Today is the day!
100 years ago this evening, a group of about 60 people gathered in the Universalist Church building in downtown Owatonna and decided that it was time to form a new church. Up until that point, the Lutheran churches in Owatonna offered worship or confirmation in only Danish, German or Norwegian. The group of people who gathered on February 6, 1919, wanted a church experience in English for themselves and their children.
That night, after prayer and deliberation, through the work of the Holy Spirit, Trinity English Lutheran Church was born!
That group of determined Lutherans bought the Universalist Church building as their new faith home and worshipped within it for 36 years. In the mid ’50’s, they built a new church in the middle of a field on the outskirts of town. Trinity moved there in the mid 1950’s. (Everyone told them that they were crazy for moving so far out of town!)
And here we are.
God’s Spirit has continued to be at work at Trinity: There have been two major building additions, thousands of people, innovative ministries and amazing amounts of love, faith and growth. And today we begin a celebration of the life and legacy of this congregation, and of the “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us, and whose stories of faith we celebrate.
God has been at work. God will continue to be at work. That legacy is now in our hands.
“I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
– Psalm 118:21-24
This year will be full of events to mark this celebration. This weekend we will begin with a festival worship service, and a special guest preacher: Bishop Steve Delzer, from the Southeast Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
We celebrate this important milestone not out of a sense of nostalgia, but out of a sense of mission. Those who first built the Trinity community faced many challenges to make it happen. And their trust in God ran deep. We can learn from the stories of how this church was built. And we can lean into the same sense of mission that they experienced.
So happy birthday! Our community is 100 years old today! Let’s celebrate! And as we do, we will keep our focus forward, on the mission to which God has called us, both in the past, and in the future.
Trinity100 celebrates our past, and our future!