Trinity Lutheran Church
  
 
 
This is the interior of the old Trinity church located south of Pennsylvania and fifth.   
It was built in 1893 at a cost of $2,484 and was destroyed by fire January 5, 1950, just as the congregation was to enter
its new $350,000 building.
 
 
For seven years from October 1942 to May 1950,
while funds were being raised and the church 
erected,Trinity congregation worshiped at the Palace Theater.
 
                      
 
 
 

History of Trinity Lutheran Church . . . 

“We are gathered here,” . . .

 
. . . said the pastor, “to organize a Lutheran congregation.” Around him on crude chairs and benches in the pioneer home of Andrew Helgesen in Mason City, Iowa, sat 16 thoughtful men. They were all Scandinavian immigrants, most of them from Norway, struggling to adapt themselves to the strange ways of their adopted land.  
                                        
The Lutherans had been welcomed in the mid 1850’s by the Methodist and Congregational churches in Mason City, but many of the Scandinavians found the English services difficult to understand, and wanted their children to have baptisms, Sunday School, and worship in their native language. 
 
A special service was held on July 1, 1871, which  witnessed the official signing of the Constitution for the formation of the Scandinavian Lutheran Church in Mason City. The members of 16 families signed the Constitution. Rev. Paul G. Ostby held services in the courthouse, Parker Opera House, and other locations until 1874, when he resigned. Tough times followed for what is now Trinity Lutheran Church during the years from 1874 - 1906. The church reorganized many times and had a number of lay leaders, seminary students, and part-time or short term pastors who could come only monthly to Mason City.

 During the difficult years, however, the Ladies’ Aid was formed July 2, 1886, and Sunday School was organized February 3, 1889. The Ladies’ Aid was to prove an invaluable part of the congregation, and especially helped with finances.

 On July 2, 1892, the congregation purchased land at what is now the corner of 5th Street SE and S. Penn Avenue (the present site of the Mason City Labor Temple.) Trinity’s first Church was dedicated on May 3, 1894. On July 2, 1906 Trinity installed its first resident pastor, Rev. G.G. Belsheim. It was under Rev. Belsheim that Americanization of the congregation began. He held services in English and Norwegian. In 1908, the church’s name was changed from Scandinavian to Trinity Lutheran with an immediate growth in membership.  

Rev. Belsheim became frustrated in his attempts to move the church to a better location, and resigned in 1915. He was succeeded by Rev. Richard M. Vordale. Vordale brought a burst of activities, designed to improve the morale of the congregation. By the time he resigned in 1921, the church membership had risen to over 600. Vordale was succeeded in 1921 by Rev. Oliver L.N. Wigdahl, who served until 1942. That tenure included the Great Depression, and Wigdahl considered compassion for the needy and unchurched a most important part of his ministry.

In 1943, Rev. Alvin N. Rogness became pastor at Trinity. It was under Rogness that membership soared and the current church was built. Within 6 weeks of Rogness’ arrival, the small facility at 5th St. S.E. and S. Penn. became too small to hold regular services. Arrangements were made for the free use of the Palace Theater, located at the present site of Southbridge Mall. Services were held there until 1950.

It was obvious that a new facility would need to be built. The present church site was purchased, and on May 14, 1950 the congregation held its first services in their new facility.

                
Rogness had his own radio program, and attracted a large number of listeners. Under Rogness, membership grew to almost 2,400. He served at Trinity until the end of 1951, with Rev. Roy Harrisville succeeding him. Harrisville designed a range of activities and programs to keep members busy. When Harrisville resigned in 1958, the congregation sought someone to lead in the building of a parish education unit. Rev. Lavern R. Hanson was installed April 20, 1958. Pastor Hanson served Trinity until 1984, his 26-year tenure being the longest of any pastor at Trinity. 
 
The cornerstone of the education unit was laid in 1960 with the construction of the three-story unit complete the following year.
 
Pastor Hanson was very active in the community, and the A.L.C. Under Hanson, Trinity’s membership continued to grow, until it reached nearly 4,000 in the early 1970’s. Rev. Delmar Jacobson took over as senior pastor of Trinity on December 1, 1984 and remained until June 1, 1991. Morris Wee filled in as interim pastor in 1991-1992 and John Rotto in 1992. Rev. Chris Hellevik, took over as senior pastor at Trinity on January 1, 1993 and served Trinity’s congregation until January 31, 2000. Rev. John W. Gannett served as Interim Senior Pastor from January of 2000 through August 19th of 2001.
Rev. James Magelssen served Trinity Lutheran Church as Senior Pastor from August 26, 2001 - May 20, 2012.   

Rev. Dan Gerrietts is currently serving as Trinity's Senior Pastor.

Trinity Lutheran Church * 213 N Pennsylvania Ave * Mason City * IA * 50401 * Ph 641-423-0536 * FX 641-424-4378
Worship Times: Sat. 5PM Sun 9:00AM 10:30AM