125 for Trinity: Brewster congregation marks anniversary this weekendBREWSTER — The roots of Trinity Lutheran Church are entwined with the history of the Brewster community. The town — originally called Hersey after one of the railroad directors — was established as a railroad settlement in 1871. Among the first settlers were some German Lutherans.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
BREWSTER — The roots of Trinity Lutheran Church are entwined with the history of the Brewster community. The town — originally called Hersey after one of the railroad directors — was established as a railroad settlement in 1871. Among the first settlers were some German Lutherans.
“… among them Mr. Martin Heiser, a Lutheran and prominently identified with the congregation’s earliest efforts,” details the church’s history. “Mr. Heiser opened the second general store, also carrying a stock of hardware and farm machinery. Mr. Heiser’s store often served the scattered Lutherans as a place of worship. It is still standing in Brewster today.”
Over the next few years, Brewster’s faithful settlers were visited by missionaries of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, who also served other settlements throughout southern Minnesota, including nearby Rost and Delafield.
“However, the care and supervision of so vast a mission territory in Southwestern Minnesota became too great a task for the above mentioned pastors, who had their own parishes to serve,” the history continues. “Besides, the youths in these mission stations grew up without thorough religious instruction. For that reason, it was resolved to place a missionary at Rost, sustained by the Minnesota Mission Endeavor.”
That missionary, A. Daelschlein, a graduate of the seminary in Springfield, Ill., was the first Lutheran pastor to reside in Brewster, but his activities were cut short by an unfortunate accident. The history of the St. Paul’s congregation in Rost, which is closely related to the Trinity history, gives this account:
“While riding horseback from Fulda to Delafield for a sick visit, his horse stumbled by stepping into a coyote hole in the prairie, throwing Pastor Daelschein out of the saddle and fracturing his hip bone. He never recovered from his injury.”
During the tenure of one of Daelschein’s successors, the congregation of Trinity Lutheran was formed July 15, 1886 — making this year the 125th anniversary of its founding. In 1890, the Trinity membership joined with the church in Rost Township to form a new parish and called a pastor of their own — Robert Gaiser. He lived in Rost, serving Brewster every two weeks while also exploring the mission possibilities in Worthington and founding a congregation at Ewington.
Numbering just 10 voting members, the Trinity congregation resolved to construct a church building and solicited funds from Lutheran brethren in Carver County. Records indicate $250 was received from the community of Benton and $65 from Cleveland, with a debt of $300 remaining when the building was completed. On Aug. 13, 1893, the first Trinity Lutheran Church building was dedicated.
The comings and goings of various pastors is detailed over the next years of the church history. The congregation grew steadily, creating the need for a larger building, which was completed in 1925 at a cost of $19,000.
“On Sunday, Oct. 18, of that year, the happy congregation opened the doors of its new house of worship and amid hymns of thanksgiving and praise dedicated it to the service of the Triune God,” according to the church history. “The programs of this notable day reveal the following interesting facts: Three services were conducted. … We are informed that the ladies of the congregation were hosts to nearly a thousand people on that day.”
In conjunction with Trinity Lutheran’s 50th, 75th, 100th and now 125th celebrations, the history has been recorded and updated in booklet form. The most recent additions detail the calling of David McDonald, a 1999 graduate of Concordia Seminary, to be the church’s pastor. He was installed June 6, 1999, and continues to serve the congregation.
“As I sit here contemplating the message for our 125th anniversary, a picture keeps popping into mind,” writes McDonald in church’s history booklet. “It has been seen by every pastor for the last 86 years. From 1925 until the Narthex was added in the ’60s or ’70s, every member saw it as they entered the church. It is the stained glass window in the balcony of Jesus holding a lost lamb. That beautiful window is a constant reminder for every pastor who stands in the pulpit looking out at the congregation of what is going on in every service held in the church. Jesus is bringing His sheep to safety, whether in a pasture or in a fold.”
Today, the congregation of Trinity Lutheran is small in size but large in spirit. Its members have pulled together to organize a 125th anniversary celebration that includes a celebratory worship service, dinner and program.
“We’ll have a special service at 10 a.m., then we go to the Legion for a meal at 11:30 a.m.,” detailed Darline Gunther, one of the event planners and president of the ladies aid organization. “We have a program planned for the afternoon at the Legion. … We have so few people in church anymore — probably 35 to 40 on a Sunday — so there are not a lot to do all this work and planning, so we thought we’d keep it very simple.”
Several former pastors are expected to take part in the celebration. The Rev. Hans-Juergen Heisinger, who served the congregation from 1979 to 1988, will be the guest speaker for the service, and the Rev. Paul Haugen (1988-1993) will also take part.
Advance reservations were taken for the meal, but anyone with a connection or an interest in the church is still welcome to attend the festivities, Gunther said. For more information, contact Gunther at (507) 842-5437.