The Chautauqua
Lutheran House

25 Peck Avenue
Box 1108
Chautauqua, NY 14722

Phone: (716) 357-2135

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Contact Us

Latest online documents in pdf format:

2015 Annual News Letter

Reservation Guidelines and Application Form for 2016 (page 7 and 8)

First Time Family Grant Information and Application (page 9 and 10)


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Chautauqua Grounds

  • Welcome
  • Our History
  • Governance
  • Accommodations
  • Elevator Project
  • Weekly Events


The mission of the Lutheran Chautauqua Association is to provide a Lutheran identity on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution through witness, worship, fellowship, hospitality and re-creation.

On this web site you’ll be able to learn about the Lutheran House, and its Board of Directors, room accommodations and obtain important information about the 2016 season.

Located on the sidebar is a link for the latest online document in PDF format. This includes:

  • Our 2015 Annual Newsletter
  • Room Reservation Form for 2016
  • First Time Lutheran House Family Grant Application.

Come and join us for another great season!

New Host and Hostess for 2015. Introducing Sue and Jerry Keppel. For further information on the Keppels, see "Our History" tab.



Since 1890 there has been a Lutheran presence at Chautauqua. 2015 marked the 125th anniversary of that presence and the 90th anniversary of the current Lutheran House.

The first headquarters for Lutheran worship and activity was established during the 1890 Chautauqua season at 28 Foster, the summer home of Pastor and Mrs. Isaac O. Baker of Erie, PA.

The initial aim was to make the headquarters a common meeting place for all Lutherans, irrespective of nationality, language or synodical affiliation.

In 1916 the Lutheran Chautauqua Women's Association made an appeal to various organizations of the Lutheran churches for a new building. This appeal was a success and a new building (our present Lutheran House) was dedicated on August 9, 1925.

For 125 years there has been a Lutheran presence at Chautauqua and a Lutheran House since 1925. An important part of our Lutheran ministry has been to create a welcoming place for our guests. We have been fortunate to have had the following women as Hostesses during the past 90 years.

  • Mrs. G. G. Ruff, 1925-1948
  • Mrs. Gladys Schake, 1949-1977
  • Mrs. Rachel Westerberg, 1978-1983
  • Mrs. Delores Bergstrand, 1984-1991
  • Mrs. Karla Jensen, 1992-2003
  • Ms. Jane Sampsell Nye, 2004-2008
  • Ms. Christine A. Hylenski, 2009-2014

Each previous Hostess has brought special gifts to share with all and built a stronger presence for Lutherans at Chautauqua.

New Host & Hostess Jerry and Sue Keppel

The Board of Directors for the Lutheran Chautauqua Association are pleased to announce the hire of Sue and Jerry Keppel as our new Host and Hostess. The Keppels have been guests at the Lutheran House for the past seven years after their first year as recipients of a First Time Family Grant. Active and dedicated to maintaining the facility since their first year as guests, Sue has been taking care of the award winning gardens at the House for the past five years. She is a former Master Gardener and has a degree in horticulture from Alfred State College. They both helped in opening and closing the house since their first year as guests.

The Keppels have been married for 35 years this September and have three grown children. Their children attended Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Camp across the lake for many summers. They live in Amherst, N.Y. which is a suburb of Buffalo. They attend and are active members of St Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Eggertsville, N.Y.

Jerry was born in The Netherlands and grew up in Little Falls N.Y. He recently retired from the U.S. Post Office as a letter carrier. A veteran, Jerry served in the Navy and was in the Reserves for more than 20 years. He enjoys jogging, reading and watching sports on television.
Sue grew up in the Buffalo region and is a registered nurse. She works part-time at home doing follow-up phone calls for rehabilitation facilities across the country. She loves yoga, gardening and ushering.

Both Keppels volunteer at several theaters in the Buffalo area as well as the Buffalo History Museum. Sue and Jerry have been involved in NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for more than 15 years. Jerry is currently on the board of NAMI as treasurer.

Sue and Jerry look forward to serving as the Host and Hostess and extend a welcome to you as you visit the Lutheran House this year.

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The Lutheran House is owned by the Lutheran Chautauqua Association (LCA) organized in 1903. It is not affiliated with any Lutheran church or synod; therefore it is dependent entirely on rental income, offerings, donations and special bequests.

A nine-member Board of Directors governs and maintains the House and engages a hostess who plans and administers Lutheran House activities.

Annual Meetings of the Lutheran Chautauqua Association are held on Sunday of the fifth week of the Chautauqua Season.

All Lutherans and non-Lutherans are invited to join the Association, attend the Annual Meetings and participate in activities that make the Lutheran House a welcoming home. You may join by making an annual contribution of $10 for an individual or $20 for a family. Non-Lutherans may join by making the same annual contribution, becoming Associate Members.


Everyone is invited to make a gift to the Endowment Fund, including our friends from other denominations. LCA members and Associate members are invited to become a Life Member of the Lutheran Chautauqua Association by contribution $1,000. This can be in one lump sum or spread out over three years in equal installments. Contact the President of the Board of Directors for further information about gifts for the Lutheran House.


The 2015-16 Board of Directors & Staff:

  • Donald Davis, Greensburg, PA, President
  • Rev. Donald Green, Pittsburgh, PA, Vice-President
  • Sharon Hamilton, Jamestown, NY, Secretary
  • Ruth D. Dobson, Seven Fields, PA, Recording Secretary
  • John Howard, Allison Park, PA, Treasurer
  • Donna Davis, Greensburg, PA
  • James Garofalo, Port Royal, PA
  • Kathy Green, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jan Harris, North East, PA
  • Ardyce Gustafson Rigg,
    Cooksburg, PA
  • June Trenty, Medina, OH
  • Suzanne and Jerry Keppel, Host/Hostess and Editors
  • Janet Enders, Pittsburgh, PA, Historian
  • David Nieding, Webmaster:

Donald Davis

Ruth D. Dobson
Recording Secretary


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The Lutheran House, located on the Brick Walk, is known affectionately as The Mighty Fortress in the heart of Chautauqua Institution. Facilities include:

  • Thirteen guest rooms on the second and third floors.
  • Each room has a sink, ceiling fan and window fan.
  • Bathrooms (some with shower/tub combination or walk-in showers) are located on each sleeping floor and the lower level.
  • A large, attractive dining room on the lower lever, which adjoins a guest-shared fully-equipped kitchen.
  • Shared kitchen facilities include: Dishes, flatware, two stoves, microwave ovens, cookware and utensils; A Weber grill just outside the kitchen door; Ample storage space for dry and canned goods and 1⁄2 of a full- size refrigerator/freezer. (Coolers may be stored in the supply room.)
  • A main floor open gathering space accommodates worship and conversation with a corner for viewing TV.
  • Shaded porches on the first and second floors.
  • Wireless Internet access.
  • Furnished Linens.

Mid-week, on Wednesday morning, fresh, clean towels are provided and mirrors and sinks are cleaned.

An outdoor grill stands outside the kitchen door for all to use.

The Lutheran House Policy on Wine & Beer

Moderate consumption of wine and beer is permitted at the Lutheran House on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution. Alcoholic beverages shall be confined to the dining hall (lower level) and the second floor porch. On special occasions and with the Board’s approval, alcohol may be served in the first floor living room. Please note: Only wine and beer are permitted.

The Lutheran House Host/Hostess shall have authority to warn guests about excessive consumption and any resulting inappropriate behavior. If deemed necessary by the Host/Hostess, following consultation with an officer of the Board, the guest(s) may be asked to immediately vacate their residence at the Lutheran House without any refund of room rental.

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The Lutheran House Elevator Project

Help make it possible for more people to enjoy the Lutheran House and experience Chautauqua.

The Lutheran House -- a mighty friendly fortress--stands on the Brick Walk, welcoming visitors from all over the world. It is mighty; but at the same time, the steps to reach the four floors are challenging for many.

Chautauqua offers experiences in music, recreation, religion, theater, dance, art, current affairs, and so much more. It is the recipient of many accolades and has been named one of the best small towns in America. Chautauqua welcomes folks from all over the world, from all walks of life, and all religions. In the last decade, the Institution has worked to make its venues accessible to the physically challenged.

The Lutheran House plays a critical role at Chautauqua by providing affordable accommodations. Yet it offers far more than accommodations. House guests experience Chautauqua and enjoy the Lutheran worship services and fellowship.

The House is a sharing place. Sharing kitchen space. Sharing food. Sharing opinions in lively conversation. Sharing quiet time on the second floor porch. Sharing the front porch with many who stop on their way along the Brick Walk.

Let’s make it possible to share the Lutheran House with the physically-challenged so that they can enjoy the Chautauqua experience.

The Elevator Challenge - - $200,000

For many years house guests, would-be guests, social and worship service visitors have asked for an elevator. The steps are challenging for many and impossible for some.

THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE! The strong structure of the building presented many obstacles. The lack of land around the building was also a problem. And then there was the red tape of permits and permissions. These obstacles were daunting.

BUT WE FOUND A WAY! The board of the Lutheran Chautauqua Association, working with a devoted architect (and frequent Lutheran House guest) has found IT CAN BE DONE!

The diagram illustrates how the elevator will be accessed at ground level on Peck Street. The photo shows the location of the entrance. The elevator will access all four floors of the building--basement to the top floor. An Americans with Disability Act accessible toilet and sink will be added as well.



IT CAN BE DONE WITH YOUR HELP! The cost for the design and installation of the elevator and restroom is $200,000. Please help more people enjoy the Lutheran House.

Please give to this worthy project.


Donors of $1,000 or more could win a week's vacation at a wide range of resorts--from Hawaii to Disney World

When you pledge or donate $1,000 or more by June 30, 2016, your name will be entered in a drawing for a one week vacation at your choice of Wyndham Resorts (travel not included). Enclosed is more information on these resorts. The drawing will be held at the Lutheran Chautauqua Association Annual Meeting on July 24, 2016.


  • All gifts of $1,000 and more will be permanently recognized at the Lutheran House.
  • All gifts will be acknowledged on our website, in our newsletter, and in a commemorative booklet when we dedicate the elevator.


Donors of $1,000 or more could win a week’s vacation at one of the following resorts:

Bonnet Creek Resort

This gorgeous family-friendly resort is located right next to Walt Disney World and a short drive to Sea World. Spacious family suites feature full kitchens, living spaces and washers and dryers for your convenience. Enjoy an array of on-site activities and entertainment and take advantage of an outdoor play area with multiple pools, hot tubs, water slides, lazy rivers, barbeque grills and more. The two bedroom suite sleeps eight.


Grand Desert Las Vegas, Nevada
GRAND DESERT (Las Vegas, Nevada)

This Mediterranean-style, mega resort has three towers that allow for beautiful mountain, dramatic city and charming courtyard view of our lagoon-style pool. Spectacular one and two-bedroom suites with fully-equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, dining rooms, large bedrooms with plenty of closet and storage space, living rooms with a pull-out sofa. The perfect vacation home - away from home - for a weekend trip or an extended stay. The two bedroom suite sleeps up to eight.


LA CASCADA (San Antonio, Texas)

A new downtown retreat in San Antonio, resort guests enjoy amenity-rich condo- style accommodations and friendly amenities in a bustling city center setting. All suites have free WiFi, full kitchens, washer/dryer, and whirlpool tubs. Guests love the spectacular city views from the private balconies. This riverside resort is walking distance to the shops, restaurants and nightlife along the famous San Antonio River Walk. The historic Alamo and River Center Mall are just minutes away. Two bedroom suites sleep up to six.



Located in a prime stretch of the famous Myrtle Beach, this resort offers unlimited ways to have refreshing fun! From pools, lazy river, children's pools and hot tubs, your Myrtle Beach family vacation is a splash. In your spectacular suite, take in the beachside or ocean view from your private balcony. Your comfortable suite with a full kitchen and modern furnishings is the perfect place to relax from your Myrtle Beach golf game or day at the amusement park. Two bedroom suites sleep up to six.

Additional information and photos of the above resorts and other vacation options are available at

The above incentive is offered through the generosity of Lutheran Chautauqua Association Board President Don Davis and his spouse, Donna, also a Board member.

4 Ways to Give


Cash contributions may be made:

  • in one transaction,
  • in several payments, or
  • on an annual basis between 2015 and December 2017.


Congress has passed legislation to extend the IRA Charitable Rollover. The law allows individuals who are 70 1/2 or older to make direct gifts up to $100,000 to charitable organizations through their IRA. You can convert your taxable IRA distribution and potentially reduce your taxes. To identify the best procedure for making such a gift, contact both your broker and the LCA Capital Appeal Chair, Pastor Don Green.


Appreciated stocks, bonds, closely-held stock in family businesses, or other property may be given to the Lutheran Chautauqua Association. The value of a gift of stock is determined by the average market value of the stock on the date the gift is made. To identify the best procedure for making such a gift, contact both your broker and the LCA Capital Appeal Chair, Pastor Don Green.


The Charitable Gift Annuity is a simple contract between you, the donor(s) and the Lutheran Chautauqua Association. Your tax deductible gift will be used to fund an annuity that will guarantee you lifetime income. This can be funded with either cash or securities.

Click here to Download the
Lutheran House Elevator Project

For additional information on the Lutheran House Elevator Project, contact: Pastor Don Green 8612 West Barkhurst Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15237 412-366-3894 or 412-302-1227


Sunday Worship

Each week begins with a worship service on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM at the Lutheran House. The Chaplain of the Week presides over the worship service. The service concludes in time for those who desire to attend the 10:45 AM community worship service in the Amphitheater.

Tuesday Social Hour

Continuing the ministry of hospitality and fellowship, a social hour is hosted every Tuesday at 3:00 PM by area Lutheran church women and men. Lutheran punch, homemade cookies and good fellowship abound. Musical talents are often shared on this occasion.

Mid-week Worship

A mid-week worship service is held on Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM, led by the Lutheran House Chaplain.

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