SCENIC HILLS LUTHERAN PARISH
Trinity Lutheran Church
Trinity Lutheran Church is located southeast of the town of Elizabeth, Illinois on Derinda Road, and is commonly referred to simply as “Derinda”. But in 1857 when some of the early pastors travelled from Wartburg Seminary to conduct services here the area was generally referred to as “Rush Creek”.
The congregation was formally organized in 1860 by Professor Sigmund Fritschel D.D. with the first church building in use by 1872. Our 1960 Centennial book states “The actual history is not so important as is the evidence of God’s blessings in the establishment and preservation of our congregation through the years.” There has always been a strong family connection to Trinity. Many of our current members can trace their ancestors—most hard-working German farmers—throughout our history. We are thankful that we have also celebrated our 150th anniversary with the theme “Lift High the Cross”, and that today our church continues to reach out in our community to share the good news of God’s amazing grace!
The development of the three churches—Trinity Lutheran in Derinda, St. Paul in Hanover, and St. John in Massbach—has been closely aligned throughout their histories, often sharing the same minister and working cooperatively to support our communities. Over a dozen different pastors have ministered at Trinity over its 154 years—each bringing his or her own strengths and abilities to develop the church.
In 1892 the pastor, who served both St. John Lutheran at Massbach and Trinity at Derinda, also organized the first Sunday School. Our children have always been a treasured part of our church and we continue today to focus on Sunday School and Vacation Bible School each summer.
Our pastor in 1911 was the first to hold Sunday school and confirmation classes in the English language. And by 1917 another new pastor was leading worship services in English as well. The Ladies Aid was organized in the early 1920’s with the help and encouragement of that pastor.
A new church structure was built at the urging of the pastor in 1925. This is still in use today (though with many changes during the following 89 years). The longest term of service of any single pastor was the 42 years that Pastor Henry Grishkowsky led this church with love and devotion—from May of 1955 until November of 1997.
Since 1997 we have continued to support our rural community with the help of many ministers called to serve here. Within the last 10 years we embarked on a major effort to make our church building handicap accessible for our members and all visitors. Our current pastor—Rev. C. David Vidler—has encouraged this congregation to continue reaching out to our community and we have many opportunities to do that – (please check out the Ministry section of this website).
In recent years we have also been blessed to work with students from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque as they spend a year of internship—growing in confidence as they learn from our pastor to deal with all the responsibilities of their future life in ministry. We have learned much from them as well!
Baptisms, weddings, and funerals all draw us to the church. We find in our church family support and encouragement through all of life’s experiences—whether joyful or sorrowful. Christ blesses our life as we Lift High the Cross.
From the Centennial Celebration, 1960
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