Members of Morenci’s Trinity Lutheran Church observed the 60th anniversay of the church Sunday, with former Pastor James Bartz serving as guest speaker.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” –2 Timothy 3:16.
Pastor R.W. Scheele of Grace English Lutheran Church in Tecumseh preached on those words during the first Lutheran service in Morenci on April 28, 1946.
Pastor Scheele had canvassed Morenci during the summer of the last year of World War II.
Attendance at the first service was 40. Together with Pastor C.H. Schmelzer and his son, Edwin, who was then still a seminary student, Pastor Scheele continued to conduct exploratory services both in Morenci and Hudson, until Sept. 22 when they suspended “until further notice.”
Pastor A.H. Baer of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church later resumed the exploratory services, but only for the Morenci area. From that first service, worship was held in the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Stephenson Street until Trinity dedicated its own chapel 20 years later.
From 1947 through the summer of 1948, Pastor Theodore Thurow, a recent seminary graduate, served the joint Morenci-Hudson area as the first resident pastor. When he left for service elsewhere, Pastor Baer served as the vacancy pastor until Rev. Adolph Walter Hueschen was installed.
Rev. Hueschen served the church for 15 years, presiding over 35 weddings, 22 funerals, 121 baptisms and 75 confirmations.
Pastor Larry Pautz followed Rev. Hueschen’s retirement and presided over the cornerstone-laying service for the present church building.
The construction of the education/fellowship wing came during Pastor Mark Lenz’s tenure (July 1969 to July 1972). He was followed by Edward Fredrich (July 1973 to July 1978), Lynn Hukee (July 1978 to Jan. 1981), James Langebartels (June 1981 to April 1990), Arnold Kunde (Aug. 1990 to Jan. 1999), James Bartz (May 1999 to April 2004), James Heffner (Aug. 2004 to Sept. 2007) and Ralph Stuebs (Jan. 2009 to present).