Church and School History
Pastor Frederick Meuschke, 1920-1921
Shortly after the end of World War I several Lutheran families arranged to meet weekly for worship services in Williams Funeral Home in Norfolk. On May 30, 1920 the church was organized by 10 men signing the original constitution (no voting rights for the congregation’s women in those days). Since that day also happened to be Trinity Sunday in the church calendar, Trinity became the name of the congregation. On December 20th, Rev. Frederick Meuschke was installed as our first pastor.
Pastor, Rev. Louis J. Roehm, 1921-1931.
During his service, the church purchased a house and lot on 34th and Omohundro Ave. in Norfolk in 1921 at a cost of $17,000. This home served as a parsonage and place of worship. After five months, Pastor Meuschke accepted a call to Long Island and Pastor Roehm was installed on July 10, 1921. On July 17, 1921 the Sunday School was organized with an enrollment of 8. On September 29, 1921 the first choir was organized.
On February 14, 1923, construction began on a small chapel on the lot next to the parsonage. The church building was dedicated at 200 W. 34th Street on April 7, 1923. The cost of the chapel was $1,800 of which $1,200 was contributed by members and $600 was received from fellow Lutherans, mainly from Bethlehem Church in Richmond. It served as the primary location for services through 1945. The pulpit and altar were contributed by St. James Church in Overland, MD. On May 16, 1923 the Ladies Aid Society was organized.
Between 1923 and 1931 there was a decline in membership and the Ladies Aid Society and Youth Group were discontinued.
In October 1928, Pastor Roehm began work in the growing city of Hopewell, VA and this resulted in the birth of Nazareth Lutheran Church.
Pastor Roehm received a call in 1931 from St. Mathews Church in Hudson, NY. In October 1931, Candidate Paul Plawin arrived to fill the vacancy.
Rev. Paul A. Plawin, 1931-1966.
On February 28, 1932 Pastor Paul Plawinwas installed. The Ladies Aid Society and Sunday School were reestablished. Pastor Plawin continued along with the help of Trinity member, Mr. John Ernst Wunnenberg, to serve the Hopewell mission until 1938 when a building was completed.
In 1935 the Youth Group was reestablished.
In December 1939, Pastor Plawin began to hold services in the Wythe Community Hall in Hampton to accommodate those living on that side of Hampton Roads. As a result, Emmanuel Lutheran Church was established.
Under Pastor Plawin, a majority of Trinity’s construction projects took place, beginning with the purchase of the current church site at Granby and West Belvedere in May, 1940 at a cost of $2200. However, as it was wartime and there was a scarcity of building materials, and problems obtaining funds from District, the building was not started until 1944.
1942-1943 – Redeemer Lutheran Church in Portsmouth was sponsored and served by Trinity. In Sept., 1944, construction began on the main building and it was completed one year later.
A dedication of the new building was held on September 9, 1945. The cost of the building plus furnishings was $60,000. Also in 1945, the school’s kindergarten was organized. Daily sessions for 5 year olds began under the direction of Pastor Plawin. $1 per week was charged to help cover materials. 28 children made up the first Kindergarten class. The staff was made up of women from the congregation under the guidance of Pastor Plawin who offered religious instruction every morning. Transportation was provided by Pastor Plawin and some parents. Three-four year old groups were added later in the year.
Nov 11, 1945- The church celebrated its 25th year in existence.
In 1947 small salaries were offered to teachers who served every day during the 47-48 school year. Several women who drove station wagons were hired to provide transportation.
In 1948 the old parsonage was sold for $11,000 and a new parsonage was built on W. Belvedere Road at a cost of $18,000.
1950- Mrs. Helen Everett joined the school staff as head teacher under the direct supervision of Pastor and Principal Plawin.
April 27, 1952- Pastor Plawin has a dedication service for the breaking ground on the new education wing of the building. Belvedere Hall and the North Transept were dedicated at a cost of $60,000.
1952 - Current stain glass window in sanctuary above the altar was made.
1952 - Faith (now Unity) Lutheran was sponsored and served by Trinity.
1953 - Trinity assisted in establishing Christ Lutheran Church on Military Highway.
1954 - The South transcept was added at a cost of $6,000. Trinity Lutheran School has 135 students. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 463. The Baptized membership stands at 730.
1956 - The property on the corner of South Ridgely and Granby was purchased ($25,000) for a parking lot. Trinity was air conditioned at a cost of $13,600.
1960- The church was celebrating its 40th year. The school had an enrollemnt of 130 students. Sunday School enrollemnt was at 473. The Baptized membership was now at 853.
1961 – Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach was sponsored and served by Trinity.
May 19, 1963- The new educational building/annex had been finished for a cost of $290,000 and was dedicated at this time. At this time the school consisted of three 5 year old groups, one 4 year old group, and one 3 year old group. In September they added the first 1st grade class consisting of 27 students. A new pipe organ was built by Mr. Wetzel of Charlottesville, VA and was dedicated in May 1963.
1963 – Five acres of land in the Great Bridge area was donated by Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Kilian to the Southeastern District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod s a site for the opening of a new Lutheran Church.
October 24, 1966- Pastor Plawin was called to his eternal home and Trinity was served by several area chaplains. Mrs. Helen Everett became acting Principal. At this time the school was 21 years in existence. The parsonage was sold to Mrs. Gladys Plawin. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 379. The school has an enrollement of 200.
Rev. William M. Bliese, 1967-1973
In August 1967, Pastor Bliese accepted the call.
1968- Helen Everett resigned and Mrs. Jane Upton was elected to be acting Principal. The first second grade was started this year by Cindy Claxson.
1969- George Weissinger was called to be a teacher and acting principal, teaching a combined class consisting of the first and second grades. The school year began with 212 students (160 in preschool/kindergarten and 52 in 1st/2nd grade).
1970- The first third grade class was started. The school was celebrating 25 years in existence.
1971- Mr. Weissinger resigned and Pastor Bliese assumed the duties of Principal for the 71/72 school year. The school had 188 students that year (106 in preschool/kindergarten and 82 in 1st/2nd grade).
1972 - 157 children are using transportation services,
1973- Mrs. Sharyn Leiding began the school's first hot lunch program
1974- Pastor Bliese left Trinity and Pastor Arthur Meyer was installed on February 3rd.
Rev. Arthur W. Meyer, 1974-1985
1975 - Mrs. Jane Miller joined the faculty.
1976 – Hope Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach was sponsored and served by Trinity. One grade teacher resigns and was not replaced due to finances. 1st and 2nd grades are again combined.
1977- Mrs. Jane Miller became the Head teacher for the grades and Mrs. Gladys Plawin became Head teacher of the Preschool and Kindergarten classes. Mrs. Plawin had been the volunteer church secretary and had served as teacher of the four year old group for 26 years from 1955-1982 when she retired. Finance & Registration Secretaries, Mrs. Carolyn Powell, assumes as teacher of Kindergarten & Treasurer; Mrs. Ellen Wagner & Mrs. Edna Osborne retired after 30 years of service to Lutheran Schools.
1978 - No combination classes were held during 78-79 school session. There was a noticeable drop in enrollment for 4 year olds due to a new Public School program. One kindergarten class was dropped.
1979 - Policy was adopted to limit Pre-school classes to 20 students each and Kindergarten classes to 25 students each. In June the church mortgage was paid off.
1980- A second kindergarten class was added due to such a spike in enrollment.
1981- A second first grade teacher was hired.
1981 – Grace by the Sea Lutheran Church in Nags Head, NC was sponsored and served by Trinity.
1985 – In February, Pastor Meyer accepted a call to International Lutheran School in Seoul, Korea. In June, PastorMeyer officiated his last service at Trinity and Navy Chaplain Al Kirk serves as inerim.
Rev. Daniel H. Quiram, 1986-1997
Pastor Quiram was installed on February 6, 1986.
1986- The first 4th grade class was added.
1987- The first 5th grade class was added with the first graduation of the 5th grade in the spring of 1988.
Aug 1988- Mr. Gary Dresser accepted the call to be the first full time Principal-DCE (with no teacher duties) and the first school secretary was hired.
1989 - On August 25th the playground is added on the property.
Fall 1990- The first extended care was offered with a before and after school program. Mrs. Sharon Knorr was the directress and set up this program. On August 13th the property at 107 S. Ridgeley was purchased for $135,165.
Summer of 1991- Mr. Dresser was called to Connecticut as a Day School Principal andwas replaced by Mr. Scott Zielske.For the school year 1991/92 they did not have a 5th grade class because of decreased enrollment.
Fall 1992- The fifth grade was added back, the extended care began to grow in numbers. This year they also added a full day kindergarten program with the half day program continuing. This year they also added a full day 4 year old program. A module was purchased for extended care (total cost $20,888, covered by a SED loan for $20,600). The library moved to the south transept and a part time librarian was added to the faculty.
1993 - A second 1st grade class was added. On February 14th the Principal/DCE position was renamed Minister of Education and Scott Zielske was called to fill this position. On June 1st use of the extended care module was discontinued due to community objections and subsequent lawsuit.
1995- Trinity Lutheran Church celebrated its 75th anniversary and the school celebrated its 50th year. Church/school began participating in the Grand Illumination Parade in Norfolk.
1997 - On June 1st Rev. Dan Quiram left to accept a call to Calvary Lutheran Church, Baltimore, MD.
Rev. James P. O’Connor, 1998-2009
1998 - On July 26th Rev. James O'Connor was installed as pastor.
1999 - On July 31st Scott Zielske departs to accept a call to Peace Lutheran Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Jane Miller becomes Head Teacher.
2000 - On October 20th Trinity holds its First Annual Bach Organ Festival.
2002- In June Mrs. Jane Miller retired from 1st grade after 27 years at Trinity Lutheran School. Mrs. Sykes becomes the School Administrator after being one of the head teachers. In November, Mr. Lee Hendricks leaves after 25 years as Music Director/Organist.
2003 - On July 13th Mr. Kai Lin joins the staff at Trinity as Music Director/Organist.
Sept 18, 2003- Hurricane Isabel took down two huge trees that hovered over the front walkway at Trinity. The trees fell towards the front of the church and missed damaging the building by inches. The church and school thanked God for the protection of the building.
2006 - On March 12th Mrs. Melissa Hales is commissioned as Minister of Education. On October 28th Trinity held its First Annual Oktoberfest Celebration.
2009 - On March 8th Mrs. Judy Plawin Sykes was commissioned as Minister of Education. In February the Angel sculptures created from the downed tree trunks were installed and dedicated. On April 5th Rev. James O'Connor officiated his last Sunday in the pulpit. His retirement was effective April 15th.
Rev. David W. Smith 2010-2013
2010 - On November 28th Rev. David Smith was installed as pastor.
Community Garden is created by Pastor Smith and members of the congregation. The ODU Ministry is started by Pastor Smith.
2013 - On March 27th Pastor Smith was arrested on child pornography charges. On April 5th Pastor Smith resigns as pastor.
Sept 2010- Marks the 65th anniversary of Trinity Lutheran School.
Rev. Daniel H Quiram, IIP 2013- 2014
2013 - On June 2nd Rev. Daniel Quiram was installed as Intentional Interim Pastor. Pastor Quiram leads us thru a transition phase as re-examine the mission and vision of Trinity in preparation to call a new pastor to Trinity.
2014 - On November 30th Rev. Daniel Quiram leaves. In December Rev. Charles Froehlich becomes the Vacancy Pastor. Rev. Dennis Rhoads and Chaplain Matthew Prince fill in when Pastor Froehlich is not available.
2015 - On July 12th, with a unanimous recommendation from the Church Council, the congregation voted to close the school due to low enrollment. Mrs. Sykes retires as TLS administrator.
The members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church regretfully announce that Trinity Lutheran School will not open for the 2015-16 school year. TLS Summer Camp will not be affected by the closure of the school and will continue through August 14th.
TLS has struggled with decreasing enrollment over the past five years. Unfortunately, enrollment for 2015-2016 fell below what is required to financially sustain the school. The School Board explored several options to keep TLS open to include combined classes and reductions in resource classes and staff. After much discussion, it was determined that TLS could not provide the high quality education that the school has offered in the past. This decision was made with many prayers and only after much effort by the School Board.
We offer our gratitude and thankfulness to the wonderful teachers and staff who have been so devoted to the school over these many years. We would like to thank our students and their parents who have also shown their support over the years. As we move forward with the ministry of Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church we have faith that God will help lead us to be able to re-open at a future date. Please keep the TLS staff and the future of TLS in your prayers.
Rev. Jonanthan Meraz - January 31, 2016 - December 31, 2021
2016 - On January 31st Pastor Meraz is installed as pastor of Trinity.
2018 - February 18th - Kai Lin's last Sunday as Director of Music as he moves to California.
2018 - August 10th - Stephen Pruitt was hired as Director of Music.
2020 -Trinity celebrates our 100th Anniversary! The Coronavirus Pandemic hits the United States in March. All anniversary celebrations are postponed. Church services were not held from March 15th thru May 17th.
Sunday service resumes on May 24th with mask and social distancing restrictions in place. Services are recorded on cell phone mid-week and placed on our website, Trinity's Facebook page and Trinity's YouTube page.
A very generous gift is presented by Richard Robertson to purchase an updated sound system with video live streaming capabilities. Our first live streaming service was available on LWML Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020.
October 2020 - With Covid restrictions still in place our Oktoberfest Luncheon was canceled. The LWML sponsored a fundraiser and took orders for a take home dinner of bratwurst or hotdogs, German potato salad or Southern potato salad. baked beans, sauerkraut and a cookie. It was a huge success with 69 dinners prepared and netted a profit of $470 towards LWML missions.
December 31, 2021 - Pastor Meraz retired.
Pandemic continues - Areas of church to be open to congregation during Phase 3 – Parking lot entrance only - Hallway inside parking lot doors - Sanctuary - Two Restrooms on parking lot side of building Bible Study and Church Service – 1. Services will be livestreamed for those who do not feel comfortable attending in person. 2. There will be Worship at 10 AM on Sundays. (during Phase 3 there will no fellowship in the Welcome Center or Sunday School). 3. Bulletins will not be handed to you but will be in the pews when you come in. Please sit in these pews only. Singles may sit on the opposite ends of a pew.
Offering - An offering plate has been placed by the entrance/exit door so that you may leave your tithe.
The 100th Anniversary Cookbooks are available for purchase. The cost is $7.00 each.
Due to COVID-19 and the need to ensure safety, there will be NO PANCAKE SUPPER this year. In that same vein, Ash Wednesday services will look a little different too. There will be no ashes imposed and no communion given. In order to continue to maintain safety for everyone, we will only be doing Sunday services in person and the Mid-week Lenten services will be posted online for everyone to watch from the safety of their homes. We hope this will ensure that we continue to Worship safely each week until the time that EVERYONE can meet together again. Continue to pray for an end to this pandemic and for the health of all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
TODAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR ORDERING from the ladies of the LWML for their TAKE OUT ONLY Easter Bake Sale. You will find a flyer with envelope in the bulletin this morning if you would like to purchase some Home Baked Goodies. The proceeds from this benefit will go to the LWML Ways and Means Fund for missions.
Please join us next Sunday as Trinity celebrates our 101st Anniversary. Unfortunately, Covid restrictions did not allow us to celebrate our 100th Anniversary as we had planned. But looking to our future and remembering our past we have so much to be thankful for. Next Sunday we will return to having a processional at the beginning of our service. Next week's processional will include the presentation of our 100th Anniversary banner. The choir will also be presenting Bless the Lord, O My Soul, written by John Behnke in honor of Trinity's 100th Anniversary. Light refreshments will be served after the service. We hope to see you as we celebrate another milestone in Trinity's history. Praising the Lord for Many Years of Grace!
Updates to Church Protocols Both entrances open – All Restrooms available – Offerings collected during Worship Service We ask that masks continue to be worn during service. Ushers will continue to dismiss at the end of service. Welcome Center will remain closed until a later date. Bible Study and Church Service – 1. Services will be livestreamed for those who do not feel comfortable attending in person. 2. There will be Worship at 10 AM on Sundays. Bible Study at 9 AM.
Praising the Lord for over 100 years of Grace – Today our Trinity family celebrates the 101st Anniversary of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The flowers placed on the altar this morning are in honor of the many members who have come before us as well as the nine pastors who have served Trinity over its 101-year history including our present pastor, Rev. Jonathan Meraz. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. As a part of our processional today you will see the banner lovingly made by Jan Knickelbein in honor of our 100th anniversary. A very special thank you to Jan and John Knickelbein for the gift of this beautiful banner to Trinity. Today our Director of Music, Stephen Pruitt along with our choir and Diane Pruitt on flute, will present, “Bless the Lord, O My Soul”, written by John Behnke in honor of Trinity’s 100th Anniversary. This beautiful hymn is now a published piece in honor of Trinity and the composer has sent us a signed copy of the music which will be framed and proudly displayed in our Welcome Center. A thank you to all of our members and friends who through your prayers and your gifts have helped to see Trinity thru this past difficult year. A small reception in your honor will be held outside the church doors in the parking lot, following our service. Please join us!
Beginning today, July 4th , In accordance with the CDC and VA guidelines, Trinity will no longer require wearing masks for fully vaccinated people. However, we do recommend those not vaccinated or those not comfortable without their masks to continue wearing masks. Dismissal will no longer be done by pew. Everyone will be dismissed as a group following the recessional. Welcome Center refreshments/fellowship will be reinstated following service each week. Please look for a Host/Hostess sign-up sheet in the Welcome Center on the Volunteer Board. Belvedere Hall will be open to receptions/dinners.
Upon the recommendation of the Governor of Virginia and the CDC, Trinity's Church Council requires that you wear a mask when in the building and especially during Worship. For those who are uncomfortable wearing a mask, Trinity's Worship services are livestreamed on YouTube every Sunday and can also be found on Trinity's Website and Facebook page. We prayerfully continue to keep everyone as safe as possible during this pandemic and will keep you updated if further restrictions are required.
Stephen Pruitt has resigned as Director of Music at Trinity effective following Sunday's worship service on September 5th . We are so sorry to see him leave but understand it is best for his family and wish him well in his future endeavors. We thank Stephen for all he has done for Trinity since his arrival. We have found a temporary organist, Carroll Smith, to cover our services until the position can be filled permanently. The position has been advertised locally as well as nationally.
Farewell and Godspeed to Stephen and Diane Pruitt – Today we say goodbye to Stephen and Diane. A special thank you to Stephen for all he has done to enrich our worship services as Director of Music over the last three years. You both will certainly be missed. May the Lord bless you in your future endeavors wherever they may lead you. Remember you will always a home at Trinity. We invite the congregation to join us out on the sidewalk for refreshments and a chance to say goodbye, following the service.
Farewell and Godspeed to Pastor Meraz and Julie - Today we say goodbye to Pastor and Julie as they enter retirement. A special thank you to Pastor for his six years of service to Trinity. We thank him for his ministry, his guidance and his care. Now as this chapter of his life comes to an end we pray that a new and exceptional one begins.
Carroll Smith who has served as our Vacancy Organist for the last 4 months has assumed the role of Director of Music. We welcome Carroll and thank God for her service to Trinity.
Trinity is now served by a Vacancy Team of three pastors - Pastor Charles Froehlich, Chaplain Matthew Prince, and Pastor Timothy Utton.
The Call Committee begins Zoom Interviews of Pastors. Trinity continues to be served by Pastor Utton and Chaplain Prince.
Today, Trinity focuses on preaching and teaching Christ crucified to the entire Hampton Roads community. We have a special emphasis in serving the community and ministering to military personnel and their families.