History of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (formerly Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church)


Fiftieth Anniversary of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church Congregation – May 3, 1959

NOTE: The following text is taken from the program given to congregation members on May 3, 1959, the fiftieth anniversary ceremony for Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (formerly Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church)


Rev. Roland A. Langbecker – Present Pastor
Rev. Elmer E. Streufert – 1946-1951
Rev. James P. Maier – 1936-1946
Rev. Peter Schmidt – 1909-1936
Rev. A. Duenow – 1908-1909

Trinity Church History

TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH came into existence Nov. 8, 1908, under the name of EMMAUS EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. The congregation, small in number, was founded under the leadership of the Rev. A. Duenow, at that time pastor and missionary in Walla Walla and surrounding district. In the spring of 1909, Rev. Duenow and the congregation called Rev. Peter Schmidt of Oxnard, Calif.

Rev. Schmidt was installed in November, 1909. Under his leadership the congregation was incorporated in September 1910, under the name of EMMAUS EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, in compliance with the laws of the state of Washington. The following month a piece of property at Howard and Locust Streets was purchased. Construction started soon after and on April 9, 1910 the corner-stone was laid for the new church. Construction was completed in the fall [of 1910] and dedication followed.

Rev. Schmidt continued to serve the congregation until early fall of 1936. Rev. James P. Maier of Tillamook, Oregon, was then called and was installed in October, 1936. Rev. Maier continued to serve Emmaus during the war years until August, 1946, at which time he resigned. The congragation then called Rev. E. E. Streufert of Seymour, Indiana and he was installed in November, 1946.

A New Building and Organ Fund had been started and in July 1947, a new organ was delivered and installed. The congregation continued to grow steadily. In October, 1949, the congregation adopted a resolution to study all possibilities for a new location and a future building. After looking at various pieces of property, the congregation in April, 1950, purchased the present site at 109 S. Roosevelt for the sum of $10,500.00. The piece of property had a frontage of 233 feet and a depth of 600 feet at the Mill Creek side and 150 feet at the Francis Street side.

A two bedroom house stood on the property. This house was rented until the spring of 1952 at which time it was moved to a lot at 1415 University Street, which the congregation had purchased for that purpose. This house was remodeled and sold by the congregation.

As the congregation grew, so did the Sunday School and in February, 1951, because of lack of space, the congregation made arrangements to rent the Evergreen Clubhouse for the Sunday School facilities for it was in the neighborhood of our building site.

In July, 1951, a temporary building committee was chosen to study details and designs for a new church building. In September Rev. Streufert accepted a call to Los Angeles, Calif. The congregation called Rev. R. Langbecker of Yakima, Washington and he was installed the first Sunday in December, 1951. In January, 1952, a permanent building committee was chosen and the congregation engaged Mr. Bjarnie Ove of Seattle, Washington, as architect.

In the same month of January, 1952, the church building at Howard and Locust Streets was sold to another church group. The church council made arrangements to rent the building until the end of the year from this group. The architect immediately set to drawing up plans and specifications and in the July meeting the plans were approved and accepted.

At the same meeting a finance committee was chosen and plans made to finance the new building were laid. All members were visited and asked to
pledge towards the new building. After a few months when all financial matters were taken care of, bids were let.

Ground breaking was marked by special ceremonies after a regular Sunday morning service, October 26, 1952 on the building site.

Construction progressed rather slowly because, of delays during the early winter months. As our rental agreement with the church group purchased the old church building expired on the 31st of December, 1952, the congregation held it’s final service in the old building on New Year’s Eve 1952 and moved to the Evergreen Clubhouse on New Year’s Day, 1953: With a mild late winter and early spring, construction speeded up and signs of nearing completion were very noticeable. The formality of comer-stone laying took place in special services after the regular morning service on May 10, 1953.

In a meeting held April 7, 1953, the voting body of Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church, by resolution, unanimously voted repeal of the entire constitution of the congregation and adopted a new constitution which reads in Article I “THE NAME OF THIS CONGREGATION SHALL BE TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH, OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF WALLA WALLA, STATE OF WASHINGTON.”

The date of June 28, 1953, was chosen as the dedication date and all efforts for completion of the church were directed towards this date. Formal dedication took place on that date, the main service being conducted at 3:00 P.M., June 28, 1953, the Rev. Walter Wendland of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Richland, Washington, being the dedication speaker.

During dedication week, services were held on Monday, recognizing the Sunday School and Walther League, the Rev. A. F. Beawer, Calvary Lutheran Church, Sunnyside, being the speaker. On Wednesday evening special services were held recognizing the Christian Fellowship Club and Choir with Rev. D. C. Schroeder, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Kennewick as pastor. On Friday the special service honored the Ladies of our Congregation with Rev. Paul Harting, Messiah Lutheran Church, Prosser as guest speaker. Post dedication Sunday was observed with Holy Communion. Thus concluded the dedication week.

Shortly after dedication landscaping was started, much of it being done with assistance from the men in the congregation. Since that time additional landscaping has been done, with flowers and shrubs being added almost every year. The former small parking lot on the north end of the church has been planted into grass.

In the spring of 1954 an attractive offer for the old parsonage was presented to the congregation and by the action of the congregation on May 13, 1954, the sale of the old parsonage was approved and along with the action of the congregation, plans and bids for a new parsonage to be constructed to the east of the church was approved. The plans called for a modern two story 4-bedroom home with full basement and a full garage with a driveway to be between the house and property line so that access could be had to the church’s parking lot. Construction started immediately on the new parsonage under the supervision of the building committee. Since enough money from the sale of the old parsonage had not been realized, additional funds were borrowed so that the parsonage could be completed. Pastor and family moved into the parsonage in August, 1954, and dedication of the parsonage took place in that month.

Since that time, Trinity has settled down into a routine, making progress both in members gained and being able to substantially reduce the debt on the property. Members have been gained while others have moved, away but generally a steady progress in growth has been noted both in cnurch attendance and also in Sunday school attendance.

In July, 1958, a committee was chosen to plan the 50th Anniversary of our congregation. The committee set about making plans for the coming event and the date of May 3, 1959 was chosen as the formal anniversary date. All members of the congregation were visited in this connection, giving them details of the forthcoming events in connection with this celebration as well as financial plans. Each organization within the congregation was visited by a member of the committee and plans were discussed for thiscelebration.

The committee also looked into the matter of utilizing the chime fund and recommended to the congregation the purchase of a set of chimes that could be played in connection with the organ. The congregation adopted the resolution of purchasing this set and they were delivered the latter part of April and installed. The dedication of the chimes was part of the anniversary service.

All organizations within the congregation have made a special effort to give something as their gift to the congregation for this 50th anniversary. The Ladies are installing a curtain between the kitchen and the main part of the basement. The Sunday School installed blackboards for each room in the Sunday School. The Lutheran Laymen’s League has installed a rubberized carpeting on the steps leading to the basement, the Walther League are repairing all the damaged Hymn books in our congregation and having them re-bound.

The congregation asked its former pastor, Rev. James P. Maier as guest speaker for this special anniversary service. This service was to take place at 7:00 p.m. May 3, 1959. For a complete day for this anniversary date, it was planned to have regular service in the morning with Holy Communion being celebrated, a golden banquet at 4:30 in the afternoon, the anniversary service at 7:00 p.m. followed with a coffee hour following the service.

This completes the history of Trinity Lutheran Church for its 50 years of existance. By God’s grace alone has it been able to stand for these years. We should all humbly bow our heads and fervently give thanks to God on high that through His grace and wisdom we have been able to hear His word preached by faithful servants of His and that if He suffers it to be so, we shall continue as a congregation until such a time that He choose to unite all His believers into His Heavenly Church.


The Christian Felowship Club was organized in 1947 to promote Christian Fellowship among the young married people and middle aged group within the congregation.

In June 1956 it was decided to have the Christian Fellowship Club become affiliated with the national organization of The Lutheran Layman’s League. Our charter was approved and presented October, 1956.

Objects of the Lutheran Layman’s League are: Encourage one another to be more active in participation in the work of the local congregation; Help increase a deeper consciousness of a life of Christian Stewardship; To provide additional opportunities for developing dedicated, effective and practical church workers; To assist in promoting the cause of Christian Elementary and Higher Education; To encourage greater lay missionary activity; To further Christian fellowship; To assist in giving publicity to the cause of Lutheranism; To cooperate with other organizations within the congregation in the furtherance of Christian endeavors; To cooperate with the national LLL in the attainment of its aims and in enrolling individual members in its broad program of Christian service.

The meetings are conducted on the third Sunday of each month. The programs are varied as to films, speakers, panel discussions and Bible study. The group has continued to give small remembrances and to sing carols to the older members of the congregation at Christmas time.


The mixed choir of Trinity was organized years ago, the date being uncertain. Numerous times the choir has been depleted because of persons moving away and the like but always being reorganized. In December of 1952 the choir was reorganized under the direction of Mr. E. R. Krohn. The present director is Mrs. Herbert Freise with Mrs. Harold Moose as organist. The congregation finances the cost of music for the choir. Meeting each Thursday evening for rehearsal. During the summer months the choir does not meet but resumes rehearsal in time so that a selection can be given at Mission Festival.

The Junior Choir was formed in the fall of 1958 for the purpose of giving the children an opportunity to use their voices and learn more about
music. Children in the third grade thru the eighth are eligible to join the choir. Mrs. Donald Schramm is director and Mrs. Harold Moose organist.
Special music at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter services was presented by the Junior Choir.


The Walther League of Trinity was organized in the fall of 1922. This group was organized to promote Christian fellowship among the teen-agers of our congregation. October 1, 1922 they also became a charter member of the International Walther League.

The aims of this group are: to assist in keeping our young people within the church; to promote Bible study and constant growth in Christian knowledge; to assist in training every member for a life of Church service; to promote mission work at home and abroad; to foster Christian love and fellowship; to encourage the support of charitable endeavors (Wheatridge Sanatorium) and to promote loyalty to the Christian home.of League members also attend annually two district rallies of the youth of tne churches of the Yakima Valley. A current project is rebinding hymnals as an anniversary gift to the church.


“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God.” With those words in mind the Sunday School staff seeks to assist the parents in Christian training of the young. By no means can the Sunday School take the place of the parents. Much can be done at home but help can be given from the nursery class on through the adult Bible class.

As we celebrate this our fiftieth anniversary, through the grace of God, our Sunday school enrollment has grown from 91 at the time of our dedication in 1953, to the present enrollment of 152. In 1953 at the time of our dedication we had 9 regular teachers. At the present time our Sunday school has 14 regular teachers and 2 officers. Teacher’s helpers, new teachers and substitutes are always welcomed in our Sunday school.

Some of the accomplishments of the Sunday school during the past few years are as follows: a minimum of 10 percent of each month’s collections is given for missions, purchased the material for and made curtains for showing film strips; new blackboards for each classroom; many new filmstrips have been purchased and added to our ever expanding library.

Each summer, under the supervision of the Board of Christian Education, we hold a two week vacation Bible school. This program is a joint undertaking of the congregation and the Sunday school and each year seems to be even more successful than the last.

Our Sunday school will continue to grow with the faithful help of our Sunday school teachers and officers and the continued prayers and interest of the congregation.


The Ladies Aid was formed in 1909 soon after the church was organized. Of the charter members only two are still active, Mrs. Herman Burke and Mrs. Otto Lammerts. In 1947 the Ladies Aid affiliated with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and is still active in this international organization. The group officially changed its name to Trinity Lutheran Guild in 1958. Meetings are held the first Friday evening of each month. Topics, to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the work our Lord would have us do are led by the pastor. One of the most important functions of the Ladies Aid is to visit the sick and new members.

Activities of the Guild include the gathering of clothing for Lutheran World Relief; contributing to missions and the Lutheran Hour; sewing for the Good Shepherd Home of the West, in California; participating in the many activities of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League; assisting in the Vacation Bible School; care of the altar and communion ware; and handling the serving and hostess work at church functions.

For a number of years this group had a special fund which was used for the furnishing and completion of the kitchen in the new church building. This special fund was raised through free-will offerings, sale of greeting cards and individual mite boxes which were collected twice each year. The present membership totals 32.