A Century in the Word

A Brief History of the Evangelical Trinity Lutheran Congregation of Clinton, Massachusetts on the Occasion of the Threshold of Its Centenniel Celebration in 2015       Page 2

SETTLING INTO THE NEW HOME!

1915 -- Completion of the building took another six months. The dedication ceremony was held on April 18, with morning, afternoon and evening services. The morning service was conducted in the German language, the afternoon service in both German and English and the evening service was in German and Polish. Officiating at the services were Pastors Baum, Kaestner, Zimmermann, Martin, Brunn and Lin.

The Pastor Martin mentioned above was the Rev. Louis Martin of Manchester, N.H. who was to be the father of one of the future pastors of Trinity, the Rev. Theo. A. Martin. Several years later, Pastor L.H. Martin was called to the congregation in Worcester where he stayed for seven years. During those years he and his family, including young son Ted, traveled by trolley from Worcester to take part in Mission and Reformation festivals with the Clinton congregation.

The first attempt to incorporate occurred in April, but this attempt was unsuccessful. At that time Mr. Laurence Rauscher was elected as president, Mr. Richard Lemke as secretary, Mr. H. Rein as treasurer and Messrs. Julius Schartner, John Schutz, and John Rauscher as trustees.

1916 -- Pastor Rademacher resigned in May but agreed to stay on until a new pastor was called and arrived. At this same meeting, a committee was chosen to determine the feasibility of acquiring a bell for the church tower. No further mention of a bell was made for several years.

In July, the congregation extended a call to Pastor H. M. Mohr. There were, at that time, ninety members in the congregation, forty communicants and seventeen in Sunday School. Prior to the arrival of Pastor Mohr, there had been no English language services at Trinity.

1917 -- Pastor Mohr encouraged the start of the English worship and on April 15, the voting body agreed to hold English services once a month on a Sunday evening.

The first Mission Festival for the young congregation also occurred during this year. It was held on August 5 with the other area Lutheran congregations being invited to attend.

1919 -- The congregation decided to hold English services every Sunday morning. This was also the year that the congregation joined the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, now officially known as the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

1920 -- During a January meeting, a second committee was chosen to pursue the purchase of a bell for the church tower. The committee consisted of Pastor Mohr, Laurence Rauscher and H. Rein. It was the hope of the voters to have the bell in place for the fifth anniversary celebration which was to be held on May 9 of that year. Unfortunately, the bell was not ready for the anniversary and so the dedication of the bell was postponed until that year's mission festival celebration, which was held on August 8.

1923 -- With an eye for expansion and the opportunity available to them, the congregation considered the purchase of the tracts of land adjacent to the church lot. On July 29, the voters approved the purchase of those lots, including the one upon which the parsonage now stands.

1924 -- Pastor Mohr resigned in May. During those eight years, the congregation had grown to 210 members; 75 communicants, 25 voters and 58 children in Sunday School.

With the assistance of Pastor H. Ebelke of Worcester, on July 3 a call was sent out to Pastor H. A. Beyer of the Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dover, New Jersey. On July 15, Pastor Beyer turned down this call via a letter to the Clinton congregation which had been sent through Pastor Ebelke.

On July 30, Pastor Carl Zorn was called to lead the congregation.

REACHING MILESTONES

1925 -- In August, the congregation decided to build a parsonage on the lot adjacent to the church building. The building committee consisted of Laurence Rauscher, C. Ryll, John Rockel and Pastor Zorn. However, before they could proceed with the project, they found it necessary to incorporate. The new constitution was adopted on the 26th of October.

The congregation celebrated its tenth anniversary. The celebration marked the elimination of the debt which the congregation had incurred during its early growth period. The guest preachers for the Tenth Anniversary Celebration were Pastors Luther Steup and J. Pfeiffer.

1926 -- The Commonwealth of Massachusetts ratified the new constitution on April 26.

1930 -- The congregation declared itself to be self-supporting for the first time on January 1. Unfortunately, it was near the beginning of the Great Depression and it soon became necessary to return to subsidized support for a short time. The Fifteenth Anniversary celebration was held on May 19 with guest preachers Pastors Birkner and Ebelke.

In December, Pastor Zorn resigned. The congregation now numbered two hundred baptized members; 95 communicants, 25 voters and 63 children in the Sunday School.

1931 -- The congregation sent out a call to Pastor S.J. Frey in January. Pastor Frey accepted the call and was installed as the pastor of Trinity on March 15.

1935 -- The congregation celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 2.

1937 -- On July 1, Pastor Frey resigned. Pastor Henry Heck was called in August and installed as our shepherd in October. The congregation numbered 250 members with 160 communicants, 42 voters and 56 children in Sunday School.

During this period, Trinity received the old organ from Concordia Lutheran Congregation of Worcester. Trinity's old organ was, in turn, given to the Belmont Mission.

In order to reduce the debt which had accumulated through the depression years, attention was redirected to the ongoing Penny-A-Meal program. A 25th anniversary debt reduction fund was started with all church clubs and societies contributing along with the members of the congregation.

1940 -- Pastor Heck's stay with us was brief. He accepted a call to another congregation and was succeeded by Rev. Adolphe Steinke who also remained at Trinity for only three years.

EXPANDING OUR REACH

1941 -- Under Pastor Steinke's guidance, Vacation Bible school was started and, except for a few years in the early 1980s and a couple more recently, has since been an annual event at Trinity. In the same year the voters approved the building of a garage on the site of what was the old tennis court (This singles court was located in the area that now includes the garage and the small garden area behind the parsonage).

1942 -- The Walther League (young people's group) gave a service roll with the names of the members of Trinity serving in the Armed Services during World War II. Two of these servicemen later (in 1944) donated a Christian and an American flag to the congregation.

1943 -- Pastor Steinke accepted a call to Schenectady, New York and left Trinity in June.

Rev. Cyril Wismar received a call and became our next pastor and remained with us for the next five years. While with us, he initiated the "Each One, Reach One" program.

1944 -- Thanks to a six month debt liquidation drive which had begun some time earlier, the congregation was able to pay off its debt by the beginning of this year. The remaining funds were placed in a reserve fund.

1945 -- The lot next to the church was purchased from the Suburban Electric Company.

During the period of World War II, Pastor Wismar encouraged participation of the youth in the local USO programs. During this time, three of our members lost their lives while serving their country; they were Arnold Lemke, Robert Schimke and Gerhard Hildebrandt.

1946 -- A Boy Scout troop was started and managed by a committee of voters of the congregation.

1947 -- A Synodical centennial service was held on April 27.

A donation of communion silvers was sent to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sonoma, California.

1948 -- As Pastor Wismar accepted a call to Ohio, a line of briefer pastorates gave way to longer ones. Pastor Theodore Martin, who, as a boy, was familiar with our congregation (as mentioned earlier), was installed as Pastor Wismar's successor in October. Pastor Martin would shepherd the people of Trinity for the next 37 years, the longest active resident pastorate in our history (and more than double the second-longest). Moreover, he remains our pastor emeritus to this day!

A special Harvest festival Service was held on Thanksgiving Eve and food was brought to benefit the Association for the Works of Mercy.

Pastor Martin was given permission to serve Lutherans stationed at Fort Devens.

1949 -- The Organ Fund was established in January and later that year, a Couples Club was started.

1950 -- In March, the congregation voted to enlarge the church building by adding a new section to the rear of the original building. During that year, the basement was enlarged and the new building shell was added. This part of the project included installing a new heating system, a new kitchen and refinishing the remainder of the basement. The upper portion of the structure was left unfinished for several more years.

During the 1950s three members of Trinity completed deaconess training at Valparaiso University and were later installed as deaconesses at Trinity. Eunice Weidner went on to teach and later become principal of Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf. Edith Casson became a registered nurse and went on to do missionary work in New Guinea. Eleanor Weidner also served as deaconess.

1959 -- The renovation of the entire upper floors occurred, giving us the nave and sanctuary in use to this day. Between July and December of that year, all services were conducted in the church basement while the work was progressing upstairs. Included in the renovation was a new pulpit and altar and new pews. The old hymn boards were cut down in size and they, along with the existing altar chairs, lectern, baptismal font and window frames, were bleached and refinished to better match the natural oak finish of the new church motif. The altar desk alone remained unchanged.

Much of the fine new oak millwork installed during the renovation was supplied by the Gothic Craft Corp. of Northboro. The actual construction and renovation work was done by Howard Pendelton, Contractor.

Many of the furnishings were paid for by members of the congregation as memorial gifts for family members and friends.

Thanks to the Organ fund and other recent memorial gifts a new Baldwin electronic organ was purchased with surplus funds set aside to cover maintenance costs.

At this time, electronic chimes were also installed. These chimes would automatically strike the hours and would ring for the start of regular services. The old bell was to remain in the tower but would only be rung during the recitation of the Lord's Prayer.

On the afternoon of December 13, our renovated place of worship was dedicated to the glory of God. Pastor Rantala of Maynard was the guest preacher for the dedication service.

Our History - Page 3

 

 

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Galatians 1: 3-5

 

Contact Pastor Paul Gramit:
Phone: 978-365-6888 or Email

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Ev. Trinity Lutheran Church, 117 Chace St., Clinton MA Phone: (978) 365-6888
Member Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Unaltered Augsburg Confession
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