07 May 2017

Trinity Church

The German Evangelical Lutheran Dreienigkeits, or Trinity Church Society was organized on May 30, 1860, and incorporated on July 2, 1860, becoming Albany’s third Evangelical church. Trinity Church was an outgrowth of the Evangelical Protestant Church on Alexander and Clinton Streets. Thirty-two parishioners left the church with Pastor John C. J. Petersen to form Trinity Church.

The original meeting place was located on the southeast corner of Broad and Alexander Streets. In 1878 the congregation relocated when they bought a chapel from the First Presbyterian Church for $4,300, located at 58 Alexander Street. At the church’s inception, German was the only language used during services and in the parochial school. The usage of German during services ceased after 1900 because on March 2, 1899, a number of members from the parishes of Trinity and Saint Matthew’s left their own congregations to form a strictly English language Lutheran Church- Emmanuel Lutheran Church. The new church was also located in the South End on Benjamin Street.[1]

Societies enrolled in Trinity’s parish towards the end of the nineteenth century included the Jugendverein, or Young Men’s Beneficial Society of the Trinity Lutheran Church, with seventy-four members, the Frauenverein, an Unterstützungverein, and the Young Peoples’ Association. On October 19, 1892, Trinity Church Luther-Liga or Luther League was organized under the name Jugendverein, with sixty members.[2] 

Parish societies established at the beginning of the twentieth century included the Ladies Society and the Concordia Maenner-Chor, which was founded on January 20, 1890. By 1897 the singing society counted twenty-eight active and four passive members.[3] In 1955 Trinity Church merged with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Hurlbut and Garden Streets, to form St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. St. Mark’s merged with the Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Benjamin Street to form the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in 1974. The German Trinity Church has disappeared, but the church building has been owned and employed by the Mount Calvary Baptist Church since 1956.[4]

Trinity Church, 58 Alexander Street, 2002

Pastors of Trinity Church:

Johann Carl Julius Petersen, 1876-81
Conrad Kuehn, 1881-83
Herman Heinrich Friedrich Hartwig, 1883-91
Ernest Heydt, 1892-94
Johann C. Flierl, 1894-97
J. T. Koehler, 1898-99
John Samuel Braren, 1899-1901
Herman Liebich, 1902-11
Hugo Ernst David Meyer, Ph.D., 1911-13
John Frederick Karl Riebesell, 1913-15
Friedli Heinecken, 1915-19
Gustavus Adolphus Bierdemann, D. D., 1920-35
Walter Frederick Frey, 1935-42
David Christian Gaise, 1943-47
Charles Edwin Deitz, 1947-52
Walter Paul Scherr, 1953-56

[1] Henry Hardy Heins, Swan of Albany: A History of the Oldest Congregation of the Lutheran Church in America (Rensselaer: Hamilton Printing Company, 1976), p. 126.
[2] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 189.
[3] n. a., Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, p. 177.
[4] n. a. The Story of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: Its Roots and Its Fruits, 1832-1957 (Albany: n. p., 1957), p. 7. Craig Earl Bartholomew and Henry Hardy Heins, eds., The Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross Centennial, 1876-1976 (Albany: n. p., 1976), pp. 6-12.