1900 - 1902
The first service of what is now Trinity Lutheran Church was conducted in 1900 in a building in Brailey, Ohio. The building is today known as Brailey Union Church and our congregation at that time was called Zion Lutheran Church. Zion Lutheran was founded on May 13, 1900 in Swan Creek, Fulton County. The constitution was written in German and signed by 16 voting members including such familiar names as Entenmann, Leininger, Moeck, Schaechterle and Scheele.
1902 - 1906
The first recorded minutes of any meeting were written by Rev. Ruff in October 1902. His four-year ministry built the congregation into a group of about 55-60 communicants. Three confirmation classes brought 14 children into the church as confirmed members. April 26, 1903 was the date of the first confirmation service. During his pastorate, four members died and seven children were baptized.
When Rev. Ruff left in 1906 for a congregation in Sherwood, Ohio, Zion was left without a pastor until Easter 1908, when the Rev. E.A. Herzberg arrived. During his two years, two children were baptized, one couple married and the Holy Eucharist celebrated on three occasions.
1910 - 1912
The Rev. J. J. Meyer came to serve in 1910, a year in which he confirmed a class of five, baptized three babies and celebrated the Lord’s Supper two times. Some of the members of that 1910 confirmation class included: Anna Entenmann, F. Entenmann, Jacob Entenmann, Eva Peter and Elizabeth Puehler. During that year Rev. Meyer also married Henry and Sophia Puehler.
1912 - 1914
In July 1912, Rev. Meyer left and the Rev. S. Hofmann arrived within less than six months. Rev. Hofmann baptized six babies on one day – August 28, 1912. During his time with the church, Rev. Hofmann baptized a total of nine, the last being Erwin Leininger in 1914. During a funeral that same year, Rev. Hofmann’s sermon was delivered in English – a first! With World War I on the horizon, all things German were looked at suspiciously. English gradually became the official language over the next several years.
1915 - 1917
In 1915, the church was reorganized under the name Trinity Lutheran Church, during the ministry of Rev. H.E. Plehn. The constitution in the front of the old church record book lists the name of the congregation as “Evangelical Trinity Lutheran Church.’’ The constitution bore the names of Ballin, Emmons, Entenmann and Leininger.
When Rev. Plehn arrived, the church had been without a pastor for 10 months, and without celebrating the Lord’s Supper for over two years. He baptized three children in 1915, confirmed one child in 1916, and officiated at an all-English language funeral that same year.
Rev. Plehn must have realized that the future of the congregation would require relocation. On Nov. 18, 1917, the congregation met in the Old Free Methodist Church building on Main Street in Delta. The building was purchased by the congregation about 25 years later.
1917 - 1929
On Dec. 2, 1917, the entire communion service was conducted in English. At this time, Rev. Plehn asked for his dismissal from Trinity in order that he might serve as a chaplain in the armed services. This left the congregation without a pastor until 1922, when the Rev. O.G. Hebestreit accepted the call to serve at Delta. Before he left in 1929, he baptized 13 children and confirmed 11, but performed no marriages. At his departure, the congregation had 19 voters on the church membership list, including A.C. Heldt, David Nuding, Jacob Schaechterle, William Schaechterle and Carl Schumacher.
1929 - 1932
The Rev. R. Trautman arrived in 1929 and the next year confirmed four, including John Schaechterle and Robert Taylor. He performed the marriage of Frank and Vidah Rowe, and two funerals, including David Schaechterle.
At this time, the Central District Mission Board of the Missouri Synod was interested in establishing a new mission congregation in Liberty Center. Consequently, a man by the name of Pastor Miller was employed for a year to serve the two parishes of Delta and Liberty Center.
1933 - 1937
In 1933, Trinity installed the Rev. Harry Krueckenberg, who served the parish until 1937. During this time he confirmed 13 people, including Viola Heldt, Dan Mock, Dorothy Schaechterle, Martha Schaechterle, Luetta Schumacher and Amy Taylor (Seibel). During those four years he performed seven marriages, including those of Jacob Schaechterle and William Schaechterle.
1937 - 1942
In 1937, Pastor Krueckenberg accepted a call to serve at Stryker and was succeeded by Rev. S.H. Matthias. Those confirmed by Rev. Matthias included Martha Lindhorst, Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Onweller, Corwin Onweller, Golda Stromberger and Arnold Scheele.
While Pastor Matthias was with Trinity, he performed the marriages of John Chovan, Ivan Onweller and John Seibel. Funerals included Mrs. John Leininger, Mrs. Arnold Schumacher, Louis Taylor and Peter Thayer. Pastor Matthias envisioned the future growth of the village and was instrumental in the purchase of property on Main Street. The purchase was approved by the Home Mission Board of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – in 1942, for the total cost of $1,300, which was repaid at $20 per month. Pastor Matthias left in 1942 to serve St. Stephen’s in Defiance.
1943 - 1945
In 1943, Trinity welcomed Rev. L.K. Zank, a 1941 graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Rev. Zank had been an assistant pastor in Cincinnati and employed with the “Gospel Hour’’ on KFUO in St. Louis. The congregation rented the house just west of the church, with an option to buy the house if they desired.
In 1943, the church was completely remodeled and the new Chancel furnishings were purchased. The refurnished structure was dedicated the Sunday after Easter in 1945 with the Home Mission Director, Pastor Birkener, preaching the sermon. The Rev. G. Christian Barth, vice president of the district, also participated. It was also in 1945 that Pastor Zank submitted his resignation so that he could return to graduate school.
1946 - 1962
On Jan. 4, 1946 a meeting of voters was held and a Letter of Call was extended to Pastor Fred Rediger of Noblesville, Indiana. For the first few months of Rev. Rediger’s stay in Delta, he roomed in a private home, until June 1946, when he married Miss Margaret Walz of Indiana. Pastor Rediger served a dual parish of Delta and Liberty Center until 1956, when he terminated his services in Liberty Center and began a mission congregation in Swanton. Under his leadership, both Delta and Swanton parishes grew to the point that soon they both would need their own resident minister. In 1962, Rev. Rediger accepted a call to the Columbus area, where an active congregation and new church building awaited his arrival.
This left Trinity without a pastor. Several calls were extended but no pastor accepted the invitation – leaving three years without a resident minister. During this time, Trinity was aided on an interim basis by Pastor Boelter, who was serving Zion Lutheran in Ridgeville Corners. Finally, after much discussion, planning, seeking and praying, the congregation voted to sever the membership they held in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and to affiliate with the American Lutheran Church.
Dr. Norman Menter, President of the Michigan District, was contacted. He was also vice president of the American Lutheran Church at a national level. The geographical boundaries of the ALC, Michigan District, included several Northwestern Ohio counties, including Fulton; and so after negotiations, we were officially received as a member of this body at the District Convention in 1965.
1965 - 1969
In July 1965, the first Pastor from ALC arrived in Delta. Rev. Gast was a 1965 seminary graduate. He stayed with Trinity until 1969, when he resigned to become minister of Peace Lutheran in Bowling Green. During his ministry a parsonage was built. The modern brick home at 803 Fernwood was dedicated in 1967.
1969 - 1971
On April 20, 1969, Rev. Roger Schalnat accepted the call and was installed. He served until Sept. 30, 1971, when he moved to Columbus to serve as Director of Materials for the Lutheran Social Services.
1971 - 1979
Rev. T.L. Grotjohn, who was serving at St. Michael Lutheran in Whiteford Center, Michigan, accepted the call and arrived in Delta on Dec. 1, 1971. Rev. Grotjohn led the congregation until June 1979, when he left to serve as assistant to the president of the Michigan District. During the call process, Rev. Ed Dodt of Defiance served as an interim pastor.
1980 - 1993
On Feb. 12, 1980, Rev. Ronald F. Johnson from Baroda, Michigan moved to Delta to serve Trinity. He conducted his first service on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 20. On March 2, Pastor Johnson was installed by Rev. U. Luther Siefkes, assistant to the president of the Michigan District.
In 1980, with Al Scherer as chairman of the Building Committee, the vision of a new building on Taylor St. was planned. After service for 15 years as chairman of that committee, Al Scherer died in April 1981. With his death, Fred LeSueur became the chairman of the Building Committee. In May 1981, invitations for bids on the new construction were sent out. Bids of Archistructures Construction Company of Wauseon, Kleck Electric Company of Delta, and Poynter Plumbing of Bryan were accepted.
The bids were voted on, and accepted by, the congregation. On July 12, 1981, ground was broken for construction.
In September 1981, the church on Main Street was sold to the Bible Baptist Church of Swanton. Trinity then rented the church on Main Street from the Bible Baptists and conducted services and church business cooperatively with them through June 1982.
On November 8, 1981, the Cornerstone Laying Service took place. The last service at the Main Street church – where the congregation had worshipped since November 1917 – took place on June 27, 1982.
On July 4, 1982, the first worship service was conducted in the Taylor Street church. The congregation has continued to grow ever since, proving the wisdom, and rewarding the faithful people who shouldered the work, and debt, required to make it all possible. Many finishing touches have been put on the church, making the church a very comfortable and beautiful place for worship, fellowship and education.
During the January 1987 congregational meeting, Trinity voted to approve the “Agreement and Plan of Merger’’ by and between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in American and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches – thus becoming a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
1993 - 2000
Pastor Johnson retired in 1993 and Pastor William L. Hutflies accepted the Letter of Call, coming to Delta from a dual parish of Sandusky and Monroeville, Ohio. Pastor Hutflies was installed on Oct. 24, 1993 by Bishop James Rave.
During Pastor Hutflies’ seven years at the church, Trinity purchased a new organ and made many improvements. During that time, a generous gift from the estate of longtime member Martha Lindhorst allowed the church to pay off its mortgage, plan a drive-up canopy and develop an endowment fund.
2000 - Present
In 2000, Pastor Eric Markovich left Bethlehem Lutheran in East Toledo to join Trinity. Pastor Eric’s influence was felt at our church in the areas of spiritual growth through special Bible study and seminar opportunities; community outreach and fellowship; and family-oriented activities meant to help both children and parents learn of God’s grace through his Son Jesus Christ. Pastor Eric served at Trinity for 17 years, leaving in August, 2017.
We have much to be grateful for as we look to the past; and are certainly encouraged as we look to the future and the wonderful promises God holds for us! We give thanks for the past; rejoice in the present; and are confident that God will continue to bless us with His gracious care, both spiritually and physically.
We give thanks to God Almighty, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.