In 150th year, church celebrates history

Trinity Lutheran Church in Welcome. The church was built in 1937, remodeled in 1960, added onto in 1991 and in 2024 it is celebrating 150 years of the congregation.

WELCOME– Trinity Lutheran Church hits a milestone this year as it turns 150. The church, located at 204 2nd Street in Welcome, has been at that site since 1885 but the congregation itself was formed in 1874.

“The church itself was started by a missionary pastor,” said Jon Saxton, a life-long member of the congregation and current president. “There was no physical church, they just met at people’s homes.”

Because the missionary pastor only did services when he could, a resident pastor, Rev. E. Giesel, was first hired in 1876.

The church was first called The Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Fox Lake, Manyaska, Fraser and Rolling Green. Saxton is unclear when the name changed to Trinity Lutheran Church though a booklet from its 75th anniversary lists the church’s current name.

“They had some property evidently located northwest of town,” Saxton said, adding that he hasn’t quite figured out exactly where because it was before the city was even incorporated.

A parsonage was built there which served as a place of worship and then the first church building was built in 1885.

“That’s where it currently is,” Saxton said.

A new church was built at the same site in 1937. What’s important to note is that it was built by a congregation member, Henry Rose. Rose was originally from Germany but had moved to the area in the 1920s and he settled in Welcome. He started Rose and Sons Contractor and Builder with his sons and in 1950 he also built a new parsonage for the church. He was also known for building many Grandfather and Grandmother clocks both locally and around the country. Rose died in 2005 at the age of 103.

The parsonage still stands though the church does not own it anymore. In 1960, the church was remodeled and an education unit was added for Sunday School and Bible classes. At that time an all electric heating system was installed and in 1991 an addition to the entry resulted in an elevator being aded. A new heating system In 1997 replaced the electric one. The church has a cemetery as well, which a member is paid to maintain, but the church’s lawn is maintained by volunteers.

In 2001, the church partnered with St. Peter Lutheran Church in Ceylon. Later a committee was formed with eight different churches who were all struggling to find and keep pastors. The meetings resulted in the formation of Circle of Faith parishes in 2014, which includes St. Peter Church in Ceylon, Trinity Lutheran Church inWelcome, Waverly Lutheran Church in rural Trimont and First Lutheran Church in Trimont.

“The purpose was to extend the life of the small town churches,” Saxton said.

Now Since then, every other month services are rotated between Ceylon and Welcome and Trimont and Waverly. The church has had an interim pastor, Kelly France, for about the last three years.

Trinity Lutheran Church has strong congregation numbers. The number of current baptized members if 443, though like many other churches, attendance each Sunday is low.

However, Saxton is hoping for a good turnout this Sunday for the church’s anniversary celebration.

At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, a joint worship service with all of the Circle of Faith parish members will be held at Trinity Lutheran in Welcome.

“With the four churches and hopefully some guests we’ll get decent attendance,” Saxton said.

Following the service a light lunch will be held. The greater community is welcome to attend.

When asked why he thinks it’s important to acknowledge the 150th anniversary, Saxton said without hesitation and with pride, “the history, absolutely the history. We’re still a community member.”


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