History of Trinity Lutheran Church
For 136 Years Trinity Lutheran Church has been a beacon in the Bay County community of Monitor Township. As nighttime travelers navigate U.S. 10 between Bay City and Midland, they notice the church steeple lit up on the south side of the highway.
The church was established in 1880 when a group of seventeen people along with Reverend Ferdinand Sievers, Jr. held their first service in a local barn. The congregation built the first church on the corner of Seven Mile and Hotchkiss Roads. It was dedicated on November 7, 1880. Three days later, school was held in the church. Ten pupils attended the first class.
In 1896, the congregation built a new church, this time on the corner of Salzburg and Eight Mile Roads. The land was donated by members of the church. The cornerstone was laid on July 18, 1897. The members used their horses and wagons to haul the needed materials to build the current Trinity Lutheran Church. On February 6, 1898, the new building was dedicated.
Many descendants from those original members continue to attend church at Trinity. Those include the family who donated the land and the original communion ware.
Current members have a new mission, preserving the past and current records of the church. The task of archiving is being tackled by various members who are providing their time and talent to research and catalogue the information that has been stored in the church over the years. They are also looking for anyone who may have pictures or other items that may have been part of Trinity from the past 136 years.
The other challenged faced by the volunteer archivists, much of the early documentation was written in German. Even though German is taught at the current school, it is not a language as common to the area when it was first settled. They are looking to tap into the people of the church who still speak church to help translate the records. But like many other organizations, time is a factor. Not as many people have the time to help as they once did.
The church itself has undergone many changes over the years. Since the construction of the current building in 1898, it has undergone remodeling a few times including the addition of a narthex
The bricks used to build the narthex were acquired from a church in Bay City. The bricks were and exact match to the ones on the current building. Looking at the structure today, it is difficult to tell there was an addition even put on the building.
Many churches formed in areas were families had settled. They congregated for worship because they were a close community. Trinity Lutheran continues to be the heart of the south west corner of Monitor Township
Many of those families also attended Trinity Lutheran School growing up and today, send their own children to learn not only about the three R's but also the Word of God. From the ten students who attended the first class in the basement of the church in 1880 to the over 140 students who are currently enrolled at the school, one thing has been a constant in the learning environment, the need to provide the children of Trinity Lutheran with the best possible education.
In 2004, the congregation took on the task of improving the current school building with a campaign titled, "A Time to Build." The goal is to raise three million dollars. So far, a new multipurpose gymnasium and two classrooms have been added to the school. The library, computer lab and offices have been expanded.
By Trinity's 25th Anniversary, membership increased from 56 members to 697. Currently the church is home to over 750 members.
© 2013 Trinity Lutheran Church, Bay City, MI