Trinity Lutheran Church has its roots in a religious revival that swept over Southern Norway in the late nineteenth century. Many Scandinavians settled in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood in the 1800s because of its thriving waterfront, and Norwegians who had been influenced by Norway’s spiritual revival began meeting informally for Christian fellowship. When the need to form a congregation became apparent, Trinity Norwegian Lutheran Church was organized in a rented store on the corner of 22nd Street and Third Avenue in 1890. During the following year the society became part of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America. English worship services were added in 1915. The church is now a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Trinity’s present building on the corner of 46th Street and Fourth Avenue was constructed between 1910 and 1917. The brick and limestone church and adjoining two-story rectory, designed in the Neo-Gothic style by Foster, Gade & Graham, are listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in the Sunset Park Historic District. The Sigmond Memorial Education building, added in 1950, is now used as a classroom building by the New York City Board of Education.
With a growing population of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in Sunset Park from the late 1950s onward, Trinity eventually established a Spanish-language ministry in 1976. Trinity’s multi-ethnic membership is now served by separate worship services in English and Spanish as well as regular bilingual services.
Piecemakers Started in 1971
Many years ago I was reading “The Women’s Lutheran Magazine”. I came across an article about a group of women from a church out west who had gotten together to make blankets for LWR. It started me thinking. I have always liked to sew and make things. Could we do something similar here in Trinity?
I could not let go of the thought. I prayed about it too. But it seemed like such a big job. We would need so many things. Where would we start? Material would be first. I thought perhaps a couple of sewing machines – scissors – women to be interested? I sort of put it on hold until I met Kris Henricksen in the Parish Hall.
“Hedvig,” he said “I want to show you something”. He showed me a whole pile of old clothes. I think it had been left after a clothes drive we had a while back. I looked – and I looked again a little closer and in my heart I said “material”!
Is this your answer, Lord? If so, I’m willing.
That was the start – sorting and cutting. An old friend, Mrs. Hansen helped me. We spent a whole day but we were pleased at the result. Then some women got together with scissors and sorted some more. We also planned to meet once a month on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We would bring a sandwich and have coffee made at church. I remember Bertha Johnsen walking from 44 Street and 7 Avenue to be there to have coffee ready when we arrived at 10 a.m. We took turns buying buns for that.
We always had devotions. We took turns and sometimes one of the Pastors would come and do it. We also took an offering.
Just have to tell you the women’s group out west named their group “Piecemakers”. We copied. Piecemakers continue to meet once a month on a Tuesday.
Captain Chaplin Harry Montgomery was killed in a booby trap explosion in Italy on March 3, 1945. (See Descendant Blizzard vol. 34 no. 3) His photo hangs on the chapel wall.