The University Lutheran Chapel Alumni Association, Ann Arbor (ULCAAAA or ULCA4) had its beginnings in the mid-1980s. Campus Pastor Robert Kavasch and some local alumni were discussing how best to use the Christmas gifts that came regularly to the Chapel. Pastor Kavasch suggested that the gifts be used for some purpose other than the day-to- day expenses of running the Chapel and maintaining its facilities. At the time, University Lutheran Chapel was (and had been since its inception) a mission outreach of the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which owned the facilities and called and supported the Campus Pastor.
Needing a legal entity to manage the account for these funds, several local alumni elected to form an association. The association was formally incorporated as the University Lutheran Chapel Alumni Association, Ann Arbor on February 16, 1990.
Jack Davidsen, the founding Board President, proposed a fund drive to add to the account, which would be formally named the “Scheips Endowment Fund” after Rev. Alfred T. Scheips, the first pastor at University Lutheran Chapel. The goal was to build the fund to a level which could independently support the Campus Pastor position. With the participation of Chapel alumni from all over the country, the fund drive was successful. As a result, ULCAAAA was able to make sizable contributions from the earnings of the fund to the Michigan District each year to partially offset the expense of the Campus Pastor’s salary.
In 2006 support of the campus ministry transitioned from the Michigan District to a local congregation, St. Luke Lutheran Church. At about the same time, a major renovation and upgrade of the nearly 60-year-old Chapel facilities was begun. The renovation work was funded by a Capital Campaign, undertaken jointly by St. Luke congregation and the ULCAAAA, and two loans from the Michigan District Church Extension Fund. The renovation work was assisted by the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, including many ULCAAAA members. ULCAAAA continues its support by making payments against one of the two Church Extension Fund loans.
As time passed, those worshiping regularly at ULC, both students and “townies,” developed their own identity, independent of that of St. Luke. In addition, the schedule discipline imposed by the academic year was not always synchronous with the needs of the greater St. Luke congregation. As a result, at a meeting held at ULC in September 2015, members voted overwhelmingly to begin the process to form a new congregation, to be known as University Lutheran Chapel, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The congregation was chartered on February 7, 2016.
ULCAAAA continues its support of the campus ministry in Ann Arbor through its debt service of the renovation loan, its support of University Lutheran Chapel staffing expenses, and other related projects. In addition, the organization publishes a periodic newsletter for members and friends, providing information on current Chapel activities and alumni news.
ULCAAAA also sponsors special functions to celebrate noteworthy milestones and achievements. One annual business meeting is held each January, at which the Board of Directors is elected. The Board, in turn, elects the officers for the coming year. The Board meets at least quarterly to conduct the business of the organization, and to oversee the management of the Scheips Endowment Fund.
ULCAAAA is a non-profit organization. Contributions to the Scheips Endowment Fund are tax-deductible in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code Section 501c(3).