We started as 2 societies that were united in 1864 under the name of the Reform-Lutheran Church; and in February 1865, a meeting house was erected and dedicated in accordance to the giver of the land, John Spencer. In 1866, however, the Evangelical Lutheran Church members separated from the Reform Society and were without a house of worship for several years. It was not until February 1, 1873 that they decided they, too, should have their own meeting house. The first Board of Trustees (Charles Bartels, C.F. Bartels, and F.C. Bartels) and Rev. Boese applied for a lot of land, also set aside by John Spencer for church purposes, and were accepted. The building was dedicated on August 24, 1873. Our address, at that time, was located at 311 W. 12th Street in Auburn, Indiana.
Under Rev. C.B. Preuss, our congregational numbers stood at ony 50 persons, of which only 23 were voting members! It wasn't until August 30, 1885, during the pastorate of Rev. Preuss, that the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, UAC was duly organized; and in 1886, we joined the Missouri-Synod. In 1893, Rev. Keller taught a Day School in the church building with about 9 pupils; all the services were in held in the German language with the exception of of a few English services on Sunday evenings. By May 1898, our membership had grown to approximately 100 persons.
A census of the congregation at the close of 1916 showed 86 members, of which 42 were male and 44 were female. Of these 86, there were 25 under the age of 13 years. Both the English and German languages were preached at this time. The census also showed a Sunday School for the children with 17 attendees. In 1920, the German services were abolished once and for all as the chuch awaited the arrival of their new pastor, Rev. Theo. L. Luft of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Adult Sunday classes, or Bible Study, did not begin until 1921. Our first mixed choir was organized in 1927.
With $500, the Building Fund started in July 1929 by Mrs. Rica Bartels. In July 1930, a congregational meeting was called and it was decided to remodel and enlarge the present church building, which was then 57-years old. By 1952, the need for more room became apparent, and in 1958, ground breaking ceremonies were held for our new church building. The "contemporary" A-frame structure was dedication on May 17, 1959. In 1969, the mortgage was burned as a sign that the debt was paid.
On May 2, 1976 our new organ was dedicated, and later that year, we welcomed our first Seminarians. In 1977, our new bell tower was dedicated and in 1982, we began adjusting to the "new" hymnals, and 2 years later, we began the tradition of giving new Bibles to all our third grade students, which we still do to this day!
Our church building was rededicated to the glory of Our Lord in May of 1984. The Junior Choir was established in November of 1988, and their first performance was a Christmas cantata. With 30 voices, they praised God for the gift of His Son.
We have seen many changes since then (i.e., a new computer system, the remodeling of the fellowship hall, and etc.) and with God's continued Grace, we hope to grow and work through Him for a very long time yet. Many thanks to Mabel F. Bartels and Rev. Lloyd Bickel for the compilation of Trinity Lutheran Church's history!