Bridging cultures: Lawrence resident is honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany


Sven Schumacher immigrated to America in 1985 but is closely tied to his German heritage.

A Lawrence resident, Schumacher moved to America at age 28. He studied at Butler University and became licensed in marriage and family therapy. He’s worked as a social worker in the Indianapolis area ever since graduating from Butler. For the past 14 years, he has served as the honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is part of the German embassy representing Germany in Indiana. Consul is a voluntary position that reports to the Consulate General in Chicago.

“There are basically three things I do,” said Schumacher, 64. “One is, I help Germans or people in our state with some consular needs they have. They might need a German stamp on a document for German court or they’re selling or buying real estate in Germany. The other part is I deal with German and EU citizens who have a special need. Maybe they were in an accident, or they lost their passport, or they got arrested while traveling or working over here.

“I help out with that and connect them with the right people.”

Schumacher also assists with public diplomacy relationships between Indiana and Germany, such as representing Germany in the Carmel Christkindlmarkt each year or attending local German events, like Oktoberfests.

“There’s a lot of interest in our state in Germany, partly because I think a third of the people in Indiana have some German background,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said Indiana was heavily settled by German immigrants. And the Hoosier state has economic interests in Germany, and vice versa.

“There’s a lot of German investment by German companies in Indiana and Indiana companies investing in Germany,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher is the executive director of Lutheran Child and Family Services.

“Many people coming from Germany were connected to or (were) members of Lutheran churches in Germany, so they founded German churches here,” Schumacher said. “In 1883, German immigrants founded Lutheran Child and Family Services.”

In 1883, Lutheran Child and Family Services operated an orphanage. Now, the organization fights hunger through The Sharing Place, a food pantry serving Lawrence Township. Lutheran Child and Family Services also offers residential and community-based programs.

The Sharing Place is a pantry partner with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Second Helpings and several churches in Lawrence Township. It operates out of the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Education and Community Center, 6501 Sunnyside Rd.

The Sharing Place is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every second Saturday.

Schumacher said the pantry adopts a “no questions asked policy” and allows anyone to take food as long as they live in one of the following ZIP codes: 46055, 46216, 46218, 46219, 46220, 46226, 46235, 46236, 46249, 46250 and 46256. Clients can receive food once a month and on Saturday pantry days each month.

Schumacher said he hopes The Sharing Place will again offer free healthy cooking classes to clients, but the classes have been paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In his spare time, Schumacher enjoys woodworking. (Photo courtesy of Sven Schumacher)

Still tied to Germany

Sven Schumacher, who immigrated to America in 1985, still travels to Germany several times a year to visit family. He’s also visited Cologne, Germany, which is Indianapolis’ sister city.

Schumacher is a hobby woodworker. Some of his woodwork is on display at the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple at 870 E. 67th St.

Besides his hobbies, Schumacher said he likes to spend time with his family and friends.