The History of Trinty Evangelical Lutheran Church
The German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church of the Rondout held its first services with visiting pastors from West Camp, Woodstock, and Rhinebeck. These early services were held in homes and community social halls. It was in 1842 that Trinity became incorported. Worship services were held in Rondout Presbyterian and in Trinity Methodist.
A picture of Trinity’s first building hangs in the rear of our Sanctuary. That building, located at Hunter and Ravine Streets, was dedicated in 1854. The congregation quickly outgrew the building and in 1872 the present lot was purchased. Fire destroyed the old building in 1873. The cornerstone for the new building was laid in 1874 and completed and dedicated on July 18, 1875.
The early mission of Trinity was to the German-speaking people of the area. In 1851 a German-speaking parochial school was opened and operated through 1918. A German and English Sunday School was opened in 1854. The English influence spread into the day school, but had difficulty taking root in the worship services. Rev. Steinhauser (1870-1878) attempted to establish an English-speaking service, but did not gain congregational support. Rev. Schmidtkonz’s thirty-five year ministry (1888-1923) focused in the German-American community. In 1923, Rev. Pretzch (1923-1940) realized the error of limiting the ministry by language, but the congregation’s identity was already established. Pastor Gollnick’s arrival in 1940 (1940-1960) expanded the vision to minister to all people.
Our ministry is not a building or constrained by nationality; once our identity was as the “German church”, but now we gather together as a community of redeemed sinners. We have always been bound by sin; we will always be loosed by grace. Our ministry continues as one of Word and Sacrament, work and service. Pray that God’s grace will continue to sustain us, that the ministry of Trinity will be brought to all