for children and families at 6:30 p.m.
Other activities include a co-ed softball game at 10 a.m. June 8 at Rotary Park followed by a church open house and lunch from noon to 2 p.m. The evening of June 8, the church will host a banquet and program at the Holiday Inn, beginning at 5:30.
On June 9 at 10 a.m., the church will host a 50th anniversary jubilee worship with a noon brunch.
In 1955, the Oklahoma District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod purchased land at 914 Elm Ave. The campus ministry was served by vicars of Trinity Lutheran Church from 1955 through 1963 in the garage apartment on the property.
As the years passed, the students favored the idea of the University Congregation model. At the 1963 LC-MS Oklahoma District Convention, students petitioned the district for a separate ministry to the university community.
“At that point, 125 members of Trinity made the commitment to come over here to be the backbone for a new congregation that would focus on campus ministry,” ULCSC publicity chair Cathy Bowden said.
The district responded and Pastor William H. Hecht was called to be the first full-time campus minister for Lutheran students at OU in August 1963.