Trinity’s Church Locations
November 18, 1906 to August 1908
Services held at First Baptist Church, Fourth and G Streets
On November 18, 1906, Rev. August Hansen from Pomona conducted the first German Lutheran church service in San Bernardino. This service was held at the First Baptist Church located at Fourth and G Streets. From that time on, church services were held once a month there in the afternoon with 20 to 40 people in attendance. Services were held in German, and the attendance averaged 25 to 30 per Sunday.
August 1908 to March 1914
Portable chapel at Sixth and Catick Streets
Dedicated on August 9, 1908
In April 1908, Pastor Edward Rudnick attended the Pastoral and Teacher Conference of Southern California in San Diego. There he spoke to the Lutheran brothers about the San Bernardino mission and the lack of their own building in which to worship. Pastor Rudnick explained that, with so few members, there would be no hope of purchasing a lot and building even a modest chapel.
A committee was then appointed to investigate the cost of purchasing a "practical and modern contrivance," a portable chapel, for San Bernardino which could later be used at other mission stations. By July 1908, enough money had been collected from congregations in the Los Angeles area, and a chapel was ordered from the Ducker Portable House Company of New York.
The question of where to erect the chapel was solved when two members of the San Bernardino mission church offered to purchase a lot in their own names on the northwest corner of Sixth and Catick Streets (now Crescent Avenue). At a later date, the property would be sold to the church. Several members advanced money for the furnishing of the chapel, including chairs and an organ. The pulpit, altar, and baptismal font were given by another member. (The baptismal font is on display in the LCMS Pacific Southwest District Archives in Irvine.)
The unassembled chapel arrived by trucks on Tuesday, August 4, 1908. By Saturday evening, August 8, it was completely assembled and painted. The chapel could accommodate 100 people and measured 25' by 32', including the narthex and a back room. It was the smallest church in San Bernardino.
March 1914 to June 1949
First permanent church building at Sixth and Catick (Crescent) Streets
Dedicated on March 1, 1914
Five years after the dedication of the portable chapel, the growing congregation decided that a new church building was both necessary and desirable. This was agreed upon by Pastor Rudnick and the congregation at a meeting in December 1912. After several months, enough pledges had been obtained, and a resolution to erect a new edifice passed unanimously. The black granite cornerstone for the new church was laid on October 19, 1913.
By early January 1914, the church building had been completed. The dedication was scheduled for January 18, but due to an unforeseen delay in the arrival of some of the church furniture, the dedication was postponed until February 22. A second postponement became necessary when a severe storm caused widespread flooding and wreaked havoc with railroad transportation, making it impossible for the scheduled speakers to reach San Bernardino. The day of the dedication of the new church finally took place on March 1, 1914.
The new church had been beautifully decorated for the dedication with calla lilies, ferns, and smilax (green-briar). It had a Gothic-style altar and an artistic little pulpit, both of which had been built by several men of the congregation. The art glass windows and transoms were beautifully designed and rich in color, and there were comfortable opera chairs in imitation Circassian walnut with seating for 200 people. This church at Sixth Street and Crescent Avenue stands to the present day.
June 1949 to June 1961
Church at 29th Street and Arrowhead Avenue
Dedicated on June 5, 1949
Trinity's congregation continued to grow, and the decision was made to relocate. At a special meeting held in June 1944, the Voters Assembly approved the purchase of three lots on the southwest corner of 29th Street and Arrowhead Avenue. By December 1948 the congregation had accepted a bid from a San Bernardino contractor for construction of the new parish hall/chapel.
In September 1948, Trinity received an offer from the English District of the LCMS to purchase the church at Sixth Street and Crescent Avenue. The English District would be establishing a mission church there. This offer was unanimously accepted.
The Ground Breaking Ceremony was held on February 13, 1949. The last service at the old church took place on Good Friday evening, April 15, 1949. Redeemer Lutheran Church would begin having services there on Easter Sunday. Trinity then held services at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 9th Street and Mt. View Avenue, until the new building was completed.
The Mediterranean Spanish-style parish hall/chapel contained a parish hall with seating for 280 people, a fireside room for meetings, a kitchen, and an education section with nine classrooms. The chancel furnishings were constructed of Philippine mahogany. Behind the altar was a crimson dossal curtain. In front of the altar was a second crimson curtain that could be drawn closed when the hall was being used for purposes other than church services. The stage portion of the parish hall would serve as the chancel for worship services until the sanctuary building could be constructed.
June 1961 to Present
Church at 29th and E Streets
Dedicated on June 3, 1961
Church membership had grown rapidly in the 1950s, but there was insufficient land to build the sanctuary as originally planned. A city ordinance that required off-street parking, coupled with the inability to acquire adjoining property, made it necessary for the congregation to build a new church facility elsewhere. In April 1955, the voters approved the purchase of properties between 29th and 30th Streets, and between E and F Streets. In August 1958 the Building Committee reported that the final lot had been obtained for the new church.
The architect selected to design the buildings was Mr. Culver Heaton of Pasadena. At a special voters meeting on June 17, 1960, the bid from Hoefer Construction Company of Fontana was unanimously accepted. The Ground Breaking Service took place on Sunday, June 26, 1960, and construction of the church buildings began on August 1, 1960. By December the delicate 50-foot fleche (spire) with a 12-foot gold cross was hoisted atop the sanctuary.
By early February 1961, church services were being held in the nearly-completed parish hall. The parish hall featured a stage for programs, a fully-equipped kitchen, a fireside room, and folding partitions which could divide the hall into sections for Sunday school classes. In 1981 an addition was added onto the parish hall to provide more room for classrooms and offices.
The sanctuary contained a small prayer chapel with a wall of chipped glass, a cantilevered balcony, a bride's room, sacristy, and the pastor's study. To the right of the beautiful Cerrara marble altar was a 14-foot free-standing cross, inlaid with gold glass tile. The dedication stone was placed at the foot of the cross. The reredos (panel behind the altar) was made of Dazzi tile (polished Italian stone) upon which would hang the sculptured symbols of the Holy Trinity. A striking mosaic sculpture of the Victorious Christ was mounted on the outside window area over the main entrance.