History Of Trinity
On August 28, 1881, A small group of men (17) met at 1007 Stark St. in the home of Ludwig Guckemus. It was decided at this meeting to form a Lutheran Church and Christian Day Care School. Within a week of drafting the resolution, (On September 4, 1881), the first service was conducted. The service was conducted in German, by Mr. Conrad, a candidate for the Lutheran ministry. In November of 1881 the Reverend C.J. Oelschlaeger of Ohio was called to be the first pastor of Trinity. Under his direction a constitution was drawn and the church became permanently organized. In December 1881 the congregation elected its first officers. In 1883 Trinity became one of the first of the few churches in central New York to join the Missouri Synod, a mid-western Synod. All of the members of the first congregation were German immigrants. They lived in a self contained community, the Church was "their whole life, social and religious," like one large family.
The First Church Building
Pastor Germann served until 1920. He tendered his resignation in September, however he did continue to serve as Pastor Emeritus until his death in 1932. In October of 1920, The Reverend Louis Henze became the third Pastor of Trinity. Many changes occurred under his guidance. A new parish house was erected and the church was renovated and redecorated. Stained glass windows were installed as memorials. Pastor Henze served until 1931. Reverend Elmer Giese became Pastor of Trinity in December of 1931. Once again a series of changes occurred within the congregation. A substantial increase in membership and a decrease in the congregation's indebtedness was realized. Also, organizations such as a vested choir, a Walther League for youth and a men's club were started, along with "The Dorcas Guild and "Altar Guild. On December 8,1946 in celebration of the 65th anniversary of Trinity Lutheran Church and the 15th year since Pastor Giese's installation, the congregation participated in a "public burning of the church mortgage ( $24,500). Two years later, Pastor Giese accepted a call to Grace Lutheran Church in the Bronx.
The Reverend Arthur R. Kleps of NY city was installed as the new Pastor of Trinity on October 3, 1948. In 1951 a relocation committee was formed. Steps to relocate were taken as membership was declining. The City of Utica was changing and many of Trinity's members were moving to other parts of the city. On February 17, 1955 the church purchased its present day site, a 3 acre plot from the estate of Margaret Beekman Harter. The new site was purchased for $30,000. The Hamilton Street property was sold for a price of $37,500. The the cost of the new church building was $246,000.
On January 12, 1958 the last service at the Hamilton St. church was held. Temporarily, services were held at the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Genesee st. The dedication of the new church was planned for May 11, 1958, however, the dedication was postponed because of a cracked marble altar panel and a last minute decision to add light diffusing terra cotta tile to the large chancel windows. On June 8, 1958 at 10:00 AM the dedication ceremony took place.
Pastor Kleps retired in 1966, and in 1967 Reverend Wilfred A. Hansel became the sixth pastor of Trinity. Pastor Hansel , loved by his people, faithfully served them for the next 18 years. Pastor Hansel placed a high emphasis on youth programs and young people groups. It was during these years that Trinity established its own Vacation Bible School and Pre-School. Also, various efforts were made under Pastor Hansel's guidance to become involved in community outreach. Food donations were made to "The Anchor and "The Rescue Mission. Trinity also aided many needy community families. Many came to faith directly through the faithful efforts of Pastor Wil.
On January 20, 1985 The Reverend Steven D. Simon was installed as Pastor of Trinity. A native of Fort Wayne, Ind. Pastor Simon brought with him a wealth of musical talent which he shared with everyone. Sunday evening worship services were held and praise music was introduced to the congregation. Keyboard and guitar instruments were used and opportunities for volunteers to sing a solo were employed and enjoyed by all. "On the Right Track," a group started up by Pastor and 3 other members, made many public appearances in the Utica area. Family nights and square dancing were also part of the Simon years, as were many other events aimed at getting the church family together more often. Pastor Simon made use of the new Christian radio station and ministered to many by broadcasting messages of hope and salvation. Pastor Simon is loved and missed by his Trinity Family.
Reverend Herbert H. Grieves Jr., a native of Boston, was installed as Pastor of Trinity on October 27, 1991. Elder training, Elder home communion, Blended Worship Music, Helping Hands Ministry are but a few of the new ministries begun by Pastor Grieves during his term. The congregation erected an addition to the present structure to better serve the needs of the community, taking us into the 21st. century. Pastor Grieves retired in April 2002.
The current Pastor of Trinity is the Reverend Dr. Richard M. Mokry. He was installed on November 17, 2002 by Dr. John Brunnner , LCMS Eastern District President. Pastor Mokry is from Rome, NY where he was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church. Pastor is married to Miriam Kohlmeier Mokry and has six children, residing in Utica. Pastor Mokry received LCMS colloquy certification at St. Louis Seminary in December 2001.