Trinity Lutheran Church Centennial History: So sing our children every Sunday morning. For a hundred years, all people of Trinity have been the church of God on earth. Each of us is called to gather to share the gospel and care for each other. Yes we are the church, together.
The people of Trinity English Evangelical Lutheran Church first met a century ago. In April 1896, the Board of Home Missions for the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sent two of its priests, Reverend W.L . Tedrow of Ann Arbor, and the Rev. C.J. Kiefer of Three Rivers, to see where there was enough interest to start and English-speaking Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. There were Lutheran congregations in Grand Rapids since 1856, but they prayed in German, Swedish, and Norwegian. The 62 founding members of Trinity came from different backgrounds, but shared a love for worship and Bible study in English.
The people of Trinity held its first service on May 17, 1896, at the Grand Rapids YMCA. In July, Rev. Kiefer was called to serve as minister. On December 9, Trinity was organized as a congregation of the General Synod, the oldest institution of Lutherans in the United States. For the first two years, the community provide for the needs of homeless youth. Services of the Church, baptism, and confirmation classes were held in the auditorium of Emmanuel Reformed Jewish Temple. On November 22, 1898, Trinity members dedicated what eventually became known as the church on the hilla Gothic building of brick in the corner of Crescent and Bostwick streets. It was renovated in 1917, and the chapel was added in 1951. All totaled, this address has served as Trinity„¢s home for 63 years.
Members of the Trinity has grown steadily during the first decades under the Rev. J. William Ott (1900 -1907) and the Rev. Henry H. Roehner (1907-1920). Meanwhile about 100 adults were admitted as members, nearly 300 children were baptized into the faith. This growth necessitated the redesign the sanctuary and the addition of a school building in 1917. The congregation published its first official membership list in 1906, recording 76 families. Most families had addresses in the northeastern part of Heritage Hill, but had a significant number living on the West Side, and some came from as far away as Sparta and Coopersville.