Concordia 'servants' work on Springfield church

Claudia Loucks
The work crew at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield included in front, from left, Diane Ouart, Colleen Brown, Rogene McMullen, Karen (from Holy Trinity), Dick McMullen, Jim Glaw; in back, Bill Kramer, Ryan Brown, Mark Ouart, Brenda (from Holy Trinity), Travis Jansen and the Rev. Stephen Mueller. Not in the photo are Kathy Kramer, who was taking the photo; Ross and the Rev. Michael Koschmann, from Holy Trinity Church

“Servants” from Concordia Lutheran Church in Geneseo returned recently from a second mission work trip to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield and plans are underway for a return trip to the church in 2022.

In 2016, the Mission Committee at Concordia Church began organizing short Servant Trips to Central Illinois District LCMS churches to assist congregations with work and improvements beyond the abilities or capabilities of the congregations.

From 2016 to 2018, the “servants” from Concordia assisted Christ Deaf Lutheran Church in Jacksonville.

In 2019, the group made their first trip to Holy Trinity in Springfield and as they departed for the trip home in 2019, they began planning for a return trip in 2020, which was delayed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Last year’s trip happened this summer when Diane and Mark Ouart, Colleen and Ryan Brown, Rogene and Dick McMullen, Jim Glaw, Bill and Kathy Kramer, Travis Jansen and the Rev. Stephen Mueller, pastor at Concordia Church in Geneseo.

Dick McMullen, chairman of the Mission Committee, said approximately 175 hours of work was completed by members of Concordia Church, and additional hours of labor were completed by members of the Springfield church, Karen Cook, Brenda, Ross and the Rev. Michael Koschmann prior to the arrival of the Concordia crew.

The “servants” worked on numerous projects from building a railing, inside painting, replacing a ceiling and installing new lights to outside yard work.

“Holy Trinity was one of the churches which hosted students and vicars from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield when that seminary was in operation from 1846-1976 when it was consolidated with the seminary in Ft. Wayne, Ind.,” he said. “Concordia pastors who graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield and who also may have served Holy Trinity in some capacity are the Rev. Carl Doerffler, the Rev. Christian Bergan (Concordia’s longest serving pastor), the Rev. Jack Heino and the Rev. Robert Yount.”

McMullen said, “An even closer Concordia connection to Holy Trinity is that of Diane Ouart, who after returning home from our first trip to Springfield, looked at her

Baptismal record to confirm her baptism at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Springfield, while her father was attending Concordia Theological Seminary.”

McMullen also shared some history documents from the Holy Trinity church which indicated a need for some repairs.

The Holy Trinity congregation was organized in 1882 and the church location was the living room of a parishioner’s home. On March 11, 1888, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity became an organized congregation.

History records state that the building in which the congregation now worships is the original structure which was dedicated on Feb. 23, 1889, and has been renovated twice since its dedication – in 1923 and again in 1930. The parsonage was built by seminary students in 1900. In 2008 there were 96 baptized members and 57 communicant members.

Funding for the trips comes from participants in the form of payment for lodging; donations form Concordia members as well as Lenten Supper proceeds.

McMullen said the total of all of the sources of funds covers the costs for the workers and reimburses the congregation for some or all of the supply expense to accomplish our work.”

Thrivent Financial provided funds for the workers evening meals.

McMullen said work in the kitchen and the church nave are “at the top of list for our return trip in 2022.”