This is TLC >

Our History

For nearly 125 years, Trinity has lived out its values of Worship, Serve, Proclaim! While events are sorted into these categories in the brief history below, they could easily be reconfigured in other ways as well.


Lutherans who brought Bibles, hymnals and great faith to the Dakotas worshipped first in their own homes, then small flocks, and eventually in the congregation we now call Trinity Lutheran Church.

A congregation of 150 members, with the help of the Rev. Carl K. Solberg, organized and founded the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church on Sept. 24, 1901. With that accomplished, they didn’t waste time. Within nine months they had laid a cornerstone, then dedicated a new building at 6th and Capitol on July 27, 1902, with a service in Danish and English. Sometime in the first 20 years the church was re-dedicated as Trinity Lutheran Church.

Fifty years later, we built a new sanctuary (now Heritage Hall) at our current location, 403 Broadway. The church had what was then considered a modern design and balanced it in the 1970s with a more traditional design in the stained-glass windows. A booklet explaining the windows has recently been updated. Through additions over the years, we added education and office spaces, enclosing a large courtyard. The central fellowship rooms took over part of the courtyard, and the water spigot is still visible in the Growth Room.

As the century began anew, Trinity began looking at its building options and formed the Moving Our Church Forward committee in 2008. Landlocked to the south by Burger King, the congregation purchased several small rental properties on the block in 2009. A steak dinner and auction in 2010 kicked off a string of annual fundraisers, including a hog roast and sales of T-shirts saying, “What Would Jesus BBQ?” A new sanctuary at the south end of the building was completed and dedicated in 2013.


Early groups served Smorgasbord, and in 1977 and into the 2000’s Trinity held an annual soup kitchen. Koinonia, a special monthly service for shut-ins and ERTH (Ecumenical Religious Training for the Handicapped) services serve other members of the community.

Lefse-making became a reliable fundraiser with a dedicated crew to make the Norwegian treat, and Oktoberfest potlucks were enjoyed in the 2000’s, especially on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. At times, Trinity has offered fellowship suppers before the Wednesday night classes. More recently, Tailgate potlucks are feeding Saturday night worshippers summer Saturday nights.

Parish Nursing began in 1999 with volunteer nurses promoting wellness of body, mind and spirit. This ministry has grown to include Visitation Volunteers, which keeps in touch with shut-ins and others with health concerns. In June 2016, members began training as BeFrienders which continues many of those important contacts in the 2020s. The Evangelism Committee have followed through with new members, helping them connect with people and roles in the congregation.

Trinity’s children celebrate their faith journeys through Milestone Ministries. Faith chests, prayer pillows, story Bibles are tangible gifts that mark points of growth in their lives.


Music has long been a staple at Trinity: organ, piano and pipe organ; vocal and bell choirs for all ages. One musician has been active for more than 50 years: Marilyn Nyberg. When she moved to Yankton in October 1966, Delilah Peterson, Trinity’s organist at the time, was “very happy to turn the job over to me!” Marilyn reported. Since then, she has shared the bench at times with other organists, and yet Marilyn plays on. Bach’s lunch, an Advent soup lunch and mini-concert series, began in December 1984 under the Marilyn’s direction. When the new sanctuary was completed in 2013, the “Organ Transplant” fundraisers moved the pipes to their new home.

Saturday evening services began in the summer of 1993. Margaret Barkley provided contemporary piano music for several years, succeeded by Dave Kulm until September 2008, when Mike and Lilah Gillis took the reins.

Trinity also hosted a community choir to perform the Sunday of Riverboat Days weekend in the early 2000’s. That same summer saw a “Rock the Church” worship service followed by cookout at Riverside Park. The tradition continues today as Worship in the Park, often combined with Rally Sunday to kick off the Sunday School year.

Since 1901, Trinity’s building(s) have given us space for our Sunday WORSHIP. Our outreach and fellowship are opportunities to SERVE, and we often PROCLAIM God’s love and work in our lives through music. Of course, music is part of worship, and the building gives us a base from which to serve, and our daily lives at their best proclaim the Gospel to those around us. Trinity members continue into their second century to Worship, Serve, Proclaim!