Artist painting of Salem exterior
2023 Worship
Sister Barbara Collins

Sister Barbara served the immigrants and refugees at Salem and Shalom in 2018.  She is a Deacon of Word and Service and was new to Indiana but familiar with life in eastern Africa having spent 25 years in Kenya with her husband, Malcolm. She now lives in central Florida.  

Meet Minister Mmari

Douglas Mmari served as developer of the Shalom International Ministry through a partnership of Salem Lutheran Church, the ELCA, and Indiana-Kentucky Synod. He is currently in Tanzania.  He originally began his ministry here in the fall of 2014.

Douglas and his wife, Upendo, returned in Tanzania in 2016.

A life-long Lutheran, Douglas worked as an itinerant Evangelist and Bible teacher, mainly with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). With Upendo, they founded Hope Ministries Tanzania a weekly radio broadcast. He runs the ELCT radio broadcast in Tanzania, responding to questions from a biblical perspective.  He earned his Bachelor of Theology from International Covenant University, Florida and  Master of Divinity at Association Free Lutheran Bible School in the Minnesota.

Shalom Ministry
Join us Sunday mornings at 10:30.   

CLICK HERE to worship online with Salem on YouTube.
Listen live to our worship on our campus at 87.9 on your FM radio

Use the links on the yellow banner above to learn about ministries for African immigrants and refugees. 

Thanks to all who made the 2023 International Harvest Festival a success. 
More than 85 people gathering in Salem Park to learn about the many cultures in our diverse community with food, music, stories and fun & games for all ages.  Click here to view the video highlights on YouTube.  The image album will be posted soon on at
Be sure to join us on Saturday, September 14, 2024.

Free adult English classes on summer break.  

We celebrated our students' achievements and shared our diverse cultures with food and fellowship on June 13 at 6:30 pm.   Click here to view the Facebook photo album.

ESL (English as a Second Language) class will meet Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Volunteers will be needed to tutor basic English skills.

Students should register at the classes starting August 13 in the Salem classroom building at 7231 Pollard Street.

A Time for Music


85 experienced the Holy Spirit in action at our Vigil of Pentecost on Saturday May 19, 2018  It was called “Harambe, A Time for Music.”

Generally, a Vigil is a time of expectation, sometimes awaiting a following celebration. Harambe is a Swahili word loosely meaning “coming or pulling together.” On the Day of Pentecost the church celebrates when the person of the Holy Spirit came in power. This gift permitted disciples to communicate the mighty works of God in several languages. We communicated God’s mighty acts through different forms of music, dance and food.

This was an expectant celebration in word, song, dance and community. A momentous coming together. Thank you to all who participated, including Rev. Michael Cobbler of South Bend, Bishop Bill Gafkjen of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA, and Rev. Dr. Joseph Bocko, Program Director of African National Ministries with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We also thank our church guests: Holy Spirit Led Church and the Kenyan Indy Fellowship.



We all know that Shalom is a Hebrew word that has a broader meaning than the English word “peace”. In the Bible, the word is also used to mean: safety, welfare, well-being, prosperity, security, friendship, health, soundness and completeness. (NAS Exhaustive Concordance and NASB translation)

The Shalom Ministry is mainly focusing on reaching out and ministering to the Sub Saharan Africans, of which most of them are refugees from Rwanda, the Congo and Burundi. Listening to their stories, some have lived in the bush, refugee camps and out in the streets for years – no electricity, no home, no property, no medication and no meaning of life. They still shed tears when they remember the brutality that they saw and experienced. We also have people from other countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Central Africa, and Algeria who are here for different reasons.

 What do all these people need? They need SHALOM. This is the foundation of the name. Shalom that comes from God alone, on account of the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the ministry and mission which He has entrusted us with.

We have two major strategies of reaching out to these people: Withness and witness. This is what Jesus did with his disciples. We regularly visit with them and meet them at their point of their needs. Offer rides, because they don’t have cars, they don’t have driver’s licenses because of the language barrier to sit for the exam. Be their interpreters in hospitals, in pharmacies, government offices, etc. Teach them the use of common things, such as the quantity of liquid soap in a wash machine or gathering letters from the mail box.

Withness goes hand in hand with witnessing. All of these refugees are not Lutherans. Some have religious affiliation and some have never been to church at all. Our primary goal is to reach them with the message of the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ. The Prince of Shalom. Then, invite them to attend the church worship and other events such as youth retreats, family picnics, special events, ESL classes, etc.

We are working parallel with Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, in which I am also an Authorized Worship Leader – with all the diversities of color, language (English, Swahili, Shona, French, Rwandese) and culture. God has made us one, in love, fellowship and mission. We enjoy the singing through other tongues and styles, the meals from different countries, etc. Indeed, we are God’s family.

Let me end by thanking the ELCA, the IK Synod, the Ministerium, the Good Shepherd congregation, the Lamb of God and many others who have supported us in different ways. And thanking you all in advance for starting a partnership with us today. This is God’s mission. We are God’s children. God bless you all.

On the left: Upendo and Douglas Mmari sing a duet in Swahili and the Alleluia Choir perform during the New Mission Banquet at the Indiana-Kentucky 2015 Assembly.


Salem Lutheran Church, ELCA Indianapolis