The History of Trinity Lutheran Church
Trinity Lutheran Church is the oldest Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Lincoln, Nebraska. Founded in 1881 we continue to Connect People to Christ in His Word and Love. While Trinity had a humble beginning, it has an illustrious history-which testifies to the grace and mercy of Almighty God.
The Civil War had been over for sixteen years, and the Nebraska Territory had been a state for fourteen. In 1881 Lincoln was a booming prairie town with a population of thirteen thousand, the capitol of the state, and growing so fast that it still lacked paved streets, water and sewage systems. A massive immigration of Europeans seeking a better life in this new country was underway (by 1891 Lincoln’s population doubled). Among those immigrants were the German Lutherans who founded Trinity Lutheran Church. The following is a brief summary of some of the major events in the life of Trinity Lutheran Church:
1881: On November 27th, Trinity Lutheran Congregation is organized by Pastor Frederick Koenig with five charter members. Pastor Koenig is serving Trinity Lutheran Church northwest of Malcolm and agrees to come to Lincoln (fifteen miles on horseback) every two weeks to conduct services.
1882: Trinity calls its first pastor, extending a call to Candidate H. Frincke, a graduate of the St. Louis Seminary. Trinity does not have a church home and rents other facilities to hold services. A Christian Day School is started with two children in attendance (they are taught by Pastor Frincke in his study).
1884: A building committee (formed in 1882) had collected a building fund amounting to $755.33. Trinity’s baptized membership is 123 with 23 students enrolled at the day school.
1885: A lot on the north side of H Street between 13th and 14th is acquired from the state and work on a new church starts immediately.
1886: Trinity’s first church is dedicated on February 7th. Pastor Frincke is teaching school full-time in addition to his ministerial duties. A vicar is called to assist the pastor at the day school.
Trinity’s First Church (1886-1904)
1887: Trinity calls its first regular teacher, F. Hellmann. A new addition is added to the north end of the church with room for 92 pupils. School enrollment is 82.
1888: The first record of an English service is in the fall when an English sermon is delivered at the annual mission festival.
1889: The congregation has grown to the point that it is necessary to enlarge the seating capacity of the church. A gallery is added at a cost of $500.
1892: The first “Ladies Aid” is formed by Pastor Frincke. Trinity pays $550 for its first pipe organ, a hand-pumped model.
1896: Another addition is added to the school to accommodate about 30 new students.
1900: The school has grown so much that it becomes necessary to call a second teacher and begin a two-room school. Trinity’s baptized membership is 590 with 107 students enrolled in the day school.
1901: Music activities are given greater emphasis. The choir is given permission to perform a sacred concert, with special approval to present an anthem in the English language.
1902: The congregation passes a resolution to build a new church, at a cost not to exceed $12,000.
1904: A new church on the northeast corner of 13th and H Streets is dedicated. The old church is converted into a school.
Trinity’s Second Church (1904-1953) – (Trinity’s Second School is immediately to the right of the Church)
1905: A young people’s society (“Walther League”) is organized.
1908: The congregation resolved to hold two English worship services per month.
1917: The Sunday School comes into existence.
1918: With the United Stated involved in World War I the school discontinues use of the German language as instructed by a war body, the State Council of Defense.
1920: During the winter of 1919-1920 worship services are held in private homes because of a ban on all public meetings due to a severe shortage of coal.
1922: The old first church, which is being used as a school, is torn down and a new school is constructed immediately east of Trinity’s second church.
1927: A ninth grade is added to the school when the Lincoln Public Schools adopt a three-year high school concept. Trinity’s baptized membership is 742 with 114 students enrolled in the day school.
1928: Trinity adds another English service for nine months of the year; bringing the total to three services each Sunday during the winter season (an English and German Service in the morning and another English service in the evening). Attendance at the German services is about 60 and at the English services about 800.
1931: The German Ladies Aid and The English Ladies Aid agree to unite.
1938: The Lutheran Laymen’s League (LLL) is organized.
1939: Trinity calls its first Assistant Pastor (Rev. Howard G. Barth) to work with Pastor Frederick Worthmann.
1941-1945: During the war years, 157 members serve in the military and seven pay the supreme sacrifice and do not return. Trinity discontinues regular German worship services.
1943: The Ladies Aid becomes a charter member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML).
1947: The Young Couples Club (now known as the Couples Club) is organized. Committees start planning for the building of a new church.
1948: A Male Chorus is organized.
1950: The church obtains a wire tape recorder and begins taping services for its homebound members. Trinity’s membership goes over the 2,000 mark.
1951: Ground breaking services are held for Trinity’s present church at 12th and H Streets. A Parent-Teacher Association is formed.
1953: Trinity’s new church is dedicated on March 1st in the midst of a raging blizzard. The financial indebtedness of the new church seems insurmountable, at first, but by the grace of God the debt is successfully eliminated in ten years. The new church includes an educational unit occupied by the junior high department and the kindergarten.
Trinity’s Present Church
1956: School enrollment is 152 and a sixth grade teacher is added to the staff.
1957: Trinity Lutheran Foundation is incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization to administer gifts and bequests for the benefit of the church. Land is purchased on North 56th Street for the purpose of building a new elementary school. Most of Trinity’s members are in favor of consolidating with other congregations to form a junior high school, hopefully to be built on North 56th Street.
1958: Trinity’s membership reaches its highest point with a baptized membership of 2,510 souls.
1959: A decision is made to tear down the old church on the corner of 13th and H Streets which is being used as a gymnasium for the school. The Lincoln Lutheran School Association is formed with the goal of establishing a junior high school. The organization is made up of three congregations; Trinity, Redeemer and Calvary.
1962: The Lincoln Lutheran Junior High School opens for classes with 134 students enrolled.
1963: Trinity resolves to build a new elementary school on the North 56th Street property. The lots on 13th and H Streets are sold to help finance the new school.
1964: The new elementary school is dedicated on May 24th. The Senior Walther League is dissolved due to lack of interest and decreasing membership.
1965: Trinity’s membership stands at 2,219. During communion services individual cups are experimented with for the first time.
1968: A new enrollment record is set in the elementary school when the number of students reaches 156.
1973: A new constitution adopted by the church makes provision for a Youth Board. Trinity calls a full-time Youth Director (Larry Veland) for the first time in its history.
1980: Dennis Engelbart is called from North Platte and is installed on December 7th as the ninth principal of Trinity’s school.
1988: Pastor Duane Voorman accepts a call to Trinity and is installed on October 24th. Messiah Lutheran Church joins the Lincoln Lutheran School Association to help support the junior high school.
1989: Pastor Daniel Ondov accepts a call to Billings, Montana. Trinity installs Pastor Craig Schultz as its new Senior Pastor on November 26th.
1992: Trinity initiates a fund raising campaign (Harvest 2000) to build an addition to the school and do remodeling work at the church and school. Pledges in excess of $875,000 are received.
1994: Trinity dedicates the remodeling and new addition at the elementary school on Sunday, September 4th. A special plenary session of the 5 churches belonging to the Lincoln Lutheran School Association votes to proceed with establishing a Lincoln Lutheran High School.
1995: Tom Pruitt begins his duties as Director of Discipleship in March. He fills an opening created by Verdell Schramm leaving to attend the Seminary in St. Louis.
1995: Ground breaking ceremonies are conducted on May 7th for the new high school. A tenth grade is started in the fall.
1996: Pastor Craig Schultz leaves for a position with PathWay Ministries. Trinity installs Pastor Duane Voorman as its new Administrative Pastor in June.
1997: On February 3, Leland Huebner began his duties as Trinity’s 10th principal. The former principal, Dennis Engelbart accepted a position with Concordia University at Seward, NE.
1998: The beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary were dedicated on June 14.
1998: Rev. Jerome Rossow was installed as Associate Pastor on September 6 filling the position vacated when Pastor Voorman became Administrative Pastor.
1999: An outdoor Mission Festival was held in a tent. This eventually led to the adoption of our first missionary, Sarah Loewe, who served in Thailand.
2000: Trinity welcomes its first Sudanese families as members.
2001: The Male Choir celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Trinity adopts Rev. Larry Steckling and his family as our second missionaries.
2002: On May 14, Trinity begins to offer English as a Second Language classes.
2003: Pastor Jerome Rossow retires as Associate Pastor. Trinity adopts Pastor Brent Smith family as their third missionaries.
2004: Andrew Rohwer serves as Director of Christian Education Intern.
2005: Rev. Matthew Tooman begins as Associate Pastor and Bethany Melcher is hired as Trinity’s first full-time Director of Christian Education.
2008: Gabriel Bol and Vincent Paul are installed as Vicars at Trinity
2009: As Trinity’s Sudanese Missionary, Vicar Bol plants the following churches in Sudan: Trinity Lutheran – Maiwut Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Jaiok Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Malow Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Longechuk Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Malow Campus
2010: As Trinity’s 2nd Sudanese Missionary, Vicar Paul plants a church in Sudan named Trinity Lutheran – Pa Jok Campus. He also secured and cleared 4 acres of land to build a church, school and begin a medical clinic there.
2012: Trinity-Pajok church building is completed.
2013: Trinity – Pajok builds 2nd worship center and begins Trinity Lutheran School – Pajok Campus. In one day, 288 were baptized. Director of Discipleship, Tom Pruitt, retired.
2015: David Geidel is installed as our 12th principal. Associate Pastor Matthew Tooman accepts call to Wahpeton, North Dakota.
2016: Pastor Duane Voorman accepts call to Cabot, PA./ Pastor Calvin L’Heureux begins serving as Vacancy and Visitation Pastor and Temporary Interim Pastor
2017: Pastor Glenn Meyer begins serving Trinity Lutheran Church as the Intentional Interim Pastor/ David Geidel announces that he intends to retire as at principal at Trinity Lutheran School./ David Kumm is installed as our 13th principal.
Trinity’s Pastors-1882 to 2017
1882-1895 Rev. H. Frincke
1896-1918 Rev. George Allenbach
1919-1928 Rev. H. J. Eggold
1928-1937 Rev. H. G. Hartner
1937-1958 Rev. Frederick H. Worthmann
1939-1941 Rev. H. G. Barth-Assistant
1941 Rev. Paul Von Dielingen-Assistant
1945-1947 Rev. William J. Roesler-Assistant
1948-1954 Rev. J. G. Jacobsen-Assistant
1955-1960 Rev. Carl E. Zahrte-Assistant
1959-1976 Rev. Alfred Ernst
1961-1976 Rev. Paul Krohn-Assistant
1977-1989 Rev. Daniel J. Ondov
1980-1983 Rev. Thomas Hackett-Associate
1988-1996 Rev. Duane Voorman-Associate
1989-1995 Rev. Craig Schultz
1996-2016 Rev. Duane Voorman
1998-2003 Rev. Jerome Rossow-Associate
2005-2015 Rev. Matthew Tooman
2016-Present Rev. Calvin L’Heureux – Visitation
2017- Present Rev. Gelnn Meyer – Intentional Interim Pastor