BY MARY WICOFF
The colorful pinwheels spinning in front of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church remind the community this is a time of celebration.
The church is marking its 150th anniversary this weekend with a special service and banquet on Sunday. The festival divine service — with communion — will start at 10:30 a.m., followed by a catered banquet. The Rev. Larry Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, will be the guest preacher.
Several former Trinity pastors are expected to attend, and the current pastor, the Rev. Kent Tibben, will speak at the banquet.
The congregation and school children have been celebrating the anniversary all month. At the beginning of April, the children placed 150 pinwheels on the hillside in front of the church.
Amazingly, all pinwheels have survived, said Kim Wright, chairperson of the church’s Fellowship Committee. “The neighbors have enjoyed it,” she said, adding that the pinwheels might stay on the lawn for a while.
The children’s participation in the celebration is significant because it also is the anniversary of 150 years of Lutheran day school education in Danville, organized by Trinity’s first ordained pastor, Gottfried Markworth.
The church’s history began on Feb. 15, 1863, when 14 members adopted and signed the constitution forming the congregation.
The original church building was located at Jackson and Harrison streets, and the congregation was made up of German immigrants.
In 1881, a branch school was opened in Germantown and in 1896, Immanuel Lutheran Church opened on Bowman Avenue.
The present Trinity building, which stands on a prominent hill on Main Street, was dedicated on April 25, 1915.
At that time, Tibben said, there was nothing east of Stony Creek.
“We’re thankful, by God’s grace, that we’ve been here 150 years,” he said, “and look forward to continuing to serve the Danville community.”
Education has been a big part of the church’s history, and now there are 135 students in preschool through eighth grade at the Trinity and Immanuel campuses.
The church also has an outreach program to help children at Cannon and Meade Park schools who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The program provides lunches in the summer and weekend backpacks with food during the school year.
In addition, the church helps support the Women’s Care Clinic and collects food for Danville Township pantry.
As for the 727 baptized members, Tibben said they appreciate the church prides itself on the preaching of the gospel, and “giving back to God thanks and praise for his gift of salvation in Christ.”
Wright agreed, saying she’s been a member for 27 years because “I like the traditional teachings of the church.” Her husband, Bill, has always attended Trinity Lutheran and his family’s roots go deep at Trinity, she said.
Their children have attended the school.
“Once you blend school and church life together, it becomes your second home,” she said.
Tibben has been pastor at Trinity for 21 years, saying, “I’ve been fortunate to serve this congregation.”
Trinity is part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Services are at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sundays, except this weekend, with Sunday school and Bible study at 9:30 a.m.
In addition to Wright, members of the Fellowship Committee planning the anniversary events are Pat Hubner, Janet Myers and Sharyn and Mike Klepp. Hubner designed and made the anniversary banner that’s displayed in the sanctuary.
A festival divine service will start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the church, 824 E. Main St. Bible school will be at 9 a.m.
For more information, call the church office at 446-4300.