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Trinity Lutheran Church records

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 407
The Trinity Lutheran Church records, 1854-2014 and undated (bulk 1912-2014), contains records created by and relating to the pastors, council, affiliate groups, parishioners, and community relations of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moline, Illinois. The collection contains organizational and financial records, publications, photographs, correspondence, video and sound recordings, computer files, and ephemera. The bulk of the materials date from Trinity's official existence (1912 to the present), but some materials in the collection relate to Trinity's precursors, such as the Seventh Street Sunday School at Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois, which operated from 1893 to 1910. Among other subjects, the materials in the collection document extensive humanitarian and fundraising efforts led by women members of the congregation, a rich history of outreach to local children and adolescents in Trinity's youth ministry, and efforts to transform Trinity Lutheran Church's physical spaces to meet the needs of a growing congregation. The collection is arranged in seven series: congregational records, 1894-2012 and undated; correspondence, 1912-2011 and undated; Council records, 1912-2014 and undated; financial records, 1854-2007; anniversaries, 1922-2012; publications, 1912-2014 and undated; and photographs, 1900s-2010s.

Dates

  • 1854-2014 and undated
  • Majority of material found in ( 1912-2014)

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Audiovisual materials and computer files may be inaccessible pending reformatting. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Extent

27.9 Cubic Feet (65 boxes, 3 AV boxes, 1 oversize box, 16 volumes, and 1 oversize folder)

Overview

Trinity Lutheran Church was founded in 1912 in Moline, Illinois, and continues to operate as of 2017. At the time of its founding, Trinity was one of the only English-speaking churches chartered with the Augustana Synod, a Swedish branch of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The church has strong historical ties to Augustana College, with its first three pastors having graduated from Augustana Theological Seminary and the precursor to its Sunday School program having been founded by an Augustana faculty member. The Trinity Lutheran Church records, 1854-2014 and undated (bulk 1912-2014), contains records created by and relating to the pastors, council, affiliate groups, parishioners, and community relations of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moline, Illinois. The collection contains organizational and financial records, publications, photographs, correspondence, video and sound recordings, computer files, and ephemera. The bulk of the materials date from Trinity's official existence (1912 to the present), but some materials in the collection relate to Trinity's precursors, such as the Seventh Street Sunday School at Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois, which operated from 1893 to 1910. Among other subjects, the materials in the collection document extensive humanitarian and fundraising efforts led by women members of the congregation, a rich history of outreach to local children and adolescents in Trinity's youth ministry, and efforts to transform Trinity Lutheran Church's physical spaces to meet the needs of a growing congregation.

Historical Note

The following information is largely taken from Trinity Lutheran Church's 100th Anniversary publication, God Spoke in English ...and We Understood, as well as documents in the collection.

The organizational meeting of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was held 15 March 1912. At this meeting, a charter was signed affiliating the church with the Augustana Synod as an English-speaking congregation, one of the first of its kind at the time. The church had 36 charter members, and the following deacons were elected: J.B. Oakleaf, Theodore Weigandt, Albert G. Carlson. The first trustees were David B. Freeman, Frank J. Landee, N.O.W. Johnson, Walter L. Olson, Charles Ydeen. The church’s first pastor was Ira O. Nothstein (then pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois, and future librarian/archivist of Augustana College), who served as interim pastor until an official pastor could be hired. A call was sent to Samuel Miller, a student at Augustana Theological Seminary, who would become the church’s first official pastor.

Trinity struggled financially in its early days. According to a series of letters written in January 1913, the church had failed to pay for a communion service supplied by the American Baptist Publication Society (at a cost of $38.25) for almost a year, until some of its members agreed to settle the bill. The letters are located in the church history scrapbook, 1898-1987, in box 20 of the collection.

Rev. Miller left the church in 1916, and a call was extended to Walter Tillberg, who also was a student at Augustana Theological Seminary at the time of the call. This would be Tillberg’s only call to minister, and he would become the congregation’s longest-serving pastor, serving from 1916 to 1959. By 1927, Tillberg had made 21,900 pastoral calls and performed 1,412 pastoral acts, and communion had been administered to over 21,000 people.

Trinity found its first permanent home in 1916 near its present location at 1330 13th Street in Moline, Illinois. An old fire station was razed to generate lumber to build the chapel. This chapel served the congregation until 1922, when a new church was constructed at the present location and dedicated in 1923. The new church included a Bennett Organ, which was, at the time, the largest organ in the Tri-Cities. The 1923 building has served the congregation for almost 100 years. In 1959, an addition was added to the building and named Tillberg Hall in honor of Walter Tillberg’s retirement. The church’s property continued to be expanded and remodeled throughout the following decades, including upgrading the stained glass windows from 1965 to 1970 and substantial remodeling projects in the late 1970s (“A Building for All Generations”) and the early 1990s (“Vision 2000”). The sanctuary underwent a nearly $600,000 remodel in 2011.

From its earliest days, Trinity Lutheran Church was active in promoting service among its congregation, particularly for its women. One of the congregation’s most prominent women’s groups was Trinity Circle, founded sometime in the 1910s or 1920s. The purpose of the organization, according to its earliest constitution, was “to work for the upbuilding of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church; to lend assistance to the pastor and officers of said church in whatsoever thing is possible and for the good of the church.” Membership was open to “all ladies of the church.” Members served on a number of committees, such as the committee for visiting the sick, program committee, Altar committee, kitchen committee, decorating committee, membership and receiving committee, improvements committee, and nominating committee. Trinity Circle provided flowers when a member or her husband passed away, and promoted general fellowship and comradery among churchwomen. Trinity Circle was a unifying organization for most of the women’s groups within the church, and the circle itself was further subdivided into various divisions, some of which are identified by number (e.g. Divisions 3, 5, and 6) and some of which are identified by name (e.g. Rainbow Division, Faithful Division). In 1959, the group became known as the Trinity Lutheran Church Women.

Trinity also conducted targeted outreach to its youth community from its early days. Trinity established a Sunday School around 1911. This was an outgrowth of the Seventh Street Sunday School of Grace Lutheran Church in Rock Island, founded in 1893 by Augustana College professor Andrew Woods Williamson. When Williamson died in 1906, management of the school was taken over by John Hauberg, who served as its superintendent until 1911, when he married his wife, Susanne Denkmann. After Hauberg’s resignation, Trinity picked up where Hauberg left off. The church also coordinated a number of Luther League chapters for its children and adolescent members, operating under the tutelage of Pastor Walter Tillberg’s wife, Bertha Tillberg. Youth ministry activities continue to this day, including retreats, Vacation Bible School, and community service activities.

Trinity’s leadership changed hands several times between Walter Tillberg’s retirement and the close of the 20th century. In 1993, Trinity appointed its first full-time female pastor, Associate Pastor Rev. Laura Koppenhoefer, who served the church until 2012.The congregation’s current pastor, Lawrence Conway, has served since 1997.
Chronology of Trinity Lutheran Church Pastors
Chronology of Trinity Lutheran Church Pastors
1912
Rev. Ira O. Nothstein (interim)
1913-1916
Rev. Samuel A. Miller
1916-1959
Rev. Walter A. Tillberg
1959-1962
Rev. Eric J. Gustavson, Sr.
1963-1973
Rev. Marvin L. Raymond
1973-1988
Rev. Lowell R. Dallman
1989-1997
Rev. Ellis E. Eskritt
1999-2004
Ref. Gary LaCroix
2007-2017 (present)
Rev. Lawrence J. Conway, III

Arrangement

Most materials are arranged chronologically within series and/or subseries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Diana Alm on behalf of Trinity Lutheran Church, December 2016.

Existence and Location of Copies

Duplicate copies of some materials have been retained by Trinity Lutheran Church.

Related Materials

MSS 27 John Henry Hauberg papers

Processing Information

Processed by Samantha Crisp, March 2017.
Title
Trinity Lutheran Church records, 1854-2014 and undated (bulk 1912-2014).
Status
completed
Author
Samantha Crisp
Date
March 2017
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

Contact:
639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States