"Lutheranism" came to Clinton County in 1873. Trinity Hoffman was the first church of the "evangelical catholic tradition" in this county. The 15 founding fathers of the first Lutheran congregation in Clinton County are listed in Members 1873.

These 15 families took steps to organize a congregation and to build a church. Five acres of land for a church and cemetery were acquired from Hermann HUSSMANN. The deed for this land is dated 2 Aug 1873. The church was begun on 19 Jan 1874, in the Epiphany Season. On 14 Jun 1874, in the Trinity (Pentecost) Season, the Church was dedicated. Pastor O. KATTHAIN (Trinity-Hoyleton) and Pastor M. EIRICH (St. John – New Minden) were the festival proclaimers. The community of Hoffman was then called Osnabruck. "Deutsche Evangelische Lutheranische Gemeinde – U. A. C." was a reality.

The first meeting of the congregation, of which minutes have been kept and preserved, was held on August 14, 1874. Chairman was August SEBENING, Secretary was Carl VOGT, Elders & Trustees were Hermann HUSSMANN, Ernst DEFEND and Niels HANSON. In that meeting, it was also decided to build a parsonage. A formal constitution was adopted on 14 Jan 1875. The congregation also became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States (now called Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

The congregation also started a School immediately after the first Pastor arrived. His annual salary was $250. The School was taught by the Pastor and was held in the Church. A tuition charge for non-Lutherans was $.50 a month. The English language was introduced and a 5 day-a-week schedule was followed by Pastor Karl MEYER in 1884 when the first teacher, Mr. VOLKMANN, was hired to teach School for $100 for the school year. It was not until 1889 that a "lady teacher" was asked to teach school - and that was because "she knew English".

The growth of the congregation made it mandatory to build a larger church. The old church was then used for the School. In January 1892, a Church Building Committee was elected. That Committee was Bernhardt MICHAEL, Henry WOKER and Pastor BROCKMANN. On 10 Jul 1892, the resolution was passed: "Build a new church". The Building Committee was expanded to include Christ ROHLFING, W. RUETER, Niels HANSON, K. GOESLING, Fred HOHMANN, William HUSSMAN, H. BLUMENKAMP, L. MICHAEL, and H. EIKHOFF. Two acres of land on the east side of the road were donated by Louis HUSSMANN for that purpose. The deed is dated 27 Sep 1892. Cost of the Church was $4,600. The cornerstone held these items: A Bible, a small Catechism, "Der Lutheraner", a hymnbook, a list of the names of the members, a history of the congregation, a list of the school children, some money minted that year, and a commemorative medal. A bell was purchased from a foundry in St. Louis at a cost $279 including freight. The new church was dedicated on Exaudi Sunday on 14 May 1893.

In Jan 1900, the congregation decided to build a teacherage. Up to that time, the teacher had lived with the Pastor. The Building Committee was Fred HOHMANN, Henry WOKER, Henry BURMEISTER, Henry RIECHMANN, Fred EIKHOFF, and Karl GOESLING, the cost was $900.

In the Spring of 1905, members who lived in the northern part of the parish requested permission to organize a congregation at Ferrin. Fifteen families served as the nucleus for that congregation. Thus Bethlehem congregation at Ferrin was born. In 1907, the Southern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church was born.

In July 1918, the congregation resolved to begin English services "occasionally". It was not until 1931, however, that regular monthly English services were held in the morning. They observed their 25th anniversary of the church building by purchasing a new pipe organ for $1,400. They had 517 people, 350 communicants, 125 voting members. By 1922, the congregation numbered 535 of which 150 were voting members.

By the end of 1973, membership was 710, communicants was 530, children in school was 65.

For the first 100 years that the church was organized, there were 1380 baptisms, 1222 confirmations, 364 marriages and 534 funerals.

Source: Trinity Lutheran Church, Hoffman Illinois 1874 - 1974, Booklet.

Last modified: 07 October 2011