Digital Archive for Urban Congregations began with a question, “What happened to the Lutheran Church in Chicago?” To answer it, he gathered thousands of page-scans of church archives, recorded 70+ hours of oral histories, and photographed the sanctuaries of 28 churches with the support of a grant from the English District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
After gathering so much data, it became clear that there was too much for one researcher. To offer free access to researchers and Lutherans alike, Digital Archive for Urban Congregations was born in 2022. This small nonprofit is dedicated to offering free access to the history of urban Christian churches through hosting digital material for researchers.
All archives and oral histories are distributed under Creative Commons license Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). That means you are free to use the archival images, periodicals, and oral histories. You may edit, remix, and crop images and oral histories.
All architectural photographs are all rights reserved by James Huenink. Do not download, edit, or distribute them without express permission.
James Huenink is the director of Digital Archive for Urban Congregations. His work gathering interviews, scans, and photographs in Chicago was the foundational collection for DAUC. His research focuses on urban Lutheran ministry and black Lutheran ministry in Chicago. In addition to his work with DAUC, James is a writer, photographer, and the pastor of First Lutheran Church of El Cajon. He lives with his wife and two cats.
Bethany Nummela-Hanel is the digital archivist for Digital Archive for Urban Congregations. Her life-long interest in the written word has led to a passion for making those words and other information widely available to people through the internet. She is the Digital Initiatives and Systems Librarian at Olivet Nazarene University. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Leesburg, Florida.
Digital Archive for Urban Congregations was funded initially by a grant from the English District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Their generosity made it possible to gather the initial collection that is the basis for this website.