Trinity Lutheran Church

Lutheran church services were first conducted in Cooperstown in 1886 by Mission Pastor O. K. Quamme (also spelled Kvamme).  It is recorded that the Norwegian Lutherans held a Christmas Tree festival in the courthouse in 1888.  Pastor Quamme spoke in Norwegian and the children's program was given in both English and Norwegian.

Meanwhile, in November 1888 a group of nine women met to organize a ladies aid with its main purpose the raising of money for a Lutheran church building.

It was in April 1890, that the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Cooperstown, North Dakota, was established with fifteen families (56 souls) as members.  Pastor Quamme was asked to serve as pastor, which he did until 1895.

In that year the constitution was rewritten, once more in Norwegian, and the congregation was incorporated under North Dakota law.  Services were to be conducted alternatively in Norwegian and English, a practice that continued until 1940.  In that year the constitution was rewritten, this time in English, and the Norwegian language services were dropped.

By 1895 the congregation had grown and plans for a church building took definite shape.  The congregation bought the north half of block 62 for $100, and in the next year the white frame church was built and completed in November.  It was in use for just over sixty years.  On June 30, 1957, the congregation made its formal exit from the old church and entry into the new brick building, which was constructed just behind the original church.  The bell from the first church was moved into the steeple of the new building.  The parsonage, still in use, was built in 1914.

During the years when the congregation was part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, numerous special organizations were formed.  The ladies aid, Women's Missionary Federation, as it was officially called, was instrumental in establishing a Sunday School and a vacation Bible school, in organizing a church library and establishing youth groups.  Some of the organizations of the ELC were the Lutheran Daughters of the Reformation, Little Helpers, Cradle Roll, Luther League and Lutheran Brotherhood.  There were also choirs for singers of various ages.

In 1960 the Evangelical Lutheran Church and two other Lutheran bodies merged to become the American Lutheran Church, or ALC.  Within the member ALC congregations, the old organizations were disbanded or reorganized, leaving three auxiliary organizations: 

American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW), American Lutheran Church Men (ALCM) and Luther League for the youth of the congregation.  With one exception, all other women's organizations were disbanded.  All women of the congregation became members of the ALCW.  The exception was the Mission Circle, organized many years earlier by friends of Lillian Young Otte.  Mrs. Otte was originally a member of Trinity congregation, and served about 40 years as a missionary in Zululand, South Africa.  She was one of four members of the congregation who entered full-time ministry of the church.

A pipe organ was installed in the first church in 1915.  The organ console and pipes were removed from the old church and later moved into the new where a new organ was built using the old as the nucleus.  Six new ranks were added, making a 14-rank organ with 890 pipes placed in a specially arranged chamber behind the altar.  The console pipes and all mechanisms were custom made.  The newly built organ was dedicated at a concert October 30, 1966.  The organ builder, Eugene Doutt, was the concert organist.

In 1918 Ness Lutheran congregation of rural Cooperstown was disbanded and many of its members joined the Trinity congregation.

To date, the Trinity congregation has been served by twelve pastors, had 960 baptisms, confirmed 724 members, and at present has a total membership of 927.

Pastors of Trinity since its beginnings are: 

O. K. Quamme, J. E. Johnson, J. N. Jensen, T. E. Sweger, E. H. Estrem, I. O. Jacobson, Dr. P. H. Holm-Jensen, H. J. Hansen, C. M. Rasmussen, A. P. Tidemann, E. R. Schmidt and Marvin Williamson.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 51

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