Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

History Of Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity Congregation had its beginnings in 1882 under the guidance of the sainted Reverend Professor H. C. Wyneken of Concordia Seminary. The living room in the home of one of the members on Fifteenth and Reynolds Street was church for the small group whom Profesor Wyneken instructed in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Six years later on March 11, 1888, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity confirmed its first class and became an organized congregation.

Professor H Wyneken served as pastor of the preaching station from May 1887 to September 1888. During his pastorate 24 were baptized and 7 confirmed.

On September 23, 1888 Candidate H. S. Knabenschuh was ordained and installed as the first resident pastor. On February 24, 1889 the church and parish hall were dedicated. On the same day 15 people were baptized and 17 were confirmed. Pastor Knabenschuh served the parish until March 1893. During his pastorate 28 were baptized and 37 confirmed.

In March 1893 Professor L Wessel took charge, serving until July of the same year. He baptized one and confirmed three.

Professor J Herzer took charge and served from July 1893 to August 1894. He baptized 2 and confirmed none.

Reverend Meyer served from August 1894 to March 1895. No official acts are recorded during this time.

Professor Herzer again served from March 1895 to February 1903. On Sept 1, 1897 John McDavid was appointed teacher of the parochial school and instructor of catechumens. His name appears in the church records as early as January 1896, and as late as March 1902. Under Professor Herzer and Mr. McDavid 47 people were baptized and 33 were confirmed.

Reverend Lucius Thalley was installed as the pastor of Holy Trinity on February 8,1903. He served as pastor until July 1905, at which time ill health made it necssary that he go to Denver, Colorado. During his ministry 8 were baptized and 3 confirmed.

Professor Herzer again served the congregation from July 1905 to January 1907, with students assisting in the work. No official acts are recorded during this time.

On January 20, 1907 Reverend James Doswell was installed as pastor. He served until the spring of 1909. He baptized 21 and confirmed 12.

From 1910-1915 Professor Otto Boecler was pastor. He baptized 11 and confirmed 5.

Reverend G.A. Schmidt served as pastor from 1915-1917. He baptized 13 and confirmed 9.

From 1917-1923 Pastor Herbert Claus was pastor. He baptized 31 and confirmed 39

Professor Theo. Engelder served from September 1923 to August 1924. 4 baptisms and two confirmations are recorded during this time.

Reverend Andrew Schulze served from August 1924 to May 1928. He baptized 28 and confirmed 7. Professor F Wenger serverd until August of 1928.

Reverend Clifford Bliss was pastor from 1928 to 1931. During his pastorate the communicant membership was listed as 64. He baptized 8 and confirmed 3.

Reverend Edmund Bohm was pastor from 1931-1935. He baptized 10 and confirmed 6.

Reverend Otto Beer served during 1936. No official acts are recorded during his pastorate.

From 1936 to 1938 Professor Baepler was in charge, assisted from 1938 to 1941 by Candidate George Williams, after which Professoe Baepler again served until 1943. Official acts included 9 baptisms and 6 confirmations.

From 1943 to 1945 Reverend William J Seebeck was in charge. He baptized 2.

From 1945-1948 the congregation was served by Reverend George H. Williston. He baptized 7 and confirmed 3. The Congregation numbered 40 communicants.

Professor Mark Steege took the vacancy in June of 1948 and served the congregation until the summer of 1968. 65 were baptized and 30 confirmed. The congregation served many students of the seminary during his ministry

Reverend Harold A. Avers was called by the Central Illinois District, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and Holy Trinity LUtheran Church as Pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and Missionary at Large in the Spring of 1968. The congregation took title to the land and building, becoming fully incorporated in the State of Illinois and a subsidized congregation of the Central Illinois District. During Pastor Avers' tenure 38 baptisms and 9 confirmatiions took place. The congregation was fully organized, having a complete Planning Council study and full elections of Officers in the Church Council. Pastor Avers served through April 1975 when he accepted a call to Greenfield Peace Lutheran Church in Detroit, Michigan. Holy Trinity had 120 baptized members and 75 communicant members at this time.

Since May 1975, Holy Trinity has not had the services of a full time Pastor. We have been serviced by various Pastors in the area.

Reverend Keith Eilers of Riverton, Illinois conducted services from May 1975 through December 1976. Vicar Bill Parsons served the congregation during 1974 through August 1975, assisting the Pastor in many activities.

Vicar Michael Brewer served the congregation from January 1977 to August 1977, when he was ordained and answered a call to Northern Canada.

Dr Clarence W. Spiegel, retired Professor from Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, served the congregation as part time Pastor from October 1977 through June 1983. Vicar Jeff Gavin assisted Pastor Spiegel during the year 1977.

After Dr. Spiegel's departure the congregation has had numerous Pastors and Vicars serve the congregation in part-time capacity.

During the period of 1983 through 1988, the following have served Holy Trinity by conducting our worship services:

Pastors Vicars Pianists Laymen
Rev. Ralph Woehrman Elliot Judd Gertrude Spiegel George Krueger
Rev. Einar Bach Robert H Piller Betty Schumacher Newlyn Hosea
Rev. Herman Hoffman William Aufdenkamp Jennifer Keup
Rev. Martin H Rothe George M. Coffman Gretchen Anderson
Rev. Frank Felbaum Don Pritchard Sonja Hosea
Rev. Phillip Kaufman Steve Dressler Anne Dart
Rev. Robert A. Jensen Sarah Kopatz
Heather Hartman
Kimberly Hartman

Between July 1985 and his passing to glory in August 30,2008, Pastor Robert A Jensen served Holy Trinity in a part-time capacity, conducting our worship services. He regularly visited the sick and the shut-ins, served them Communion, baptized new members and conducted funeral services.

On November 6, 1988 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary. Church officers and anniversary committee members for the 100th anniversary held November 6, 1988 are as follows:

Officers Anniversary Committee Members Sponsors
John H Wilson, Jr. Louisa Banks Aid Association For Lutherans
Jessie Williams, Sr. Nick Renfro Lutheran Brotherhood
Gwendolyn Miller Delphenia Williams Jim Beasley, Prarie International Trucks, Inc.
Lydie Wilson Jessie Williams, Sr George and Anna Derwig
Dorothy Helm Lydie Wilson Edward and Sarah Schoenbaum
Nick Renfro John Wilson Jr. Clark Starks of Stark's Auto Sales
Rev. Robert A Jensen

Special thanks to the following for helping us at the time of our 100th anniversary:

Father Peter Mascari of St John's Church, Sherman, IL and Holy Family Church of Athens, IL and his volunteer group, "The Helpers of Christ" for painting the exterior of the Church.

Mr. Ed Schoenbaum and his group of volunteers for their work in our parish hall.

We also thank the many other dedicated and talented people who have assisted us in various capacities over the years.

During the twenty year period from 1988 to 2008, the following people have served Holy Trinity:

Pastors Church Officers Pianists Sunday School Helpers
Rev. Robert Jensen Debra Bryars Heather Hartman Dion Crites
Rev. Michael Koschmann Karen Cook Kimberly Hartman Lisa Crites
Rev. Darrel Debowey Evelyn King Allen Keup Debra Bryars
Mr. Edward Schoenbaum Gwendoyln Miller Carolyn Krueger Karen Cook
Delphinia Williams Kim Periman Roger David
Jesse Williams Rose David
John Wilson Debra Green
Lydie Wilson Sandra Hartman
Deanne Haley
Nick Renfro
Delphinia Williams
Denise Williams

An active Sunday School was encouraged and developed by the power of the Holy Spirit working through Mr. Nick Renfro and Mrs. Delphinia Williams. There were four confirmations from this Sunday School. The Confirmands were: Lauretta Davis, Nick Suggs, Wes Suggs and Randy Suggs.

The Lutheran Community in the Springfield area has assisted Holy Trinisty with donations of time, talents and offerings. Holy Trinity is grateful to Concordia Springfield, Immanual Springfield, Our Savior's Springfield, St John's Sherman, Trinity Springfield and Lutheran High School for all the blessings to our church.

During the past twenty year period two men have loomed very large in the church remaining open, Mr. Nick Renfro and Mr. John Wilson. Mr. Renfro had a sense of urgency about getting a Sunday School started and he followed through by putting feet to his prayers - getting his grandchildren involved. He donated money for supplies and treats for the Sunday School children wishing to always remain anonymous. Mr. Renfro worked with Mr. Wilson doing whatever was needed.

Since 2008 is the 100th Anniversary of the Springfield Race Riots, it is fitting that Mr. Nick Renfro's story, that he strongly desired to be told, is told. Shortly before the Lord called him home in 1991, Mr. Renfro brought up the 1908 race riots. He shared with church members his mother's thoughts and feelings that she had shared with him and his siblings. Mr. Renfro was a baby during the riots, but Mother Renfro told him that that many white families from the seminary took in, hid and protected families from Holy Trinity including Mr. Renfro's. Mother Renfro stated that there were many wonderful acts of bravery, kindness and Christian love. But then she told her son what she considered to be the sad truth. Mother Renfro said that all the good that had been done never be told, but that the bad certainly would be told. After all those years had passed, Mr. Renfro told the good becuase he respected and agreed with his mother and wanted the truth which was good to be told about the white seminary families. These families obeyed God and helped their black Christian brothers and sisters despite the danger to themselves. Holy Trinity for Mr. Renfro was a symbol of the good God has brought through his church. We believe it remains so today!

The second man who has loomed very large in the church during the past twenty years is Mr John Wilson, lovingly called the Colonel. A descendent of men strong in faith and faithful to the church, Mr. Wilson followed their example. With the loving support of his wife Lydie, Mr. Wilson almost single-handedly kept the church doors open. A veteran of two wars, Mr. Wilson was the "old school". His word was his bond and what he said he would do, he did. Many of the elderly in the church twenty years ago implored Mr. Wilson to keep the church open so they could worship and be buried from the church they so loved. His word to these people was good.

Mr. Wilson understood the "marks" of the church:

1. The Gospel of Christ in confession and absolution.

2. Baptism into the death and resurection of Jesus Christ, cleanisng us from our sin, and

3. Holy Communion in which we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, salvation and eternal life.

He always found a pastor who understood and employed these marks. Mr. Wilson ran this church like a well-oiled machine and God has blessed his efforts. Since the Lord called him home unexpectedly on August 30,2008, the congregation has learned what a load he carried for the church!

The building in which the congregation now worships, is the original structure, built in 1889. It has been renovated twice since its dedicationin 1923, on the occasion of the thirty fifth anniversary of the founding of the church and again in 1930. The parsonage was erected in 1900 by seminary students. The Ladies' Aid Society of this parish furnished the kitchen for the church in 1922. In 2008 there weere 96 baptized members and 57 communicant members. No Sunday School is in operation at the present time.

Holy Trinity has been a mixed congregation over the years. At times, as many as 50 students of Concordia Seminary were guest communicants durring a school year. The church is located in an Urban Renewal area where many new homes have been constructed. Located within two blocks are two senior citizen hi-rise apartment buildings(one 10 story and one 15 story).

Springfield, with a black population of over 10,000(of which only 6,000 are churched), is definitly an area for expansion of Lutheranism among blacks. Holy Trinity definitly wishes to remain a racially mixed church and has the potential to become a thriving body, and once again be blessed with the services of a full time pastor and a Sunday School.

The congregation desires that the church remain open and grow; with God's help it shall be! We praise and thank God for the lives and memories of our forefathers here in Springfield and going all the way back to Luther. May Holy Trinity be blessed with many more years to serve as a church of the Augsburg Confession. - a church of the Reformation in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Christus! Amen.