The History Of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Newark Ohio
Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church began as a mission in 1902. Organizers met under the leadership of The Rev. J. C. Schindle of St. Paul's Church in Newark and The Rev. E. Luther Spaid, pastor of what was called the Newark Charge.
The first property was a rented room over a grocery store at 71 South Williams Street. The services were conducted by the founding pastors who alternated Sundays. Under the supervision of Pastor Schindle, a Sunday school was organized.
On Dec. 20, 1903, The Rev. S. J. McDowell, field secretary of the Central District of the Board of Home Missions of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, along with pastors Schindel and Spaid, made the organization of the church official.
A call went out to Rev. Spaid as the mission's first pastor. He was officially installed in March 1904.The following March he began work with 25 charter members. A constitution was adopted and the elders were elected. They were S.F. Welch and Adam Stauffer. The first deacons were Elmer Orr, Jerry Hanks, Jess E. Stenger and Robert A. Hartman.
In April 1905, the site known as the Hilliard property at the corner of West Main and Williams streets was purchased. "The little church on the little hill" found a permanent home. The cornerstone was laid in November 1911.
In 1906, The Rev. C.C. Roof was called and remained pastor for the next eight years. In the years to come, the pulpit was filled with several pastors. They included The Revs. Houk, Heuser, Weimer, Lauver and Stahl.
It was not until 1943 that Holy Trinity Lutheran Church enjoyed a longer tenure from its pastor. In that war year, The Rev. Robert E. Gaines from Hamma Divinity School at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, became pastor.
During Rev. Gaines tenure, the church celebrated 50 years of service. A celebration was held from Nov. 22 – 25, 1953 for the commemorations. The Rev. Dr. E.E. Flack, dean of the Wittenberg Divinity School and Gaines' mentor, was invited to speak. Some of the church's original charter members, now over 70 years old, attended. A Thanksgiving Eve Communion marked the conclusion of the celebration.
During the next decade of Pastor Gaines' service, the church building underwent major renovation. In November 1951, it was rededicated. A new parish hall was dedicated in November 1958. In December 1963, a committee was formed to discuss the building of a new sanctuary. The old church was torn down and on Sept. 11, 1966, the cornerstone laying ceremony for the new church was held. On the first Sunday in December 1966, the new and current sanctuary was dedicated. The construction cost $127,801.
As the years continued, The Rev. S.J. Foster served as pastor from 1983 to 1984 and The Rev. C.R. McCormack served from 1984 to 1991.
The Rev. Miriam Schreck was called in 1991 to serve this congregation. Pastor Deb Dingus, who was the director of the United Way of Licking County was asked to serve Holy Trinity Lutheran Church beginning in 2014 on a part time basis with her primary focus on congregational revitalization and community outreach. She also served as presiding minister on Sundays when needed. Pastor Miriam Schreck continued as full time pastor till 2016. Pastor Deb Dingus currently serves this congregation on a part time basis and together we continue to make new history.
In 2019, a new ministry to reduce our community's drug problem was in the planning stages. It targeted females convicted of drug charges who had finished serving their time in jail and had no place to stay. Our plan was to intervene with a temporary safe haven so these women did not go back out on the street and return to using illegal drugs. After much prayer and deliberation, an apartment was rented by the church for this ministry and called Trinity Hope House. Donna Gibson was hired as the director and clients began to be seen in January of 2020. Due to the pandemic and out of an abundance of caution, the ministry was sporadic at best. The ministry was disbanded in November 2020 due to safety concerns. This ministry morphed into the lower level of the church being used as a warming shelter for homeless people when overnight low temperatures reached a certain criteria. Our guests received a hot meal, a cot and blanket, other necessary items and shelter from the cold.
In the spring of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic began and in Holy Trinity’s worship moved online and in person worship was cancelled. Good Friday and Easter services were prerecorded and shared digitally with members. Later the church acquired a Zoom account and members were able to worship together virtually in real time. This was a blessing to all those who were home bound and isolated socially. In person worship was reinstated June 6, 2021 following Center for Disease Control guidelines. Zoom worship continues to be an option for those who wish to join us on this platform on Sunday mornings.
Holy Trinity has been a member of the Lutheran Church in America. In 1987 a new national church body was constituted – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or ELCA.