Trinity Lutheran Church, Hovland: our story in Faith
What is now the Trinity Lutheran of Hovland congregation was initiated in September 1909. Two small congregations who had been meeting in area homes, joined and called Rev. Carl Eidnes (already serving Bethlehem Lutheran in Grand Marais) as their Pastor.
In 1913 the congregation unanimously agreed to build a church building (on what is now the North Road). By Dec. 28, the first Sunday after Christmas, they were able to worship in their new building. They used this building until the early 1940s, when the congregation realized the opportunity the newly completed Highway 61 gave for access by more people. They began meeting in the school building in Hovland, and obtained land alongside the highway in 1946, using rummage sales, bazaars, suppers and pie socials to raise initial funds. That summer an exciting idea began to form: a collaboration with St. Olaf College om a “work-camp effort” for design and building a new Church. This idea sprang from conversations between Pastor Aubrey Edmonds, Dr. Howard Hong (professor at St. Olaf who spent summers on his land in the Hovland area), and congregation members, including Harold Schuppel who was the chair of the building committee and worked closely with Pastor Edmonds and Professor Arnold Flaten of St. Olaf.
This collaboration led to an invigorating adventure in realizing God’s creativity. Building design came from Professor Flaten, the head of the art department at St. Olaf, with the important architectural aid of Ed Sovik. This early effort for both of them helped lead to well recognized careers in sacred art: Professor Flaten as professor, sculptor and artist, Ed Sovik as architect of many sacred spaces.
The Trinity Church was designed to make use of natural rock and wood in harmony with the rugged setting of the North Shore. Rock for the foundation and chimney was from the area’s geography, Superior, local lumber and materials were used as much as possible. Portions of the original church were salvaged and used in the new building (including sanctuary floor, church bell, and exterior doors). The work was done by congregation members, area residents teaming up with students during the day, residents after day work
was completed. While in Hovland, the students aided the congregation leading Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and in meals and fund-raisers. The building was dedicated on July 16, 1950, with more than 200 people worshiping together!
Trinity’s 2009 “Commemorative History” relates, “worth remembering is the work of the Ladies’ Aid during the years the church building was being built and in the years following.” This meant lots of fund-raising efforts for building fund, purchase of piano and organ, and most importantly, continuing the mission of the church locally and across the world. “Not to be outdone in zeal, the men of the church put on a ham and trout supper every year in May to help pay off the mortgage.” Again, more than 200 people joined in worship celebrations.
For more than 100 years Trinity continues as a place of worship, with proclamation of the Good News of God in Jesus and the movement of the Holy Spirit. The artistry of the stained glass window, carved beams, doors, Figure of Christ, and the building’s handcrafted beauty draw minds of worshippers, visitors, and all driving by to praise God.
This hymn was composed for the Trinity Centennial Celebration, August 28-29, 2009. Members and visitors gathered in the sanctuary, narthex, and outside the building in Worship, and sang our praises and thanks to God.
At the 2009 Centennial Celebration “Sing All You Souls” was part of worship, along with hymns sung at the July 1950 dedication of our current building including “The Church’s One Foundation.”
In 2016 we have begun the major effort and expense of new roofing, updating electrical service, and improving sound reinforcement. These are necessary as we continue our focus on our Mission in Christ, to “Teach, live, and share Christ.” We worship God, and treasure the lovely space God has provided for all who gather in prayer and worship. We are considering the possibilities of designing and adding a small building for pastor’s office, meeting room, and indoor bathroom. It may be possible to partner with others, as occurred in the collaboration of the late 1940s.
Please stop by any time to reflect on the beauty God gives us in earth and artistry; to pray in thanks and need to God. God be with you, as you journey. “Sing all you souls, all hearts and creation” for “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Our sanctuary is always open...
we hope you will stop by for rest and prayer.
Trinity Lutheran Church
4957 East Highway 61
P O Box 188, Hovland, Minnesota 55606
Pastor Kris Garey
“Teach, love, and serve Christ.”
Because of where we are located, we are a small congregation...
your support through volunteering if we have another
“work-camp” collaboration, through financial support,
and especially in prayer will encourage us as we serve God.