HARTINGTON – A Hartington church that has been rooted and built up in Christ is set to mark a major milestone in 2023.
Trinity Lutheran Church will commemorate its 150th anniversary – known as a sesquicentennial – with a two-day celebration of events Saturday- Sunday, Sept. 16-17.
'We're just excited to celebrate with the congregation and people who grew up here or who have been members over the years who may be coming back and friends of the congregation and community folks,' the Rev. Amanda Talley said. 'Everybody's welcome to come on out.'
The first day of the celebration will feature: - An open house at Trinity Lutheran Church 1-5 p.m.
- An evening meal and entertainment inside the Hartington-Newcastle school commons area at 6 p.m.
- Entertainment by the Prodigal Sons of Ponca.
The second day of the celebration will feature: - A church worship service at 9 a.m. - A group photo and an open house. - A church worship service at 10:30 a.m.
- A noon meal at the Hartington VFW.
'We're having the meals at different places just to get a little bit more space than our fellowship hall offers,' Talley said. 'We're going to try to take a commemorative group photo in-between the two services of just everybody that's here to celebrate.'
While the Saturday evening meal requires prepaid tickets and freewill donations are encouraged for the Sunday noon meal, she noted people are more than welcome to attend the open houses, worship services and musical entertainment without tickets.
The musical entertainment will include the Prodigal Sons, a Salem Lutheran Church worship group from Ponca, on Saturday, as well as Trinity Lutheran Church’s anniversary, bell and children’s choirs on Sunday.
“During the service itself, we have kind of an anniversary choir, I guess you would say, that we put together for this occasion,” Talley said, noting the group will be made up of mostly current and former church members.
“We don’t always have a singing choir anymore, but we do have a consistent bell choir, so they are going to play,” she said. “Our own (church) member, Norvel Lentz, is going to play guitar and sing songs.”
The celebration’s worship services also are set to include church organist Ted Powell of Yankton, S.D.
“We have musicians who play keyboard and piano, but we don’t normally have an organist anymore, so that’ll be nice,” Talley said.
In addition to the musical entertainment, the Rev. Scott Johnson, the bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is set to attend and preach during the celebration’s worship services.
Among the others invited to attend the celebration are former Trinity Lutheran Church pastors.
Robert Bryan and Paul Reimers are two of the former pastors who are scheduled to attend.
Talley has been the pastor for the Trinity Lutheran churches in Hartington and Crofton for about 11 years.
She was preceded by Bryan, who served in the position for about seven years. Reimers held the role before Bryan for about 13 years.
“I just was very fortunate to make such a good match the first time around,” Talley said of the Hartington and Crofton churches, the first ones she has served as a pastor.
The Vinton, Iowa, native said she and her husband, Peter, enjoy living and working in northeast Nebraska.
“We really like it here,” Talley said. “It’s really a blessing to serve these congregations. They’ve been very good for us and for our family. It’s been a good partnership.”
Planning for the event started in earnest at the beginning of this year.
“We have our annual meeting every January,” Talley said. “Then we kind of put together a committee at that point and then they started meeting pretty regularly right away. They’ve been working diligently all through this year.”
She noted Hartington’s Trinity Lutheran Church, which has about 400 members, has worked hard to get the word out about the celebration.
“We’re thankful to be part of this community,” Talley said. “There are strong faith traditions just in the community in general.”