History of Trinity Church

  History of Trinity Church  
The founding fathers came from neighboring villages in Hesse, Germany.  Although they lived in the beautiful hills of Odenwald, they sought freedom from high taxes, compulsory military service and poor economic conditions.  After prayerful deliberation, a number of them decided to leave their Fatherland for America in 1831.

Their families were passengers on the “Famous Dove.”  After a pleasant voyage, they encountered a terrific storm a short distance from the coast of America.  The ship, tossed by the mighty wind, landed on a reef.  The broken vessel remained there until the storm subsided.  Through God’s protection, all the people were saved.  In thanksgiving they made a vow to keep the 17th day of September as a Holy Day unto the third and fourth generation.

Since most of their worldly possessions were lost, they had to find employment to buy supplies for their journey to Ohio.  Consequently, it was in 1834 when the first settlers arrived in (now) southern Hancock County.  There were 36 families in the area nine years later.

In 1843, efforts to organize a congregation and to locate a pastor in the settlement were successful. The church was organized and named German Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church in November.  A parochial school opened in December.

In 1883, with Pastor A. J. Jansen in charge, the congregation was again re-organized and named German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church, which name it has had for over 100 years.

A Parcel of land was bought on North Main Street in Jenera in 1889.  Work was begun on a new brick church.  The building was 35 x 60 feet with an altar niche and stately steeple, 190 feet in height.  The entire cost of the building was $11,000.  Dedication was held on the Sunday before Christmas in 1889.

In 1894 Trinity called Pastor John Gauss of Lapeer, Michigan to serve the congregation.

With the help of God the new pastor brought new life into the congregation.  Its membership grew from 49 to 97 voting members, 294 communicants, and a total of 381. 

By 1900 the debt on the church building was paid.  At the annual meeting in 1900 it was resolved to build a new parsonage beside the church.

Pastor Gauss organized a Bible class for young people in 1901.  It was later named Luther Society, which it is still called today.

Trinity was without synodical connections.  In January 1911 it was decided unanimously that the congregation join the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Michigan, a member of the Synodical Conference.

At the annual meeting in 1923 it was unanimously resolved to enlarge the church building. The new house of worship was dedicated to the Triune God on July 6, 1924.

In the fall of 1943, Trinity released 45 members to establish a mission congregation in Findlay.  Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church held its first service on October 19.

Click to see Webpage for: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Findlay,OH

A special celebration was held on October 12, 1947 in honor of Pastor Gauss.  This commemorated his 50 years of faithful service to Trinity.

Following an illness, Pastor Gauss passed away on December 31, 1949.  At that time Pastor Walter C. Voss took charge of ministerial duties.

In May, 1951 it was resolved to build a school building at the corner of Allen and High Streets.  It was dedicated to the glory of God in the spring of 1952.

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church was established as a mission congregation in Kenton on February 13, 1952.  Trinity helped in this mission work under Pastor Voss’ guidance.

For many years there had been an interest among the women of the congregation for a Ladies Aid.  The first meeting was held October 22, 1962 under Pastor Bradtke’s guidance.  There were 36 charter members.

Early in 1960, Pastor Voss received a call form New Salem Congregation in Sebewaing, Michigan.  Pastor A. Maaske served as vacancy pastor.

Trinity’s call to Pastor Martin Bradtke, West Bend, Wisconsin was accepted.  His installation service was held August 28, 1960.

Pastor Bradtke received two divine calls early in 1963.  He accepted the second one to two churches in Michigan, St. John’s in Allegan and Peace in Otsego.

Pastor Bauman served as vacancy pastor.  He was assisted by Pastors Kenneth Seim and Carlton Palenske of Findlay.

Trinity’s call for a pastor was accepted by Pastor Donald Laude of Coleman, Wisconsin.  He was installed here in June 1964.

To comply with state school regulations regarding the number of students in a classroom, it was deemed necessary to enlarge Trinity School.  Approved by voters in February, 1967, an additional classroom and combination principal’s office and kindergarten room were dedicated in October, 1968.

Trinity became a member of the new Ohio Conference on January 1, 1971.  The Ohio Conference is a member of the Michigan District of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Early in the morning on March 24, 1973, smoke was seen coming form the west end of the church building by a neighbor.  With the help of God, firemen were able to confine the fire to the attic above the balcony.  Damage was confined to the balcony area.

A call was extended to Pastor Laude in the spring of 1978 by Messiah and Trinity Lutheran Churches in Kansas.  The call was accepted and a farewell was given to the Laude family in July. Pastor Karl Fuhlbrigge of Findlay served as vacancy pastor.

Pastor Edward Pinchoff of Ann Arbor, Michigan accepted the call to become Trinity’s next pastor.  He was installed September 17, 1978.

In 1980, Paradise Valley Lutheran Church, Phoenix, Arizona called Pastor Pinchoff.  He accepted the call and the Pinchoffs left for Arizona in May.

Pastor Hans Schultz of Chesaning, Michigan served as vacancy pastor for a number of months.  He was assisted by Pastor Kenneth Jahnke of Kenton.  Other Lutheran pastors from Michigan also assisted.

Trinity’s call to Pastor Robert J. Gurgel of Mitchell, S. D. was accepted in the fall of 1980. 

Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new addition to Trinity School was held on May 15.  The addition includes two new classrooms and a multi-purpose room.

In 1986 with the growth at Trinity, a Vicar program was started when Vicar Timmermann started.  Vicar Schultz came in 1988 followed by Vicar Panning in 1990, Vicar Nitz in 1991 and Vicar Schroeder in 1992.

In 1988 Pastor Gurgel accepted a call to Wisconsin and then Trinity issued a call to Alois Schmitzer lll which he accepted. 
Pastor Stephen Raddatz was called to be an associate pastor in 1993 and served Trinity until 1998 when he accepted a call to serve in Nebraska.

Pastor Henning was issued a call in 1998, and he accepted the call as an associate pastor.

Since a handicapped entrance was needed, a narthex addition was completed and dedicated on August 8, 1999.  This has a street level entrance with a large elevator.  Included in the addition are a pastor’s office, nursery, spacious meeting area, restrooms and a classroom in the new basement area.  The sanctuary and the former basement were also renovated.

A new Rodgers Digital organ was dedicated to the glory of God on October 2, 2004. 

In 2006 Pastor Henning resigned as pastor of Trinity and Pastor Jeffery Bolwerk was assigned to Trinity in May of 2007.

A flood in August 2007 caused major damage to the basement.  It was necessary to replace the floor in the main part of the basement with newly poured cement and carpeting.  The kitchen cabinets and flooring were also replaced.

Pastor Bolwerk was issued and accepted a call in the Spring of 2015 to serve in Benton Harbor, MI.