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Trinity Lutheran Church
1245 New Hampshire
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
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Our History

Starting in 1867, Trinity has been on a journey.

Check out where we have been, and learn about where Christ is leading us.


In the beginning, Trinity Lutheran Church was considered an immigrant church. The grandfather of aviator Amelia Earhart, the Rev. David Earhart, tended the small flock before it even had a shepherd. The founders met around a table in the kitchen of J. G. and Martha Schmuker, whose stone house was on Rhode Island Street. He was a miller. The early believers went without new clothing in order to contribute mightily to a house of worship of their own, but before they could build a church, they met at Miler's Hall on Massachusetts Street south of the Eldridge Hotel.

The band of nineteen was organized on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1867, as the English Lutheran Church by a missionary who had returned from Africa, the Rev. Morris Officer. More than likely, they included the word "English" in the name of their church to distinguish themselves from another local church where German was used in the services. In the first decade of the 1900s, they changed their name to First Evangelical Lutheran church, but in 1910, they settled on Trinity Lutheran Church.

Resourceful, the early congregation engaged the services of John G. Haskell, an architect who is known for his work on the State Capitol in Topeka. Stone was quarried from the grounds of the University of Kansas, chartered in 1865, just two years prior to the establishment of the little church. Dr. Levi Sternberg gave the first sermon in that stone church in 1871.

Before long, the little stone church near the intersection of 11th and New Hampshire did not have enough room for all the worshipers and the children of the Sunday School, and a larger church was built in 1928. The congregation made the famous, cherished walk from the stone church to the brick church on September 16, 1928. Then, Trinity became known as "the churchly church." By 1930, WREN carried the services over the air; today, services are broadcast on KLWN. By the end of World War II, the little band of believers had grown to more than a thousand.

The first ordinand from Trinity was the Rev. Dr. Lloyd Eldon Sheneman who completed seminary in 1953; the second was the Rev. Richard I. Preis.

A distinctive feature of the house of worship today is a number of carvings from Oberammergau, Germany. The first carvings were of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Other carvings include the "Flight into Egypt" and two depictions of the Lord's Supper. During Advent and Christmas, a wooden creche with the Biblical figures on the Nativity becomes part of the worship setting.

There are five stained glass windows from the Von Gerichten firm, which was based in Ohio with offices in Munich. These windows include the Good Shepherd, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. The organ is a Reuter.

New Hampshire Street was closed between 12th and 13th Streets in order to allow for an addition completed in 1992. This space allows for a chapel, a large multi-purpose room with a kitchen, classrooms, and offices. In the main church, the communion rail was altered in 2003-2004.

In the winter of 2011, we entered into a process of discernment of where the Holy Spirit has led us in the past and where she is leading us in the future.  The process is called Partnership for Missional Church: Standing at the Crossroads and has helped us to become more aware of our churches history, where we are now and where we are headed in the future.