1855 (April 22): Mission church organizes with 28 members: “To thy glory, oh God.”

1857: English- and German-speaking members decide to separate.

1858: English-speakers build First English Church on corner of Market and Dubuque streets; German speakers create Zion Lutheran Church on corner of Johnson and Bloomington streets.

1862: First English Lutheran struggles to survive during Civil War.

1876: Women’s Foreign Missionary Society formed.

1894: New brick church dedicated on corner of Market and Dubuque streets.

1900: With 180 members, First English is strongest church in Iowa City.

1913: Church building remodeled, basement added. Seating capacity 200.

1930: 75th anniversary celebration; first church history presented by Millie S. Taylor.

1936: First church member to enter the ministry (Rev. Donald Helm).

1944: Merger of small groups of women into one Women of the Church.

1946: First English decides to rebuild and electrify church organ.

1950: Church celebrates 95th anniversary; women celebrate 75th.

1951: Church hosts national convention of the Luther League of America.

1955: Centennial celebration; 51 baptized and 247 active members.

1956: Two houses south of church, extending to the alley, purchased.

1959: Congregation votes to build a new church.

1960: Kick-off dinner at IMU for new building; new parsonage on Van Buren purchased.

1962: Architect plans for new church OK’d Feb. 25. Arson fire destroys church April 1.

1963: Services at Englert Theater for 21 months; Church changes name to Gloria Dei.

1964: First services held in new Gloria Dei building.

1969: First city-wide ecumenical service at UI Fieldhouse; George Forell, PhD, speaker.

1970: First woman (Kathy Belgum) elected to church council.

1975: Gloria Dei sponsors family from Vietnam.

1978: Lutheran Campus Ministry moves to Old Brick.

1980: 125th anniversary; Pastor Roy Wingate honored for 25 years at Gloria Dei.

1981: Ramp built to improve handicap accessibility.

1984: Church purchases second property west of church (Gilmore house); youth develop association with Bethel Lutheran Church in Chicago.

1988: LCA, ALC, and AELC merge to form Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

1990: Dream Vision Committee established; corner property (128 N. Clinton) purchased.

1991: Djerf house demolished for parking lot west of church.

1994: First female associate pastor called (Rev. Jane Hagstrom).

1995: Social ministry committee supports Bosnian refugee family.

1996: Fixing for the Future financial for capital improvements: window, wall, narthex.

1997: Gloria Dei builds Habitat for Humanity house with estate proceeds.

1998: “Fixing for the Future” renovations complete.

2001: Women of ELCA celebrate 125 years.

2005: Gloria Dei celebrates 150th anniversary; Lutheran Campus Ministry approaches church council about potential partnership.

2006: National Lutheran Campus Ministry funds Christus House renovation.

2007: Christus (formerly Gilmore) House dedicated Feb. 18; LCM use begins in spring.

2008: Gloria Dei and Lutheran Campus Ministry sign covenantal partnership on Sept. 1.

2010: Elevator installed to better serve handicapped.

2011: Gloria Dei launches new-look web site.

2012: Gloria Dei launches Facebook page.

History of ELCA
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies:
  •  American Lutheran Church
  • Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
  • Lutheran Church in America.
Beginning Jan. 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves.

But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245