Trinity Lutheran Church is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA “confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe” (https://www.elca.org/Faith/ELCA-Teaching). For more information on the ELCA, visit https://www.elca.org/.
History of Trinity Lutheran Church
In the early 1940s, Fort Atkinson had a population of about 6,000 people. The pastor of St. mark’s Lutheran Church in Jefferson, the Rev. Carl Schneider, suggested to the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) that the growing city south of Jefferson would be a good location to start a Lutheran congregation.
The Northwest Synod of the ULCA, based in Minneapolis, commissioned the synodical missionary, the Rev. Dwight Shelhart, to conduct a survey on behalf of the Home Mission Board. Although the city was already home to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which was part of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States (later to become the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), there was no ULCA congregation in the area.
Rev. Shelhart conducted a house-to-house survey in August of 1942, visiting more than 1,700 homes. He discovered that approximately 33 percent of the people living in the Fort Atkinson area at the time did not belong to any church. The decision was made to organize another Lutheran church in Fort Atkinson.
Trinity’s first worship service was held on Oct. 4, 1943 in the International Order of Odd Fellows Hall at the corner of Main Street and Sherman Avenue, with 115 people attending. One week later, 42 children attended the first Sunday School session.