A Brief History of Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity celebrated its 135th Anniversary in 2006, it's an exciting time to reflect on the changes that have taken place throughout the years.

The congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church was first organized November 6, 1871 and was called "German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Akron - Town of Newstead." Pastor Ernest Heydler was called to serve as the first pastor. He served from 1872-73. Worship services were held every two weeks, with about 44 communing members. The Reverend Robert W. Kelley became Trinity's first full time pastor in 1960.

Our first church building was completed in 1876. Prior to this time the members met in various locations. The horse and buggy sheds were added in 1885, and a church tower was added in 1931. In 1949, due to the need for more rooms, especially Sunday School rooms, the church was remodeled. Before this remodeling, the students actually met in the furnace room around a card table. The current church was built and dedicated in 1969, with expansion taking place in 1989. The addition made for a new entrance and an elevator, which made the church handicap accessible, along with new classrooms, a Prayer Room and Historical Room. The copper dome from the old church was reconditioned and raised onto the new entrance of Trinity's tower.

In 1986, Trinity celebrated its 115th Anniversary with a Dinner Dance at the Newstead Fire Hall, with 300 members and friends attending. Sharon Schmidt presented three sketches of the buildings of Trinity at its different stages. Trinity also held its fIrst Vigil of Pentecost - a time of individuals coming to pray and reflect on God's blessings to them. Trinity also held its first Talent Auction, which is a great time for people to offer their services and handcrafted items up for bid.

The first "Jaunt for Josh' to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association was held in 1990. This was named in honor of Joshua Schmidt, a member of Trinity afflicted with the Ducherne strain of MD.

In 1991 a day care named "Kids of the Kingdom" opened at Trinity, offering the community a place of learning for their preschoolers. With the celebration of 120 years of ministry, Trinity dedicated its Prayer Room, with the backdrop coming from the old church, which was reconstructed and given in honor of Herman Hartwig.

Trinity began a Wednesday Evening Worship Service in 1994, which was a contemporary service of music, prayer and scripture. The Deacon Program began with Ken Mekeel and Flo Goeseke taking instructions as preaching deacons. Helen Smith was a visitation deacon and Doug Mekeel a liturgical deacon.

Celebration of the 125th Anniversary in 1996 included the dedication of the stained glass window, given in honor of all the pastors that had served Trinity. There were visits from former pastors Robert Kelley, Calvin Sigmon, Wayne Sipe, Bishop Lee Miller, and Assistant to the Bishop Marie Jerge. This was also a very difficult time for Trinity as they mourned the loss of their beloved Reverend Richard Schlewitt, the longest serving full time pastor they had.

The Reverend Lauretta Dietrich was called by Trinity in 1997. A Heritage Celebration was held to share stories and remembrances over lunch. This was a coming together for all those who were long time members and those ''new kids on the block" to get to know one another better. It helped those still felling the loss of Reverend Schlewitt to share their feelings.

Trinity's kitchen was remodeled in 1998, giving those who work in the kitchen a beautiful, mobile island to facilitate serving and preparing foods.

September 1999 had Trinity welcoming a new pastor, Reverend Ruth Hetland, to lead us in worship and ministry. She came to us from Minnesota and felt right at home in this small rural community.

It was decided in 2002 to offer individuals a time to visit with one another, and the Hospitality Room was created. This is a dream come true for the Evangelism Committee! Many conversations have been held over a cup of coffee and a snack following the 8:00 am service, Sunday School, and again before and after the 10:45 am service.

Due to the difficulty some individuals kneeling at the altar, it was decided to have kneeling cushions made in 2001. These were a Memorial gift by Mel Knerr in loving memory of his wife, Betty.

In July 2001, Trinity was invited to share in a special time - the marriage of Pastor Hetland and Chad Peterson. A Service of Remembrance was held in Russell Park with prayers, special music and speakers paying tribute to the victims and families of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Another room was dedicated in 2005 - Trinity's library. It offers books to all level of readers, including fiction and non-fiction, Bible helps, inspirational and devotional reading, videos, etc. Pastor Ruth Snyder was installed as Interim Pastor to serve Trinity for two years, following the acceptance of a Pastoral Call in Colorado by Reverend Hetland.

Julie Baldo came on board as Trinity's first paid Secretary in 2003. She is an experienced office worker, and very familiar with today's office technology. Kerry Leonard now holds this position in the church.

A two day Praying and Visioning session was introduced at Trinity. This was a time of Bible study, small group sharing, individual reflection, and creative ideas on 'What do you believe God is calling us as a church of the ELCA to become?' Trinity also adopted a new mission statement: "Be a Beacon, Seeking and Reflecting the Light of the Lord."

Trinity has really stepped into this fast paced world. We now have an email address:trinlc@rochester.rr.com. Wow! One hundred thirty five years ago this is certainly something never thought of and, one hundred thirty five years ago, who would have thought Trinity would be ready for something of this magnitude?

A Music Festival was held in 2004, and members of Trinity were invited to share their musical talents. Special recognition was given to Nancy Bruning, a devoted organist at Trinity for over 20 years.

A reception was held in June 2004 to honor Pastor Ruth Snyder on receiving her Doctor of Ministry Degree.

In 2005, the Rev. Dr. Ruth Snyder completed her two year term as Intentional Interim Pastor at Trinity. Before she left, she led an Evening of Spiritual Journeying, at which time we walked a labyrinth, then proceeded to other rooms in silence for prayer in art, music and scripture.

On June 11, 2005, Terry White came to preach and introduce himself to Trinity's family of parishioners. A call was extended and in July, Pastor Terry and his wife Teri moved into the parsonage. He was installed as Trinity's pastor on September 18, 2005.

In February of 2012, Pastor Terry White resigned his call. In March of 2012, Dr. Rev. John Scarafia was placed by the bishop as a Transitional Pastor. Pastor Scarafia worked with Trinity to conduct a Ministry Site Profile and call the next pastor for the congregation.

In June of 2013 Pastor Jamie and his family met the members and families of Trinity. Pastor Jamie, after preaching and leading worship, was extended a call and accepted the call.  Pastor Scarafia was honored at a dinner and Pastor Jamie began as Trinity's pastor shortly afterwards. 

Our history is still being written today. Come add to what was, what is and what will be ...

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity
in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has
done from beginning to end."
   Ecclesiates 3:11
Pastors who have served Trinity:

2013 - Present    Jamie Retallack
2012 - 2013        Dr. John Scarafia (Transitional Pastor)
2005 - 2012        Terry L. White
2002 - 2005        Dr. Ruth Snyder (Intentional Interm)
1999 - 2002        Ruth Hetland
1996 - 1998        Lauretta Dietrich
1981 - 1996        Richard H. Schlewitt
1972 - 1981        G.Wayne Sipe
1967 - 1972        Calvin Sigmon
1960 - 1967        Robert W. Kelly
1952 - 1959        John J. Richardson
1941 - 1951        Robert W. Winters
1924 - 1941        Louis E. Heuer
1919 - 1924        John H. Stender
1908 - 1918        J. H. Bartell
1897 - 1908        H. R. Grabau
1894 - 1897        Paul B. Becker
1892 - 1894        Theodore Bauck
1889 - 1892        L. Breau
1885 - 1889        E. Reissig
1873 - 1885        Daniel Stahlschimidt
1871 - 1873        Ernest Heydler