Trinity's History

The history of Trinity Lutheran Church is an account of the work of the Holy Spirit through the efforts of its members as they gather to worship and serve God and to extend His kingdom in the community. It is the story of pastors, professional church workers, teachers, committees, boards, voters and laymen of the congregation who joined together to fulfill the mission of the congregation.

Although Trinity Lutheran Church began worship services in September, 1941, the need for a second Lutheran congregation in Pekin was discussed for several years before that time, leading to an emotion-packed meeting on September 8, 1941, when 160 members of St. John's Lutheran Church decided to withdraw from membership and start a new congregation.

Early Sunday School opening led by Superintendent
Fred Schumm in parish hall-parsonage.

Within days, the auditorium of Jefferson School was rented, and the 1st worship service was conducted on Sunday, September 14, 1941. The first Sunday School classes were held on that same day, with Aaron Meints serving as superintendent and seven teachers conducting classes. Jefferson School was the temporary home of the new congregation for over three months, served by pastors from other churches in the Peoria area.

Our name, TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, was selected at the first congregational meeting three days later, September 17, 1941, and about two weeks later officers were elected and boards appointed. Mr. Leon Towne became president; Howard Rohrs, secretary; and Elmer Harms, treasurer. A building committee chaired by Fred Hild was organized.

Trinity's first church dedication, June 21, 1942.

Early in October, 1941, two available sites for a new church were found in Pekin's near-south side, and a decision was quickly made to purchase two parcels of property in the 700 block of South Fourth Street - known as the Mulvey property (where our parsonage was built) and the Velde Mansion (where our church buildings stand). Total cost was $11,000. Funds were quickly contributed or borrowed.

An architect was hired to plan and supervise the remodeling of the Velde house into a parish hall on the first floor and a parsonage in the second story. A simple frame church building was planned for the north side of the property. Ground was broken on October 25, foundation poured on November 6, and over half the adult members helped construction workers - through Thanksgiving, Pearl Harbor Day, and Advent. In less than two months, a building was ready for the Christmas Eve service, attended by 275 persons. Lorman Petersen from Peoria, a young minister just graduated, conducted the service.

A call was issued to Rev. Petersen on January 12, 1942, and he was installed as Trinity's first pastor on February 15 by the Rev. John C. Schuelke, president of the Central Illinois District.

There was no let up in activity. Many organizations were started: Ladies Aid, Concordia Society, Laymen's League, Walther Leagues, and Boy Scouts. Although services were being held, there were many building details to be finished during the congregation's first Lenten season. Easter was a day of joy for many reasons.

Membership totaled 254 souls on dedication Sunday.

More rejoicing occurred on Dedication Day, June 21, 1942, when 254 souls gathered to praise and thank God for the congregation's new home. Soon thereafter, Pastor Petersen was married, and organized Trinity's first choir.

Of course, every event was a "first"during that amazing twelve months, which ended with a mission festival to celebrate the first anniversary on Sunday, September 13, 1942.

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309.346.1391

700 S. Fourth Street
Pekin, Illinois 61554