2022 has brought a slew of milestones for Trinity Lutheran Church in Pasadena and an atmosphere of celebration for the congregation and community. This year marks the 40-year anniversary of both worshipping at the congregation’s current Pasadena location, and the establishment of Trinity Place Retirement Village. It’s also 30 years since the church was rebuilt after a fire razed the original building. As if these milestones weren’t enough, the congregation, which has a strong cross-cultural element, is also marking ten years since they began joint worship services with the local Indonesian community.
“We have so much to be grateful for and to celebrate,” says congregation member Anthea Habel.
The congregation has been reflecting on the past four decades and remembers its ‘rising from the ashes’ after fire destroyed the church building 30 years ago. It was in March 1991 that Pastor Trevor Reu was woken at 2.30am by an urgent phone call from the police. The church building on Grandview Drive was ablaze, an arson attack later found to be the cause. The building was gutted and the damage valued at $2 million. When interviewed by the local media Pastor Trevor’s words proved prophetic – ‘It is only a building, the church goes on. I see this as only a little set back.’
A temporary facility was constructed on the tennis courts adjacent to the church site, giving the congregation a space to continue worship while cleanup and then rebuilding began. Just under a year later, in March 1992, the new worship center was rededicated and continues to serve the congregation well to this day.
In the last decade a new element has been introduced as worshippers with an Indonesian background joined the congregation. Originally meeting at another church in the area, the Indonesian group couldn’t find a pastor. The Trinity congregation and Pastor Detlev Vosgerau welcomed them with open arms, quickly establishing firm friendships and connections. While some churches with a cross-cultural mix hold independent services based on language, Trinity tries to maximise opportunities for the congregation members to unite wherever possible.
“It has been a wonderful chance for us to see how other cultures worship,” says Anthea. “We’ve been able to spend days together after church, learn from one another and make good friends. We’ve watched children grow together and be baptized and confirmed in our church, we’ve had gala dinners with singing and dancing, and of course our Christmas services together.”
Trinity has provided a steady presence in the life of many Indonesian students who have relocated to Adelaide for the duration of their studies. The church has been a spiritual and practical support for those far from home, and students have often played a role in nominating a project in Indonesia for the congregation to support through offerings. Celebrating life’s joyful milestones with the visiting students has also been a highlight for the congregation.
“One of our Indonesian students was married at Trinity and the bride and their family and friends came over from Indonesia for the wedding, in the middle of winter,” says Anthea.
“The service was conducted in Bahasa by an Indonesian pastor with Pastor Mike Pietsch officiating.”
Even after the students return home to Indonesia the connections often continue.
“We like to think they have a church home, even after going home,” says Anthea.
While the milestones for Trinity will continue to accrue, the congregation knows that God is with them wherever they gather in his name – a sentiment voiced in the bible verse etched on the church’s foundation stone, Matthew 12:6: “In this place is one greater than the temple.”
Photo: The Trinity congregations is celebrating this year. Image courtesy Trinity Lutheran Church Pasadena.
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