History of Trinity

Trinity began as a Sunday School mission in 1890 at what was then the outskirts of town. In March of 1891, 68 members petitioned their parent church, First Lutheran in Chambersburg, for a charter to be called Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church and their petition was granted.

Trinity has had 5 different buildings as it’s place of worship and study in its life as a congregation, from a wooden chapel to the octagonal chapel which is on many historic maps of Chambersburg.  And then our current Sanctuary was built in 1929, a Sunday School building was added in 1951 and in 1961 the octagonal chapel was torn down and the educational building added.

Today Trinity is known for many blessed ministries. The variety of worship is a strength with traditional and choral music as part of weekly worship and contemporary music is part of the Sunday morning worship offering.

Education continues to be a strength with a unique Confirmation Program using mentors, retreats, and service. Opportunities for education and study are offered throughout the week. And mission trips and local service can be found regularly during the year including projects with Youthworks, summer Work Camps, the Chambersburg Project, and Hope in Haiti.

Some of Trinity’s community ministries include being a Kathryn’s Kloset distributor, the annual Blessing of the Animals, being a partner congregation of LARC (Lutheran Anglicans and Roman Catholics).

In 2010, Trinity established 4 broad goals during a period of spiritual discernment to direct its future ministry:

  1. Intentionally move to function like a “program size” congregation
  2. Focus on quality adult study, small group ministries, and prayer
  3. Reach out to children in the city
  4. Improve building and grounds


Mission Statement: 

“Seed – Planting and Growing in our Faith
Sow – Sharing the word of God with our community
Steward – Entrusting God to our care
Service – Showing the love of God with our community”

Trinity has been served by good clergy:

  • the Rev’d Herbert C. Alleman (tenure: 1891-1897)
  • the Rev’d John H. Harms (tenure: 1897-1900; Pastor Harms later became a professor at Gettysburg Seminary)
  • the Rev’d Clifton G. White (tenure: 1900-1909)
    • the parsonage on Commerce St was constructed in his tenure
    • church hymnals were purchased
  • the Rev’d F. L. Bergstresser (tenure: 1909-1913)
    • a pipe organ was installed in the Chapel
    • offering envelope giving was initiated
  • the Rev’d William A. Kump (tenure: 1913-1927)
    • the congregation’s debt was extinguished and modern bookkeeping methods were initiated
    • 1918 congregational goal “the bringing of souls into saving Grace with Christ”
    • 22 men served in the military service during World War I
    • Pastor Kump’s daughter Mary later married the Rev’d Dr. Donald Heiges, who served as Gettysburg Seminary President (1966-1976)
  • The Rev’d Dr. Clarence Arthur Neal (tenure: 1927-1965)
    • The building in its current configuration was started and completed during Pastor Neal’s tenure
    • The Chapel was named in his honor
    • Assistant or Associate clergy who served during this time
      • The Rev’d William W. Miller (1949-1952)
      • The Rev’d Earl G. Creps Jr (1954-1956)
      • The Rev’d Alfred M. Strang (1958-1960)
      • The Rev’d Cleon T. Prowell (1961-1963)
      • The Rev’d Frederick B. Zikeli (1963-1965)
  • The Rev’d John F. Lenhardt (tenure: 1965-1970)
    • 75th anniversary of the congregation was celebrated
    • He is remembered for his emphasis on training and equipping the laity
      • The Rev’d Gordon Bankert was Associate Pastor (1966-1970). And Sandy Peichert Snyder was employed as Trinity’s first Director of Christian Education
  • The Rev’d Paul Luebbe (tenure: 1971-1975)
    • A church library was begun
    • A refurbished Moller pipe organ was installed
    • Seminarian Rod Ronneberg (1973-74) and Seminarian Jane Shield (1974-75) served as interns
  • The Rev’d Richard Englund (tenure: 1976-1993)
    • Communion frequency was increased from four times a year to every other week
    • The Lutheran Book of Worship was introduced
    • New stained glass windows were generously given by members, in 1985 the upper nave windows were dedicated
    • A brass bell was installed in the belfry
    • The congregation refurbished the main sanctuary and celebrated its 100th anniversary
  • The Rev’d Neal Otto Hively (tenure: 1994-2016)
    • 5 PM weekly worship was initiated in 1995
    • “With One Voice” and “Evangelical Lutheran Worship” hymnody and liturgy was added
    • Trinity continued facility expansion with homes purchased and demolished
    • Created “Coming Closer to Christ: The Spiritual Toolbox” to help members with their spiritual foundation
    • Associate Pastors serving at this time:
      • The Rev’d Ruth Smith (tenure: 2000-2003)
        • Led the start-up of Wednesday noon worship
        • Gave strong leadership to adding a contemporary style worship service
      • The Rev’d Tara L. Magoon (tenure: 2005-2015)
        • Gave leadership in the current contemporary worship structure to follow Lutheran liturgical structure
        • Began PEWS (Pretty Exciting Women’s Stuff) an off-campus ministry of the congregation
        • Was a strong leader in starting and nurturing Keeping in Touch, Trinity’s ministry to their shut-in members
  • Director of Christian Education Sharon McCall hired in 2003-2017