Our Story


It was 1861 that the first organized work of our church in Kansas was started by Missionary F.W. Lange who was sent to Kansas and held his first service on Aug. 17, 1861, in the C.F. Wetzel cabin on Clark's Creek about seven miles southeast of Junction City. From that humble beginning the work spread to many parts of the state, but it was a long time before our church established work in the city of Salina.
This cabin was moved and restored by the Kansas District Lutheran Laymen's League, dedicated as a memorial June 5, 1955, and is now maintained by the Kansas Lutheran Historical Society, Inc. It stands at the junction of K-57 and I-70.

Saline County

The County of Saline was officially established on April 27, 1860. In March 1858 the town of Salina was founded, and on March 30, 1859, the Town Company was granted a charter by the Sixth Territorial Legislature of Kansas.

Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Mission

The very first contacts were possibly made in the year 1923 or 1924 when the Rev. F.W. Grunwald held services in Salina. Pastor Grunwald served at Immanuel Ellsworth from 1919 to 1925. It was also reported that he conducted a few services in the Kansas Wesleyan Commercial Building.
The first organizational attempt to establish church work in Salina took place in the fall of 1924. On leaving Post Graduate Department of Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., Arthur E. Neitzel was called by the Mission Board of the Kansas District to do exploratory work in Salina and vicinity.

A classroom in the third story of the Kansas Wesleyan Commercial College was used. This mission was called "Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Mission" and is a direct forerunner of the Trinity Lutheran congregation of today. In the archives of the Salina Journal, the first notice of services was found in the Oct. 18, 1924, issue of the paper and other notices appeared after that. Pastor Neitzel also surveyed Abilene and preached there once or twice. After six months of work, there seemed to be reasonable prospects but a sudden need at My Calvary Mission in Marysville, Kan., caused the Mission Board to send Pastor Neitzel to Marysville. Pastor and Mrs. Neitzel left Salina on Feb. 14, 1925, and ended the brief history of Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Salina.

The Founding
Years helping the Salina Mission 1931-1933

The Rev. William J. Stelling came to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Ellsworth in 1929 and served there until 1948. From time to time he was in touch with people in Salina, and on a Sunday evening in January 1931, began holding services in the northwest part of the city. Services were held in a simple little hall, which at the time was owned by the United Brethren in Christ Church. It was located at what is now 121 N. Chicago just off State Street.


First Permanent Resident Pastor

Walter G. Schmidt, a June graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, was called to the Salina Mission Station in 1931 by the Mission Board of the Kansas District. He was ordained by his father, the Rev. H. Schmidt, at Immanuel Church of Canton on Aug. 23, 1931. On Aug. 30 he was installed at Salina by Rev. Wm. Stelling, with his father and Rev. Henry Kroening (Circuit Visitor) assisting.

The Building of a New Church

In the summer of 1932 the Mission Board of the Kansas District purchased two lots on the corner of West Crawford and South 11th Street. Mr. George Schaefer, Atchison, was the contractor and the men of the church frequently pitched in with volunteer labor to help build the first church. The white frame chapel with basement was dedicated April 23, 1933, with the Rev. Wm. Stelling delivering the morning sermon.

The Salina Mission was organized as a regular congregation and took the name "Trinity" on Oct. 31, 1934. At that time it numbered 31 communicants and 68 baptized souls.
In the fall of 1940 Pastor Schmidt, with the support of several laymen, inaugurated "The Family Altar," a 15-minute program with music and message which was broadcast on KSAL one evening a week. It was well received for a number of years.

In 1943, beginning on Easter, April 25, Trinity started holding two morning services. On July 12, 1943, the congregation voted to join Synod and was accepted at the District Convention in Winfield that fall.

The Building Years 1945-1955

In the Jan. 9, 1944 voters meeting, also the Tenth Anniversary year, it was voted to become self-supporting. In the same meeting, the Trustees were instructed to get information on a new building site. In 1945, two lots south of Crawford on the east side of 10th Street, plus a third lot, were purchased.
The service for laying the cornerstone of the new building was Sunday, Oct. 31, 1948.

The New Church Is Dedicated

Dedication Day June 12, 1949.

Improvements were made at the old church, which became the Parish Hall.

Acquisition of Educational Building (Trinity Hall)

On Dec. 12, 1958, the congregation voted to accept the proposal to negotiate the purchase of the M.J. Watkins property (six lots, store building and parking lot) just east of the corner of Ninth and Crawford. The property was purchased and remodeled to provide 18 classrooms, two offices, auditorium, kitchen and storage area. Trinity Hall was dedicated in 1962.
As of the 25th anniversary on June 14, 1959, the membership at Trinity numbered 510 communicants and 840 baptized souls.
The Rev. Stanley Jones accepted a call to establish a congregation in South Salina in 1962. Christ the King Lutheran Church was organized and held their first service Jan. 6, 1963.

Renovation of Trinity Hall

In 1982, Trinity approved a renovation plan for Trinity which added additional classrooms, a nursery, and two offices.

50th Anniversary 1934-1984

On Feb. 23, 1993, Trinity members approved a renovation and expansion program that would make the two buildings one by connecting them with an expanded narthex that would serve as the main entrance.
As of May 4, 1993, Trinity had 907 communicants and 1,196 baptized souls.

Building Renovation Project

Ground-breaking ceremony was Sept. 21, 1997. Work on the building started and progressed rapidly. After worship services on June 15, 1998, all the church pews were moved to Trinity Hall so they could start renovating the sanctuary. For 3¬Ĺ months church services were conducted in Trinity Hall. The sanctuary renovation work was finished and the pews moved back after worship services on Oct. 4.

The First Pastors Who Served at Trinity

 Pastor William J. Stelling


 Salina Mission    


 Rev. Walter G. Schmidt  1931-1948

 First Permanent Resident Pastor




Rev. Vernon Henning    

March 1943- March 1944

 Called by Synod's National Emergency Planning Council to be a "Wartime Missions and Conservation"


Rev. Victor G. Meyer 




Rev. H. William Lieske 





 Rev. Martin L. Mappes




During these years Trinity applied for its first vicar


Alvin Schmidt



Clark Wilkie  




John Hargreaves   



Paul Graff 



Walter Brill 




John Werner

Would have served 1966-1967 

After a stay of only 3 months he entered the Army  

Pastors and Staff from 1968 to Present

Harlan F. Teske  


 Trinity's first DCE


 Rev. Norman E. Walter




 Gary L. Bertels


 Trinity's second DCE



 Rich Soeken


 Trinity's third DCE




Rev. Daniel M. Schmalz





 Marvin Moss


 Trinity's fourth DCE



 Rev. Wendell L. Haubein


 Served first as Associate Pastor; then Senior Pastor





Rev. Michael W. Barnes


Served as the second Associate Pastor 




Rev. Robert C. Schaedel 





Rev. Charles Adams 


Served as the third Associate Pastor 



Dana Oleson 


Trinity's fifth DCE  



Deaconess Doreen Scheuerman 


Trinity's sixth DCE 








 Melanie Vaughn 


Trinity's seventh DCE 



Rev. Joe Hughes


Intentional Interim Pastor 





Rev. Shawn Deterding 






Rev. Dennis Kootz  


Serving as Trinity's fourth Associate Pastor







Rev. Mark Boxman