Most members are aware that Holy Trinity was a German Lutheran congregation in the late 1700s, as 65% of the residents in Lancaster were German at that time. Although Dr. Muhlenberg seldom if ever preached in English, he did foresee a time when the introduction of the English language would be essential.
It was about 1819 when Pastor Endress was authorized to preach in English at alternate Sunday evening services, a practice that led to more frequent use of that language. In 1825, a petition was presented to Vestry by 168 members, including many from the younger generation, who sought to use English at alternate Sunday morning services as well. One sentence in the petition read “We regret to find that we cannot longer induce our young people, our wives, brothers, sisters, and other relatives and friends to attend our church, because they do not understand the German language sufficiently to derive the benefit which they desire.”
Zion Lutheran Church
After a series of meetings, Vestry approved. But because thirty or forty members were dissatisfied with the trend toward further use of English, they withdrew their membership, purchased a piece of ground on East Vine Street, around the corner from Trinity, and built the second Lutheran church in Lancaster in 1828. They titled their congregation “The New High German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania”. It would later become known as Zion Lutheran Church.Their judgment was that new German immigrants would be more comfortable using their native tongue.Records point out that this was an amicable separation, with Trinity assisting the new congregation financially. About forty years later, they build another edifice for $43,714.43 and that is the one you see from our main parking lot. Services in German continued at Zion until 1942. However, after a heroic effort, they lost their struggle to survive, and their last service was held on New Year’s Eve, 1983. Today the building houses “The Lord’s House of Prayer”.
Lord’s House of Prayer
Directly or indirectly, Trinity has fathered about eight Lutheran congregations in Lancaster. Although unintended, Zion would have been the first, followed by Saint John, Christ, Grace, Advent, and Saint Mark’s. (In 1971, Advent and Saint Mark’s merged to form The Church of the Good Shepherd.) Emmanuel Lutheran Church was an effort of Grace Lutheran Church, but with much Trinity leadership, so I guess that would make us a grandfather. And Holy Spirit Lutheran Church was provided with partial sponsorship from Trinity in the form of a substantial financial contribution, so perhaps that would make us a stepfather.
(Some of the material for this article was researched from “Where The Saints Have Trod”.)