Our History

On the day of His ascension, Jesus made provision that the message of salvation should be proclaimed to all the world. The Great Commission, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and  of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20), was given not only to His followers assembled that day, but to all succeeding generations. The followers of Christ are called to assemble to hear and support the preaching of the gospel and invoke his presence among them in worship and prayer. And Christ promised that he would be with his people as they assemble for this purpose: "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). 

These promises of our Savior were fulfilled in our midst over the years. Lutheran mission work was begun in the Park Hills area in the early 1900s.  The work was sponsored by Reverend A. Rohlfing, a pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Farmington who in 1898 made a survey of our mission field and came to conduct services in some of the homes. At that time, the road between Flat River and Farmington was often unfit for vehicular traffic and Reverend Rohlfing would often make this trip as a true circuit rider, on horseback!

With the attendance constantly growing at the house-church services, it was decided to rent a centrally located hall as a worship space. At the turn of the century the small group assembled at Level's Hall on the lower end of Main Street in Flat River. This building served as a place of worship until August, 1903 when the structure burned down.

On September 1, 1908, our little mission station received a Certificate of Incorporation as an official congregation of the Lutheran Church‚ÄďMissouri Synod.¬†The Official name of the church was "Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation U.A.C. (Unaltered Augsburg Confession) in and about Flat River, St. Fracois County, Missouri."

D. Metzger of Concordia Seminary was present at the church's incorporation meeting. Six charter members signed the constitution: C. Houser, W. Fisher, W.P. Giessing, A. Schramm, Henry Schramm, and George Meyer. Soon after the organizational meeting, the constitution was signed by J. Houser, H. Thomsen and F. Thomsen.

The first resident pastor was the Reverend O. Matuschka, member of the Concordia Seminary graduating class of 1901. He was ordained on August 26, 1901, and continued his pastorate until October of the following year.

Many pastors have since passed through our little church bringing, beginning, and aiding many wonderful new ministries: a small church school that served 35-40 students in the early 1900's, a new building in 1951, a scholarship instituted for young people who were planning to go into church work, children and youth programs were put into place, and so much more.

On those few occassions when we found ourselves without a minister, we have been fortunate that since the early days of our church we could avail ourselves of the services of seminary students in St. Louis. We have been blessed by each one.

The Church Property

The first meeting place of this congregation was Level's Hall, which burned down in Autgust, 1903. The organ and benches went up in smoke and only the hymn books were saved. Later rebuilt, the building is now the home of Marler Music store.

The next improvised church home was the club room above Fisher's Store in the Littleton Building on West Main Street above the tracks. After one month, this building, too, was reduced to ashes. Rebuilt, it is now occupied by the MFA Shield of Shelter Insurance.

Services were then held in the Buckley Building over the grocery which was bought by Cocoa Cola and replaced with a large warehouse-garage.

A desire to have their own place of worship led the group to obtain title to the lot where the church now stands on Taylor Ave. The lot itself was a gift from St. Joseph Lead company and the house on the rear of the lot was purchased. They took title to the property on November 19,1904 and the first service was held in the remodeled two-room house on December 18, 1904.

Church services and school were conducted in this building until 1908, when the first church building was erected. Dedication services were held in the summer of that year and final payment on the debt was made on September 2, 1918.

The parsonage, a corner house west of the church, was purchased in October, 1923 and the pastor's study was added in 1936. On March 19, 1939, a full basement was started under the parsonage, the men of the church doing the work. It was finished in December and the next year the kitchen was enlarged and an extra bedroom and the back porch were added.

With an eye to the future, a building fund was established in 1936 and plans for a new building and remodeling plans for the existing building were studied. The plans were tabled until a building committee was appointed in April, 1946. they contacted arhcitect W.P. Manske of St. Louis, who drew sketches of a new church.

The St. Joseph Lead Company offered to give the group a large tract of land on the east side of Business 67 at the Desloge-Flat River- Highway 8 intersection. But, it was voted that the church would remain in its present location.

The last services in the old church were on April 22, 1951. After working parties of church members salvaged usable materials, the old building was tore down to make room for the new. While the church was being built, the congregation met for Sunday School and church services at the American Legion Hall.

The cornerston-laying ceremonies were  held on July 29, 1951 and the church was dedicated to the Lord's service on December 23, 1951. 

Much work was done by members of the congregation. The pews from the old church were refinished; the altar, pulpit and lectuern were built by several of the men and the ladies made the altar cloths and dossal curtain. The kitchen was built and completely outfitted allowing a group from the Ladies Aid to prepare a meal before the dedcation. 

New pews were purchased in 1961 and a new organ in 1964 followed by many more much needed additions to accomodate and help the church serve the local community.

 

All the above information was adapted from Trinity Lutheran's 80th Anniversary booklet printed in 1983.

 

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