A History of
Trinity Lutheran Church
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Trinity Lutheran Church of Prescott Valley started in 1971 when our founding families met at the home of Emil Krumwiede in Prescott Valley. They shaared the desire to form a church. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Kuhlman, Mr. and Mrs. Holger Nilson, Ruth Peterson, Florence Holland, Florence Strickland, Louise Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Kuhlman, Betty Lassila, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Skow, Rev. and Mrs. Marius Haakenstad, and Mr. and Mrs. Emil Krumwiede planted the seeds for what would become Trinity Lutheran Church. They were assisted by Rev. Eugene Beyer of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Phoenix and Rev. Harold B. Tietjen, Executive Secretary of the Mission Board or Southern California District. There was a discussion on whether or not a mission was warranted here. Pastor Beyer promised to help.
First services were held on January 8, 1972 with Rev. Marius Haakenstad officiating and Florence Holland as pianist. Less than 20 people were in attendance but joy and determination prevailed. These services were held at the community A-frame building. From early on Trinity was sponsored by Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Phoenix and served by their Pastor, the Rev. Eugene Beyer.
Officers of the mission congregation were selected in early 1972. Chairman-Dave Kuhlman, Vice Chairman-Paul Lassila, Secretary-Linda Kuhlman, Treasurer-Orville Woiwod, Trustees-Holger Nilson and Orville Woiwod, Elders-Wilbur Kuhlman and Emil Krumwiede and Sunday School Superintendent-Betty Lassila. In January 1972 Florence Holland called the first Lutheran Ladies Auxiliary together in her home with 12 ladies present. The first Sunday school classes were held at 2:30 p.m. and Worship Services at 3:30 p.m. First teachers in the Sunday School were Sandy Kuhlman, Todd Bulock, Faye Nilson and Vi Krumwiede.
In the spring of 1972, the congregation received the good news from Pastor Beyer that a student at the St. Louis Seminary had agreed to begin summer assignment in Prescott Valley. Vicar Randy Brodhagen arrived for the summer and services were held in the Coachlight Inn. During this time various Pastors from Phoenix came up once a month to administer Communion. Vicar Brodhagen occupied the mobile home belonging to Nellie Hoffman during the summer and worked five days a week at the Prescott Country Club Golf Course. During this time the first Vacation Bible School was held, with 61 enrollments and 11 teachers and helpers.
From September to December 1972, Rev. E. Umbach and Rev. E. Rasmussen served the congregation while Rev. Eugene Beyer made efforts to obtain a new vicar for the congregation. In October, the first confirmation class began meeting with Vi Krumwiede as teacher.
Pastor Beyer's requests for a vicar were answered. Vicar Lance Jennings and his wife Marie arrived in Phoenix where they made their home in December 1972. Since Trinity was sharing a vicar with Mount Calvary, Trinity was considered the "daughter" congregation. On December 17th Pastor Beyer inducted Vicar Lance Jennings at Trinity. Since the Coachlight had changed hands, services were being held at L & H Lumber Company in Prescott Valley. Members were calling it "The Church of the Carpenter!"
In February 1973, serviced were again conducted in the community A-frame. Vicar Jennings and his wife came up to Prescott Valley on the weekends. A Youth Group was formed and met each week in the Vicar's home. A mobile at 1759 Tracy, owned by Edward Osenga.
|On March 5, 1973 at a special meeting at the Woiwod home, members decided to take a leap of faith and purchased a tract of land in Prescott Valley for $15,000. At this time the members were not sure how they would finance the purchase, but they were determined. Later, half the land was sold to Open Door Chapel of Prescott Valley. On March 6 the congregation adopted its first constitution. Incorporation proceedings were also initiated in 1973. In August 1973 Kristi Lynn Wentz, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Gordon Wentz was the first child to be baptized in the congregation. On October 21st, the first class of confirmands was received into membership and a potluck dinner was served as a celebration. A second successful Vacation Bible School was held that year with an average attendance of 43. A farewell gathering was held at the Woiwod home for Rev. and Mrs. Lance Jennings who were returning to the seminary.
|In November 1973, the congregation strengthened when they learned that a recent graduate of the Springfield Seminary would be assigned in December as a full time worker and that the congregation would be recognized as a new mission congregation of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and that it was to be subsidized as such.
In November 1973, the congregation strengthened when they learned that a recent graduate of the Springfield Seminary would be assigned in December as a full time worker and that the congregation would be recognized as a new mission congregation of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and that it was to be subsidized as such.
Pastor Paul Adams was installed at Trinity on December 2, 1973. While Pastor Adams served the congregation, the first church facilities were built. The building committee members were Orville Woiwod, Wilbur Kuhlman, Dave Hommel, Dave Kuhlman and Edna Wood. A groundbreaking service was conducted on December 22, 1974. The original church building was dedicated on April 27, 1975. The Rev. Harold B. Tietjen was the dedication speaker. Also during Pastor Adams' tenure a preaching station was started in Black Canyon City. Later the English District adopted Grace Lutheran as one of their mission congregations.
The Rev. Richard Schinnerer was called as Missionary at Large and installed on April 30, 1977. He served the congregation until August 31, 1979. While Pastor Schinnerer served Trinity a preaching station was started in Prescott.
Trinity's third full time Pastor was called in November of 1980. Rev. Larry Courson was installed on February 15, 1981 as Missionary at Large. By the start of 1982 the preaching station in Prescott became a daughter congregation. This new congregation was named "Shepherd of the Hills". Pastor Courson served both Trinity and Shepherd of the Hills as dual parishes.
A second building committee was appointed in July 1981 for the expansion of the church building. The members of the building committee were Orville Woiwod, Gordon Wentz and Wilma Nunally. The plans for expansion were approved and the congregation voted to begin construction on April 25, 1982.
From November 1982 through the fall 1983 Vicar Tim Rehwaldt and his wife, Judy, aided in ministering to Trinity and Shepherd of the Hills. Before the building expansion was completed Pastor Courson and Joan Carouso were united in marriage at Trinity on January 29th, 1983.
On April 10, 1983, the members of Trinity voted to complete the expansion project and become a self-supporting congregation. Pastor Courson was called by the congregation to serve as full time resident Pastor on August 30th. A special "Service of Praise, Thanksgiving. Installation and Dedication" was held on September 25, 1983. In 1983 Rev. Denis Wittenberger was called to become Missionary at Large at Shepherd of the Hills.
In October 1987, Rev Dennis Morner was called as Pastor of Trinity with his wife Jacque joining him. Following requests by a number of Trinity's members living in the Cordes Lakes area, Pastor Morner was given permissions to start a preaching station in Cordes Lakes in April 1988. The Cordes Lakes faithful initially met in the Community Hall. That first spring and summer they met twice a month on Sunday afternoons. In the fall of 1988 they began worshipping every Sunday. By the fall of 1990, a constitution had been written and the name "Mountain of Faith Lutheran Church" was selected. From November 1990 on Mountain of Faith has been served by a number of Pastors, and has been adopted by the pacific Southwest District as one of their mission congregations.
Early in the spring of 1989, Nelson Beck, Donna Voss and Alyce Blank met to discuss the possibility of Trinity beginning a "Latch Key" ministry. Later that summer Patti Merchant was hired as director and Gayle as assistant to begin after school care in September. The name "God's World" was chosen for our new ministry. After limited success, the staff, board and congregation engaged in much prayer, finally deciding the Lord wanted us to expand our ministry to all day care, morning Pre-school, and before and after school care. We "re-opened" our doors the last day of October 1989. God's World first elected board consisted of Darlene Vosberg, Orville Woiwod and Karen Gatzemeyer. During the period of 1989 -1994 enrollment at God's World continued to grow. It became apparent that the facility in Trinity's basement was too small to accommodate more children. A new God's World planning board was formed in 1994 to address the problem of limited space. This board consisted of Dennis Voss, Vicki Drake, Matthew Voss, Bob Mogler, Orville Woiwod, Marge Melchoirs and Richard Jefferies. Not only did we need more space but also the growth potential for Prescott Valley was increasing by the month. After much prayerful thought and planning a resolution was brought before the congregation to move forward with the construction of a new facility. The resolution was passed and ground breaking was scheduled for June 1995. A great deal of personal time, talents, contributions and prayers were given in the construction of the new building. Parishioners worked alongside professional tradesmen on the job with dedication of the new facility in February 1997.
In 1996 Trinity provided use of church facilities on Saturday afternoons for the "Worldwide Church of God". A room in the basement was allocated for "Neighbor to Neighbor" and their mission service to the community.
A second service was offered in 1996. Early service offered traditional Lutheran worship with a choir. Second service offered an "upbeat" Praise Worship with a Praise Team.
A kindergarten class was started in the fall of 1998. God's World then had an enrollment of 155 children. Trinity has come a long way, with the Lord's help, since the early days of our childcare center.
In 1999 a third seeker service was started in Trinity Hall inside of God’s World. This upbeat service was designed to bring people into a laidback church setting in a Café style. While attendance for this service started slow, it has gradually grown through the years. It was initially designed to bring new people in and then as their faith grew, direct them to either the liturgical style service or the contemporary service.
August 12, 2001, after nearly14 years with Trinity, Rev. Dennis Morner answered a call to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Anchorage Alaska. The congregation bid farewell to Pastor Dennis, his wife Jacque and their children, Beth, Matt, and Josh at a wonderful dinner in Trinity Hall. Pastor Dennis accomplished many things at Trinity and saw the church bloom!
On August 28, 2001 our voters chose to hire an Interim Pastor for the next 6 months to guide the church through the call process. Trinity Lutheran Church has a strong congregation who believes God is in the church so here we are to keep His work going. Pastor Norman Walter from Peoria Arizona starts his Interim pastor duties on November 4, 2001. In 2002, Pastor Walter developed health issues. Pastor Herman Jonas, from Cave Creek AZ., began his "interim" Pastor duties.
The search for our permanent pastor resulted in three calls being extended. On the third call, Pastor Tim Blau from Salem Lutheran Church, Orange, CA accepted our call. He was installed as Trinity's Pastor on May 18th 2003 during a special afternoon service. Pastor Tim is from Salem Lutheran Church in Orange California. Pastor Blau was welcomed with open arms! Under the direction of Pastor Blau, a strong lay leadership program was instituted at Trinity. Lay leadership training resulted in three deacons going on for further training to become Specific Ministry Pastors. Two of the SMPs now lead their own congregations, Saving Grace in Chino Valley and Grace Community in Rimrock. Pastor Blau remained our shepherd until October 21, 2018 when he accepted a call to St. Peter’s in Lodi California.
For several months, vacancy pastors filled our pulpit with the assistance of the Deacons and Parish Ministry Assistants. The congregation approved the recommendation of the Pacific Southwest District to utilize the expertise of an Intentional Interim Minister to guide us through the process of calling our next settled pastor. The search for an IIM resulted in a call being extended to Pastor Gary Boye who served our congregation faithfully from March 17, 2019 through December 31, 2019. Beginning on January 1, 2020 our congregation has been shepherded by IIM Rev. Jim Swinford. He will be guiding us through the remainder of the process as we await the shepherd God has for our family.
Over the years, Trinity has had many outreach and in-reach programs. Among them are: Angel Tree, Stephen Ministry, LWML, Men’s Fellowship, numerous Bible Studies, Youth and Adult Confirmation Classes, new member classes, various music and choral programs, instrumentalists, Project Linus, Team Titus, Shepherds Table, and others too numerous to mention.
In 2019 covered parking with a solar system was installed in the lower level parking lot. The solar system will provided electrical power for our facilities for many years to come.
From humble beginnings of worship in Prescott Valley our congregation has blossomed from less than 20 congregants to a family of over 300. Trinity continues to adapt and change to meet the challenges of our community while holding strong to our Christian believes. We continue to preach, teach and confess that our salvation comes from Christ Alone!
In January of 2020, Rev. James Swinford came to Trinity as our IIM with the mission to guide Trinity towards our next "settled pastor.
Rev. James Swinford was born in San Diego, CA. He and his wife, Vicki, have lived in the Phoenix metro area since 1999 and they have two adult children, Tom and Christen. Pastor Jim has served congregations in CO, KS, AZ, and CA. Currently, he serves the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod as an Intentional Interim Pastor who specializes in helping congregations in pastoral transition to rediscover their mission and ministry to their community and world.
Pastor Jim left Trinity in March 20, 2021 and the congregation is currently being served by Assistant Pastor Alan Radloff, who was ordained as an SMP pastor by colloquy.
|updated 04/18/2018 JV updated 4/28/2020 ALR