By Ann Stivers, special for The Times
It was a bittersweet service on November 28, 2021 as the Trinity Lutheran congregation held their last service at their church, located on the corner of Eighth and Sherman in Fort Morgan.
The service was a thanksgiving at the disposal of a church building. As the final closing of the church door happened on a sunny morning, many Trinity members recalled many memories etched in their hearts. Several members have had generations of family members baptized, confirmed, and married in the church located at 800 Sherman. The church building was recently purchased by Young Disciples Immanuel Church of Fort Morgan.
After the sale and throughout December, many volunteers helped move furniture, records and offices to Trinity Lutheran School located at 1215 W. Seventh Street in Fort Morgan and for the first time since 1983, the church and the school again share the same space. The construction of a new sanctuary will take place on the same land as the school. It is expected that the new sanctuary will be completed within the next two years. Trinity held its first worship service at the school on the first day of Advent on December 1. The first Sunday worship service was held on Sunday, December 5 at 9 a.m. and services continue at the same time every Sunday. We welcome everyone.
To celebrate Trinity’s many years in existence, a potluck dinner was held on Sunday January 2 at Trinity Lutheran Church and School. A slide show was projected after the meal with many memories and photos appreciated by those present. After the slide show, many members were recognized for their longevity and service to the existence of the church. Trinity’s oldest member in years was introduced to 100-year-old Jeanette Walter. The award for oldest continuous member of the church was presented to Ed Gerken. Ed was baptized in 1942, confirmed in 1954, and was married to Karen at Trinity in 1967. Sandra Schmeeckle received the award for being the member with the oldest ancestry and descendant of one of the first heads of families of the church, Elmer and Alta Tieman, who joined in 1922. Ed Gerkens was a close 2nd place with his parents, Elmer and Ruby Gerken, becoming members in 1923. The newest member and the last person to be baptized at Trinity in 800 Sherman was Aria Kreegar, daughter of Jordan Kreegar and Jayden Markland of Brush.
After the recognition of the members, Scott Bostron, President of the Congregation, opened the time capsule, which was housed in the cornerstone of the church, for all to see. In addition to several 1954 editions of the Fort Morgan Times, there was also a copy of Luther’s Short Catechism and a Bible belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Schwanke, early members of Trinity. There were also 1954 coins of each denomination and five $1 silver certificate notes.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church has served the Fort Morgan community for over 115 years. It started in 1906 and the school was established in 1907. The church alternated Sundays with services in English and German. The first pastor installed was the Reverend JG Pflantz. The church exceeded its capacity and a new church was built on the corner of Seventh and Sherman and dedicated in 1954 by Rev. Karl Hofmann.
Having a parochial school was of paramount importance to the Founding Fathers and Trinity opened its first school in 1907. The school closed in 1942 but reopened in 1979 with classes held in the Church Fellowship Hall of Seventh and Sherman. Karen Freidenberger was one of the first teachers during the reopening. The school succeeded and outgrew the location of Eighth and Sherman and a new school was built in 1983 at 1215 W. Seventh and has served well in providing a Christian education to many children residing in Morgan County during of the last 33 years. Currently, the school provides Christian education to children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Trinity Preschool was established in 1983 and transitioned to the early childhood education program, known as Little Lambs in August 2013. Little Lambs currently serves 42 young children in the Fort Morgan community. It has been a real joy to watch the children who attend Trinity or Little Lambs Lutheran School grow in both faith and education. Under Carrie Brown’s leadership, the Early Childhood Education program has received numerous accolades, including Colorado Shine’s Level 5 highest honor.
Although Trinity is currently seeking to call a pastor to lead and shepherd the congregation, Trinity has not been without leadership. Many church members have worked tirelessly and given generously to Trinity’s growth. Trinity has been blessed for over a year with the dedication and leadership of retired pastor Dean Boernke of Brighton. Trinity welcomes everyone and we would love for you to visit us in our new location. Church services will continue at 9 a.m. each Sunday.