Paving the way... (Story written in the 50th Anniversary 1949-1999 book... Spirit Fed, Vision Led)

Paving the way... (Story written in the 50th Anniversary 1949-1999 book... Spirit Fed, Vision Led) Where ever Lutheran pioneers settled, the soon established a school and church. The Black Hills Circuit, South Dakota District, Evangelical Lutheran Church, dates back to 1884. To state that growth was immediate and constant would be an exaggeration.

In the Spring of 1886, the General Synod of the Lutheran Church sent Rev. F. M. Anderson to Rapid City to organize a congregation. Little is known about the hardships or support he encountered, but a Lutheran church was built at Seventh and School Streets. This congregation disbanded within a few years, and the church building was sold to the Baptists. Pastor Anderson is reported to have left the Lutherans to become a Baptist.

In the fall of 1886, the Norwegian Lutheran Synod sent Rev. P. T. Hillman on a missionary journey to the Black Hills to investigate the possibility of organizing congregations. The fruit of his labor was the Concordia congregation with Pastor Hillman served as the first minister by visiting the congregation each spring and fall for several years. In 1894, Rev. G. I. Breivik became Concordia's first resident Lutheran pastor. The congregation purchased the Presbyterian's farm church building and moved it to Sixth Street between St. Joe and Kansas City Streets. After Pastor Vreivek left, the congregation was served by Rev. Hans Berthelson and Rev. O. J. Olhre from the Lead parish ad Rev. H.E. Solum from Deadwood. Membership dwindled until 1901 when service were discontinued and the building sold to the Christian Science congregation for the sum of $50.

Eight years passed before Lutherans attempted to establish another congregation in Rapid City. From 1909 to 1913, several Lutheran ministers conducted service in an unsuccessful effort to revive the original interest of the "Concordia" group. Sometime in 1913 Rev. Halvor Jenssen, a resident of Sulphur Springs (north of Newell), conducted several services in Rapid City. He became the first pastor of what would eventually become Trinity Lutheran Church.

The "Rapid City Skandinavisk Lutherske Menighed" was born March 14, 1914. At the first annual meeting January 28, 1915, members agreed to pay the pastor $200 a year. Proving to be too large a finical burden, this amount was reduced to $150 and was not restored to $200 until 1918. On March 24, 1925, the name of the congregation was changed to St. John's Lutheran Church of Rapid City. In 1937, due to proliferation of St. John's Lutheran organizations, a suggestion was made to change the name. On June 14, 1942, the name Trinity Lutheran was officially adopted. This is the church (currently located at 402 Kansas City St.) that in 1949 became a sister congregation for a mission church know as Calvary Lutheran. And we today are, indeed, blessed by the faith and vision of all who through God's grace, paved the way for Calvary Lutheran.

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