A Brief History of Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church & School
Caledonia, Wisconsin (1855-2016)
Trinity had its beginnings about 1847 as circuit riders met with Lutheran immigrants in their homes. The congregation was formally organized in 1855 with eight charter families. A wood frame church was erected and a Christian day school was built in 1868. Trinity is one of the first Wisconsin Synod congregations to be founded in the Milwaukee area.
Services and school classes were conducted in German until 1909-1910, when English became the norm. The first parsonage was constructed in 1902 and still is in service. A second church was built in 1911 on the corner of Nicholson and Seven Mile Road at a cost of $11,000. It stood until the mid-1980s and was razed when the third (current) church was built in 1983. Ministry continued uneventfully until 1950, when a new school was built on Seven Mile Road.
In 1957 a home was purchased just south of the property to house the first school principal, Rupert Rosin. Today it still houses a member of the teaching staff. In 1961 a second school building was erected, known as the Nicholson School. This building abuts the current church building. That same year the congregation marked the 5th anniversary of the second church and one year later Lutheran Pioneers was established for youth ministry. In 1966 the first Kindergarten was begun. A building fund was established for the potential of building a new church. In 1975 a third home was purchased as a second teacherage.
In the 125th anniversary year of the congregation, major renovation was made to the original parsonage. A full-time vicarage program as established and the congregation moved from the WISCO high school federation to the Shoreland High School Federation. The third church building was completed in 1983 and still is the worship facility today.
In the 1980’s the congregation grew to nearly 700 communicants. There was a period of slight decline in the mid 1990’s when membership dipped to 520 communicants and about 800 souls. After a series of some 20 vicars, the congregation called an associate pastor in 1997 and David Wierschke accepted the call. After Pastor John Schroeder retired, Trinity made use of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s Senior Vicar Program, for a part time man for preaching, teaching, and visitation. The congregation then requested a seminary graduate and in 2007 Pastor Emile Burgess was assigned to serve Trinity.
In 1998 regular midweek services were added to the regular worship schedule. Afternoon services coordinated with the elementary school dismissal time were added for Lent including Ash Wednesday and Good Friday in 2008 and attendance at those services has increased considerably.
In 2001 a “Phase II” committee began exploring possible expansion for school and fellowship purposes. In 2002 and Endowment Fund was established, which helps earned interest off of principle to fund five major areas of ministry. The same year the Boy Pioneers was revitalized after many years of dormancy and has been very successful under dedicated leadership.
In 2003 a Building Expansion Committee was formed and the fruits of their labor – including classrooms, Fellowship Hall, kitchen, and gymnasium – were dedicated in 2008. Cost of the expansion construction was a little under 2 million dollars. In 2009 Trinity Lutheran School added a seventh full time teaching position to allow for better class size distribution as well as support continued growth. This followed staff increases in 2006 of adding a sixth teacher and in 2008 of expanding Kindergarten to full time. A seventh teacher was added in 2014 and an eighth teacher in 2015.
In 2010 Trinity earned accreditation through WELSSA and NCPSA, the National Council for Private School Accreditation. And again in 2016, Trinity was re-accredited earning an Exemplary Certificate. In 2014 Trinity became eligible for the Parental Choice Program, first for the Racine Parental Choice Program and in 2016, the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.
Trinity church and school has struggled through this economic climate. However, the Lord of the Church has been gracious in bringing souls to serve with the gospel in the classroom and the sanctuary. Currently our school enjoys an enrollment of 170+ students and the number of souls under the church’s care continues to steadily grow. Today Trinity Congregation serves 722 communicants 929 baptized souls. Trinity is also grateful to God that we have about 50 students per year continue their Christian education at Shoreland Lutheran High School. May Jesus continue to grant such growth to our corner of the Kingdom until he returns in full glory.