Long Held Commitment to Christ and His Love

Trinity Lutheran Church was the first Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregation established 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 13,000, the capital 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 had 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 was serving Trinity Lutheran Church northwest of Malcolm and agreed to come to Lincoln (fifteen miles on horseback) every two weeks to conduct services.

1882:     Trinity called its first pastor, extending a call to Candidate H. Frincke, a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Trinity 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 in the day school.

1885:     A lot on the north side of H Street between 13th and 14th is acquired from the state. Work on a new church begins immediately.

First Trinity Lutheran Church 1886-1904

1886:     Trinity’s first church was dedicated on February 7th. Pastor Frincke was teaching school full-time in addition to his ministerial duties. A vicar is called to assist at the day school.

1887:     Trinity called its first regular teacher, F. Hellmann. An addition was added to the north end of the church with room for 92 pupils. School enrollment is 82.

1888:     The first record of a service in English was in the fall when an English sermon was delivered at the annual mission festival.

1889:     The congregation had grown to the point that it was necessary to enlarge the seating capacity of the church. A gallery was added at a cost of $500.

1892:     The first “Ladies Aid” was formed by Pastor Frincke. Trinity pays $550 for its first pipe organ, a hand-pumped model.

1896:     Another addition was added to the school to accommodate about 30 new students.

1900:     The school had grown so much that it became necessary to call a second teacher and begin a two-room school. Trinity’s baptized membership was 590 with 107 students enrolled in the day school.

1901:     Music activities were given greater emphasis. The choir was given permission to perform a sacred concert, with special approval to present an anthem in the English language.

1902:     The congregation passed a resolution to build a new church, at a cost not to exceed $12,000.

Trinity’s Second Church (1904-1953)

Trinity’s Second School is immediately to the right of the Church

1904:     A new church on the northeast corner of 13th and H Streets was dedicated. The old church is converted into a school.

1905:     A young people’s society (“Walther League”) was 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 discontinued use of the German language as instructed by the State Council of Defense.

1920:     During the winter of 1919-1920 worship services were 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 was being used as a school, was torn down and a new school was constructed immediately east of Trinity’s second church.

1927:     A ninth grade was added to the school when the Lincoln Public Schools adopt a three-year high school concept. Trinity’s baptized membership was 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 was about 60 and at the English services about 800.

1931:     The German Ladies Aid and The English Ladies Aid agreed to unite.

1938:     The Lutheran Laymen’s League (LLL) was organized.

1939:     Trinity called its first Assistant Pastor (Rev. Howard G. Barth) to work with Pastor Frederick Worthmann.

1941-1945:  During the war years, 157 members served in the military. 7 pay the supreme sacrifice and do not return. Trinity discontinued regular German worship services.

1943:     The Ladies Aid became a charter member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML).

1947:     The Young Couples Club was organized. Committees started planning for the building of a new church.

1948:     A Male Chorus was organized.

1950:     The church obtained a wire tape recorder and begins taping services for its home-bound members. Trinity’s membership goes over the 2,000 mark.

1951:     Ground-breaking services were held for Trinity’s present church at 12th and H Streets. A Parent-Teacher Association was formed.

Trinity’s Present Church

Trinity Lutheran Church – Dedicated 1953

1953:     Trinity’s new church was dedicated on March 1st in the midst of a raging blizzard. The financial indebtedness of the new church seemed insurmountable at first, but by the grace of God, the debt was successfully eliminated in 10 years. The new church included an educational unit occupied by the junior high department and the kindergarten.

1956:     School enrollment was 152 and a sixth grade teacher was added to the staff.

1957:     Trinity Lutheran Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization to administer gifts and bequests for the benefit of the church. Land was purchased on North 56th Street for the purpose of building a new elementary school. Most of Trinity’s members were in favor of consolidating with other congregations to form a junior high school,  to be built on North 56th Street.

1958:     Trinity’s membership reached its highest point with a baptized membership of 2,510 souls.

1959:    The decision was made to tear down the old church on the corner of 13th and H Streets which was being used as a gymnasium for the school. The Lincoln Lutheran School Association was formed with the goal of establishing a junior high school. The organization was made of three congregations: Trinity, Redeemer, and Calvary.

1962:     The Lincoln Lutheran Junior High School opened for classes with 134 students enrolled.

1963:     Trinity resolved to build a new elementary school on the North 56th Street property. The lots on 13th and H Streets were sold to help finance the new school.

1964:     The new elementary school was dedicated on May 24th. The Senior Walther League was dissolved due to lack of interest and decreasing membership.

1965:     Trinity’s membership stood at 2,219. During communion services individual cups were experimented with for the first time.

1968:     A new enrollment record was set in the elementary school when the number of students reached 156.

1973:     A new constitution adopted by the church made provision for a Youth Board. Trinity called a full-time Youth Director (Larry Veland) for the first time in its history.

1980:     Dennis Engelbart was called from North Platte and was installed on December 7th as the 9th principal of Trinity’s school.

1988:     Pastor Duane Voorman accepted a call to Trinity and was installed on October 24th. Messiah Lutheran Church joined the Lincoln Lutheran School Association to help support the junior high school.

1989:     Pastor Daniel Ondov accepted a call to Billings, Montana. Trinity installed Pastor Craig Schultz as its new Senior Pastor on November 26th.

1992:     Trinity initiated a fundraising 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 were received.

1994:     Trinity dedicated the remodeling and new addition at the elementary school on Sunday, September 4th. A special plenary session of the five churches belonging to the Lincoln Lutheran School Association voted to proceed with establishing a Lincoln Lutheran High School.

1995:     Tom Pruitt began his duties as Director of Discipleship in March. He filled an opening created by Verdell Schramm who left to attend the Seminary in St. Louis.

1995:     Ground breaking ceremonies were conducted on May 7th for the new high school. A tenth grade was started in the fall.

1996:     Pastor Craig Schultz left for a position with PathWay Ministries. Trinity installed 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 welcomed its first Sudanese families as members.

2001:     The Male Choir celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Trinity adopted Rev. Larry Steckling and his family as our second missionaries.

2002:     On May 14th, Trinity began to offer English as a Second Language classes.

2003:     Pastor Jerome Rossow retired as Associate Pastor. Trinity adopted Pastor Brent Smith’s family as their third missionaries.

2004:     Andrew Rohwer served as Director of Christian Education Intern.

2005:     Rev. Matthew Tooman began as Associate Pastor and Bethany Melcher was hired as Trinity’s first full-time Director of Christian Education.

2008:     Gabriel Bol and Vincent Paul were installed as vicars at Trinity

2009:     As Trinity’s Sudanese Missionary, Vicar Bol planted the following churches in Sudan: Trinity Lutheran – Maiwut Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Jaiok Campus, Trinity Lutheran – Malow Campus, and Trinity Lutheran – Longechuk Campus.

2010:     As Trinity’s 2nd Sudanese Missionary, Vicar Paul planted 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 begins a medical clinic there.

2012:     Trinity-Pa Jok church building was completed.

2013:     Trinity – Pa Jok built 2nd worship center and began Trinity Lutheran School – Pa Jok Campus.  In one day, 288 were baptized. Director of Discipleship, Tom Pruitt, retired.

2015:     David Geidel was installed as the 12th Principal of Trinity Lutheran School.  Associate Pastor Matthew Tooman accepted a call to Wahpeton, North Dakota.

2016:     Pastor Duane Voorman accepted a call to Cabot, PA. Pastor Calvin L’Heureux began serving as Vacancy and Visitation Pastor and Temporary Interim Pastor.

2017:     Pastor Glenn Meyer began serving as the Intentional Interim Pastor. David Geidel announced he intended to retire as the Principal at Trinity Lutheran School. David Kumm was installed as the 13th Principal.

2018:    Trinity Lutheran Church completed the call process and called Pastor Daniel Wing. Pastor Glenn Meyer took another call in July 2018 and Pastor Daniel Wing was installed as Head Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on July 29, 2018.

2019:  Enrollment growth happens at Trinity Lutheran School. A new portable classroom was added to the property behind the main physical building.

2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) was a global pandemic that caused Trinity Lutheran Church to shutter its doors from March 22 – May 17 to the public. The church began  recording worship services and made them available online. Pastor Wing also began his daily devotion series called 9:59 on Facebook and on the trinityoflincoln.org website. 

Trinity Lutheran School began offering remote learning to students on March 18, 2020 due to COVID-19. The students were not able to physically be in the building to complete the school year. Trinity Lutheran Faculty and Staff found new and creative ways for students to learn and interact while the school was required to be physically closed due to the virus.

2021: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to run rampant globally and in the Lincoln Community. Directed Health Measures (DHM’s) were in place for most of the year. One of the DHM’s was a mask mandate. Trinity Lutheran School was able to offer in person classes again. Some families during the 2020-2021 school year elected to have their children take part in remote learning. The remote learning included packets of information and using the web platform Zoom where students could attend class virtually.

On May 17, 2021 Trinity Lutheran Church launched the FORWARD program. Forward is a program where parents of young children who need supplementation of items for their children such as baby food, formula, wipes, and diapers (FWD) can come to Trinity Lutheran Church’s Trinity House to get a set number of diapers, wipes, and food. The hours for this program are 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM every Monday except holidays.

On August 29, 2021 Bethany Mrosko was installed as Trinity’s Director of Christian Outreach. 

Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) was one of the warmest Christmases on record for Lincoln, Nebraska. The temperature was over 65 degrees that day.  It was so warm the air conditioner had to be turned on in the Sanctuary during the 4:00 PM Worship Service. 

Trinity’s Pastors – 1882 to Present

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

2016-2018                                    Rev. Calvin L’Heureux – Visitation

2017- 2018                                   Rev. Gelnn Meyer – Intentional Interim Pastor

2018-Present                               Rev. Daniel Wing