As German emigrants began arriving in Horse Prairie in the early 1830s, they also brought with them their religious beliefs. The Lutherans here founded Trinity Church in 1842 and started giving their children a Christian education.
In the fall of 1845, the first resident pastor was called by the congregation. He was Rev. Martin Stephan, who served until his death in February 1846 and was among the first to be buried in Trinity Cemetery.
Rev. Frederic Erdmann was called and served the congregation from 1853 to 1894. It was during Pastor Erdmann’s tenure that the present church was built. The members undertook the project for this house of worship in 1867, and in May 1868, the cornerstone was laid. This 75 x 43 x 29-foot building, with a 120-foot steeple, was dedicated on Dec. 3, 1868. It was completed at the cost of $14,200.
When the church was built, the congregation wanted to emphasize the importance of preaching the Word of God, and had the pulpit as its most prominent feature. The pulpit stood in the center of the chancel at a height equal to the height of the balcony. In 1952, a major renovation took place and the original chancel area was revised. The balcony remains.
An organ, the one currently used, was purchased in 1908 for $1,800 and dedicated on Dec. 6. An inspector reported in 1992 that there was no other organ like Trinity’s in Southern Illinois.
The 175th anniversary of the founding of Trinity was celebrated in 2017. As part of the year-long celebration, the Illinois State Historical Society presented a certificate to Rev. Scott Hojnacki, Trinity pastor, and Byron Burmester, congregation president. The certificate officially recognizes the religious, cultural, civic and moral heritage of Trinity Church as an Illinois Sesquicentennial Church.
In December 2018, the 150th anniversary of the church building was observed. The congregation has been blessed to have such a magnificent house of worship. During these years, people have come to Trinity Lutheran Church to sing, praise, pray and receive unending joy and peace within its walls. May the hearts and minds of future generations be filled with the same dedication as those of the past.
Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 10235 S. Prairie Road in Red Bud.