History By The Years

Attempts will be made to update this file over time!

"For settlers in Olympia the early 1900's, worship of God was a part of life, and friends and neighbors of common German background and Lutheran faith gathered in service to the Lord. For the earliest residents, the nearest Lutheran church was in Tacoma. Going to worship was a day-long journey for the Rixe family: by buggy to the end of the streetcar line in Tumwater, by streetcar to the boat dock in Olympia, by steamboat to Tacoma, then by cable-car up the hill from the Tacoma dock to the church."
Unknown Author


On July 21, 1907, twenty-three people gathered in the home of August and Anna Rixe for the first service held in Olympia by a pastor of the Lutheran Synodical Conference; Rev. Julius Huchthausen from Tacoma.


For about eight months the group of Lutherans met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. August Rixe, at the old Rabeck Hall, or at the Carl Klueber residence. Pastor Huchthausen served this group every two weeks with an evening service. The congregation was asked to stay after service on March 29, 1908, for what was to be a momentous meeting. The minutes, written in German, tell of the group's decision to formally organize an orthodox Lutheran congregation and to build a suitable place for worship. The constitution was signed by the following charter members: August Rixe, Fred Rixe, Herman Hassler, Andrew Jacobsen, Peter Carstensen, and Daniel Ginder. At this time the congregation numbered 29 souls, 15 communicants, and six voting members. The church building was to be 20 x 30 feet in dimension. The corner lot on 21st and Franklin was donated by the Rixe’s. Building operations on the first church building were begun. Mr. Peter Carstensen was the principal carpenter, and other members provided volunteer labor. On July 12, 1908, the congregation rejoiced at the dedication services of its first church, which faced 21st Ave. The total cost amounted to about $550.00, ($17,985 in 2023 dollars)including a loan of $135.00 from Synod. Now that the Olympia flock had a house of worship, the first shepherd was needed. Rev. H. Atrops answered the call and was ordained and installed on August 30, 1908.


The Rev August Fricken was installed in August. At that time the first parsonage was completed. It cost: $778 (equals $23,090.81 in 2023 dollars.)


Installation of Rev Louis Brandes


The congregation was incorporated as the Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation of Olympia, Washington


The congregation became a member of the Missouri Synod.


Trinity had grown to a membership of 54. A new seminary graduate, Rev. Clarence M. Amling arrived to begin his ministry, which would last 14 years.


Trinity was instrumental in starting Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Shelton, WA


The old church building was temporarily moved to a lot east of the church property, and services were held there until the new the new 30' by 60' building was finished. It cost $7200 ($123,522 in 2023 dollars). The new church building was dedicated August 19th, boasting a full basement and a seating capacity of 170.


The depression of the 30's hit Olympia late, but was felt by Trinity families nevertheless. Bartering and neighbor helping neighbor became the order of the day. Monthly collections were taken at church to help hard-hit families. In spite of the 30's looming financial troubles, Trinity's goal was to no longer need the subsidy from the District mission. On January 14, 1930, the congregation resolved to ask no further aid from District.


Our 25th anniversary was March 29, 1933. We had 155 souls and were financially independent.


Rev. William Hilmer was installed as our 5th Pastor. He led as as we became a "mature congregation" with seven years of organizational growth.


The first Vacation Bible School was held


In 1943, Pastor Hillmer accepted a call to become Executive Secretary of the Northwest District of Missouri Synod and moved to Portland. Rev. Ernest R. Drews became the next Pastor for our congregation that had grown to 288.


By our 40th anniversary, it was necessary to begin holding two Sunday services.


Rev. Roland A. Frantz arrived at Trinity in early in the year, and soon thereafter a building fund program began, followed by an intensive canvass of members. The decision was made to enlarge the existing church, add a parish hall, and purchase another parsonage. With a membership now of 540, the space was sorely needed, especially with a Sunday school enrollment of over 250. The 1950's were active ones for the church family and its organizations: a thriving Sunday School; Lutheran Women's Missionary League; the Lutheran Laymen's League; the Walther League; Mother's Circle, which grew to such an extent the group had to be divided into two sections; the Altar Guild; and other boards and committees.


A second parsonage was purchased. The first parsonage takes over as classrooms for the growing number of children in the congregation.


On September 19, in a special afternoon service the ground-breaking ceremonies were held for a new Trinity Church, the third church building in our 50 years of existence. The building would seat 325 people.


The first parsonage was torn down to allow for the church building to be enlarged and a parish hall added. The new church was dedicated to the Glory of God on July 10,. The cost of the building, not counting many thousands of dollars represented by volunteer labor was, $110,000 (which would be $1,222,759 in 2023 dollars.) The following Sunday, the new pipe organ was dedicated at a concert of sacred music. The cost of the newly installed pipe organ was $7200 ($80,035 in 2023 dollars.)


We celebrated our 50th anniversary by looking back on the blessing of growth from 29 souls to 610.


In 1960, Pastor Frantz left Trinity and was replaced by Rev. Norman W. Ott, who served for six years.


We entered a new world of the space age and re-evaluation of social values with a dedication to mission work. Olympia's eastward growth and the increasing membership numbers led the church to thoughts of a mission close to home. Trinity sponsorship a church in Lacey result in the organization of Faith Lutheran Church in 1963.


Pastor Ott moved on and Rev. Leroy W. Kellerman was installed as our Pastor. Amid Trinity's joy in its daughter congregation in Lacey was a feeling of loss. The numbers suddenly reduced, as a large portion of the younger members transferred to Faith in Lacey. Pastor Kellerman brought us through and continued our growth.


In 1972, Rev. Wallace Misterek arrived to replace Pastor Kellerman. Coming to the congregational ministry from several years in campus ministry, he brought a fresh enthusiasm. Refurbishing the church, both in staff and facilities, and gave us a new direction and energy.


A Vicarage program was begun, with three young men eventually serving us in turn during the rest of the decade Ted Moeller, Charles Werth, and Alan Loose


Trinity's 70th anniversary, September 10, 1978 was celebrated by completely renovating the interior of the church. Remodeling included, new carpet, furniture, a free standing altar and a new narthex design made the area more open.


As the decade of the 80's began, the church's service to God became more directed toward Christian education. A call went to Mark Griesse to serve as a called Director of Christian Education. Mark began his work in the fall. Our education program broadened, both in theological study and evangelism training. A first communion program was begun for baptized 6th and 7th graders. Our social ministry's program was reactivated. Membership was 745. Two other DCE’s have served us over the years; Phil Diekhoff, and Ron duPree.


Pastor Misterek was elected Vice President of the Northwest District of the LCMS, and in 1984, he left Trinity to serve Peace Lutheran in Yakima.


Rev. Theodore Kriefall accepted Trinity's call to be its pastor. He provided leadership for the installation of a new elevator to assist those with limited mobility. He has served until the year 2000, when he will retired from full-time parish ministry.


Rev. Michael Wenzel began his ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church, Olympia Wa.


The 100th Anniversary Committee held their first meeting on January 10. Under the theme of: Theme: 100 years of the "Commission Mission" there was a “General consensus was that the celebration would stretch over a period of several months culminating in a large celebration to include dinner and presentations.


Trinity Lutheran Church of Olympia, Washington celebrated its 100th anniversary (1908-2008) on August 30-31. A dinner was held on that Saturday and two worship services a Morning Worship Service at 10 AM and an Afternoon Celebration Service to at 3:00 PM. (I was in attendance at the afternoon service.)
"There is even more to the history of Trinity---- it is being written daily in the joys and sorrows of our Trinity Family. We can look backwards and see the constant presence and guidance of God in our 100 years as a church. We can also look forward to continued service to HIM and love for each other...a legacy for generations to come. In closing I would like to say: To God be the Glory"
LeeAnn Thomas Stewardship Chairman August 3, 2008

Trinity Lutheran Church has been served by (the one organizing and) twelve resident pastors:
Organizing: Julius Huchhausen 1907-1908
1. H Atrops 1908-1911
2. August Ficken 1912-1915
3. Louis Brandes 1916-1922
4. Norman Ott 1961-1967
5. Clarence M. Amling 1923-1936
6. LeRoy Kellerman 1967-1972
7. William Hillmer 1936-1943
8. E.R. Drews 1943-1950
9. R.A. Frantz 1951-1960
10. Wallace Misterek 1972-1985
11. Theo. Kriefall 1986-2000
12. Michael Wenzel 2002-present

Trinity has been served by a number of Vicars and Directors of Christian Education.
Vicars were:
Ted Moeller
Charles Werth
Alan Loose

DCE's were:
Mark Gresse
Phil Diekhoff
Ron duPree

"Trinity was also considered the "mother church" for congregations in Shelton, Chehalis-Winlock, Aberdeen, and South Tacoma. Trinity's 70th anniversary in 1978 was celebrated by completely renovating the interior of the church. Fifteen colorful faceted glass windows symbolizing the sacraments and passion were installed in the sanctuary and have become a point of beloved pride to parishioners."
(unknown author)