By Julie Ann Madden
This weekend the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church in Akron is inviting people to join them as they celebrate 125 years of worshipping together.
The celebration begins at 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10 at the church, which is located at 220 Hardy St., with a two-hour social gathering. Musical entertainment will be provided by singer Elaine Peacock of Elk Point, S.D., from 5 to 6 p.m.; and from 6 to 7 p.m., a light supper will be served.
On Sunday, Aug. 11, there is a celebratory worship service at 10:00 a.m., followed by a catered meal at 11:30 a.m.
All are welcome to attend these 125th anniversary events.
The congregation is also creating a Memory Wall for the 125th Anniversary celebration. This wall is for members, friends and family who are unable to attend the celebration. A free-will donation is being accepted for the Memory Wall with proceeds going toward Trinity’s Missions & Improvement Fund.
This is the third church building where the congregation has worshipped.
The first church was built in 1894, located northeast of the current church building. A second church was constructed in 1914 and served the congregation until 1968 when the current facility was built.
On March 31, 1968, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the conclusion of the Sunday worship session. On Oct. 27, 1968, a Service of Dedication was held.
The Church Council members were Daryl Siebens, chairman; Elmer Anderson, Eldon Boyer, Darrell Easton, Delmar Gerrietts, Marvin Hitzemann, Don Neunaber, Ronald Schroeder, Dennis Wilken, and R.G. Witt.
The Building Committee consisted of Raymond Andresen, chairman; Mrs. Albert Witt, secretary; Herman Renken, Building Fund treasurer; Lesley Anderson, Leonard Dirks, Delmar Gerrietts, Mrs. Harris Hostager, Arval Jurgensen, Clarence Lehmann, and Don Willer. There were also subcommittees for Plan & Construction, Finance & Promotion, Fellowship & Education, and Worship & Fine Arts.
The current building was designed and built by the Dohrmann Construction Company of Sioux City for a contract cost of $138,614. The 10,000 square feet structure was made of hadite block on most interior walls with sand-faced brick on the exterior. The North, or Chancel, end is accented with Georgia Snowflake stone. The building is carpeted throughout with the exception of the kitchen and storage room.
The facility included 12 rooms plus a pastor’s study with electrical installation by Altena Electric of Hull and plumbing and heating done by B & L Plumbing of Hull.
All fixtures in the Nave and Chancel were donated memorials designed specifically for the building.
The pews, made by Schottler of Beatrice, Neb., are 15 feet in length. The seating capacity is of about 300 in the Nave with an overflow area in the Fellowship Hall.
The altar is of California Driftwood stone with a marble top. The altar’s suspended cross is designed to remind worshippers that Christ’s cross carried the heavy burden of all man’s sin. The altar railing speaks in word and symbol of the great gifts of God to man.
The pipe organ and choir are located in the suspended balcony at the rear of the nave. The organ was installed by Ulm Orgelwerke of New Ulm, Minn.
The church building was handicapped accessible — way before it was required.
Improvements since this church’s construction have included:
• Members Vernon Jurgensen, Dick Oetken and Arlo Rohlfs installing an underground cable to the former Akron Care Center building to the west of the church so nursing home residents could watch the worship service simultaneously.
• Bell tower was installed in 1993.
• The Sunday school building portion’s roof was changed from a flat roof to a peaked roof. Sunday school moved from Sunday mornings to Wednesday evenings and now includes a light supper and is open to all children in the area.
• Member Nancy Enstrom recreated the building’s stained glass windows in 2011.
• New heating boiler in 2016; and
• New carpeting in 2018, which proceeded the congregation celebrating this building’s 50th anniversary.
The first baptism in the new church was Judith K. Klave, daughter of Harlan and Kathy Klave, on Oct. 13, 1968. Most recent baptism was Lawsen Michael Schuch on March 16, 2019.
The first confirmation class was Arlin Beeck, Dale Dirks, Darla Jones, Bruce Jurgensen, Cheryl Klemme, Lynette Klemme, Don Renken and Charles Von Hagel. On Oct. 28, 2018, six were confirmed: Tyler Ford, Lane Kenny, Sarah Toben, Sophie Martinac, Alyssa Nemesio and Tanner Staffon.
The first weddings were in 1969: David Beeck of Akron and Tiffery Porter of Westfield; Larry Jensen and Diane Hazel, of Le Mars; and Stanley Knapp and Diane Small, of Akron. The most recent members’ wedding was of Christina Lewison and David Compton on Oct. 6, 2018.
The first funeral service was for Mrs. Jesse (Lorena) Kallsen. The most recent funeral service was for member Harlan Kleihauer on July 23, 2019.
Ministers serving at Trinity have been Rev Carl Hopf, 1894-1896; Rev. Fred Meske, 1896-1941; Rev. J.A. Pannkuk, 1941-1953; Rev. Luther Meyer, 1953-1963; Rev. Harris Hostage, 1963-1970; Rev. Durwood Clauson, 1970-1979; Rev. Marvin Mueller, 1979-1988; Rev. Allen Bidne, 1989-2001; Interim Pastors Rev. Sonja Brucklacher, 2002-2003, and Rev. Jerry Crow, January to May, 2003; Rev. Jean Morse, June 2003-February 2014; Interim Rev. David Christensen, February to October 2014; and Pastor Susan Juilfs, October 2014-Present.
Currently, Trinity Lutheran Church has 389 baptized members and 330 confirmed members.