Trinity’s Pastors

Rev. August P. F. Hansen
November 18, 1906 to August 1907

On November 18, 1906, Rev. August Hansen of Pasadena conducted the first German Lutheran church service in San Bernardino. This service was held at the First Baptist Church. From that time on, church services for the San Bernardino mission were held once a month there in the afternoon with 20 to 40 people in attendance.

Rev. Hansen reported on the San Bernardino mission at a meeting in Orange, California, in 1907. Services needed to be held more often than once a month, and Pastor Hansen was not able to do this. He asked that a man be sent from the general synod assistance as soon as possible to win the people.

Rev. Theophil F. Haeuser
August 1907 to March 1908

In August 1907, Theophil F. Haeuser, a theological student of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, came to serve the San Bernardino and Upland missions as a supply preacher to the mission field. A Sunday school was started in San Bernardino the same year, which was a joy to young and old. In early 1908, Student Haeuser requested a release from the San Bernardino and Upland missions in order to return to the seminary.

Rev. Edward J. Rudnick
March 1908 to September 1914

Rev. Arthur Michael, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, arranged for the Mission Board of the California and Nevada District to call Rev. Edward J. Rudnick to the mission field in and around San Bernardino. The Service of Installation for Rev. Rudnick was held on March 29, 1908, at the First Baptist Church. Pastor Hansen assisted in the service, and brought the choir from his church in Pasadena.

On January 29, 1911, Pastor Rudnick was formally called by the congregation to serve as their pastor. The congregation requested that the Mission Board pay part of their pastor's salary, and also resolved that he be allowed to do missionary work in the outlying areas. These areas included the mission churches in Chino, Riverside, Redlands, and Banning. On September 13, 1914, Pastor Rudnick preached his farewell sermon. He had accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Ana.

Rev. William J. Lankow
September 1914 to November 1939

On September 13, 1914, Trinity congregation met and agreed to tender a call to Rev. William J. Lankow. Rev. Lankow had resigned his charge at Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Ana due to a throat ailment, and had been advised by doctors to move to a drier climate. He accepted Trinity's call, and the following Sunday, September 20, he was installed by Rev. Louis Achenbach of Riverside.

Throughout his ministry, Pastor Lankow had a vital interest in missionary work. He served the small Redlands mission for many years, and was also instrumental in establishing First Lutheran Church, Fontana, in 1930 (Trinity's first daughter congregation). He willingly gave of his time to serve isolated Lutherans in the desert areas, including Victorville, Barstow, Lancaster, Needles, and El Centro. In November 1939, after serving Trinity for 25 years, Pastor Lankow resigned due to ill health. (Rev. Lankow had the longest term of service of any pastor in San Bernardino at the time.)

Rev. R. Elmer Gunther
February 1940 to March 1950

In December 1939, the congregation extended a call to Rev. R. Elmer Gunther, from Hope congregation in Westcliffe, Colorado. Rev. Gunther accepted this call. Seminary Student Arthur Irmer of Orange led the worship services until the installation of Pastor Gunther on February 4, 1940.

In September 1946, Trinity's voters passed the following motion: "to extend our parish into the mountain areas to include Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear, and to pay expenses incurred in this work." Two months later Pastor Gunther conducted the first church service in Crestline. Pastor Gunther continued to provide leadership for the mission congregation.

Pastor Gunther was also instrumental in organizing Christ Lutheran Church, Redlands, in 1941 (Trinity's second daughter congregation), and St. John Lutheran Church, Colton, in 1944 (Trinity's third daughter congregation). In January 1968, Christ Lutheran merged with St. Mark's Lutheran (a struggling mission church in Redlands) and became Christ the King Lutheran Church.

In March 1950, Pastor Gunther resigned and accepted a call to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Norwalk. Rev. Harold M. Allison filled the pulpit until a new pastor could be installed.

Rev. Luther E. Schwartzkopf
September 1950 to February 1972

On September 10, 1950, Rev. Luther E. Schwartzkopf was installed as Trinity's fourth called pastor. Rev. Schwartzkopf began his ministry in 1945 as Missionary-at-Large in the Owens Valley. This parish encompassed a vast area, reaching into Inyo, Kern, Mono, and San Bernardino counties. His experimental traveling tent-trailer ministry led to the establishment of congregations at Ridgecrest and Bishop.

As pastor of Trinity, Pastor Schwartzkopf continued his interest in the mission fields. He provided leadership for the mission congregations in the mountain communities of Crestline and Lake Arrowhead in the early 1950's. With his guidance, Trinity also extended its parish into Highland (St. Paul Lutheran) and northeast San Bernardino (Peace Lutheran) in the 1960's. In 1974, St. Paul and Peace Lutheran merged and became Messiah Lutheran Church.

In February 1972, after over 21 years as Trinity's shepherd, Pastor Schwartzkopf resigned to become the Director for Arrowhead Lutheran Camp in the San Bernardino mountains.

Rev. Daryl C. Wildermuth
1959 to 1960
Assistant Pastor/Missionary-at-Large

In 1958 Trinity, together with the Mission Board, issued a call to Rev. Daryl Wildermuth to begin as Trinity's assistant pastor and from there to gradually plant a mission in the Highland area and become its pastor. Rev. Wildermuth accepted this call and in December 1958, he arrived in San Bernardino. His Commissioning Service as Missionary-at-Large took place at Trinity on January 19, 1959. By the end of 1960, St. Paul Lutheran congregation in Highland had officially organized (Trinity's fourth daughter congregation).

Rev. Curtis C. Stephan
July 1971 to December 1976
Assistant Pastor and Interim Pastor

Rev. Curtis C. Stephan was appointed assistant pastor in July 1971. He served the congregation as the interim pastor from February 1972 to August 1973. On The Day of Pentecost in May 1975, Pastor Stephan was honored for his 50 years of pastoral ministry at a Festival Service of Worship. After the installation of Pastor Rosenwald, he continued to serve Trinity in the capacity of assistant pastor until December 1976.

Rev. William P. Rosenwald
August 1973 to October 1978

On August 5, 1973, Rev. William P. Rosenwald, former pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Needles, was installed as Trinity's fifth called pastor. The Officiant for the service was Rev. Richard Faerber, the Circuit Counselor. Pastor Rosenwald ministered to Trinity until his resignation in October 1978. The duties of interim pastor were then filled by Rev. William S. Graumann, retired minister of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Riverside.

Rev. Martin R. Greunke
September 1979 to March 1987

Rev. Martin R. Greunke from Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Greenville, Michigan, accepted Trinity's call, and his installation took place on September 9, 1979. Rev. William Graumann was the Liturgist and Rev. Clarence Kindschy, the Officiant. The Preacher was Rev. Arthur Kollmeyer, under whose leadership Rev. Greunke had spent his vicarage year.

During Pastor Greunke's tenure, Trinity's 75th Anniversary was celebrated throughout the month of November 1981. Guest preachers who participated in the Sunday services and the Thanksgiving Eve service were Rev. Curtis Stephen, Rev. Martin Keck, Rev. William Rosenwald, Rev. Dr. Arnold Kuntz, Rev. Luther Schwartzkopf, Rev. Thomas Hirsch, and Rev. William Graumann. In March 1987, Pastor Greunke accepted a call from First Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.

Rev. Eugene L. Fenton, Jr.
March 1987 to December 2000

Rev. Eugene L. Fenton, Jr. served as vacancy pastor until he was formally called by the congregation. The Service of Installation was held on July 19, 1987. Rev. Eugene R. Paulus, the Circuit Counselor from Redlands, was the Officiant.

In 1995, under Pastor Fenton's tutelage, the congregation welcomed into its midst a Hispanic ministry led by Rev. Mark L. McKenzie, Missionary-at-Large, and assisted by Rev. David M. Stirdivant, a former member of Trinity.

One year later, on November 17, 1996, the 90th anniversary of Trinity's first church service was celebrated. Guest pastors who participated in the service were Rev. David Cecil, Rev. Thomas Hirsch, Rev. Steven Rice, and Rev. David Stirdivant. These ministers had all been confirmed at Trinity. Pastor Fenton retired in December 2000.

Rev. Martin L. Schroeder.
December 2000 to November 2006

When Pastor Fenton retired in December 2000, Rev. Martin L. Schroeder served as the interim pastor for three years. Pastor Schroeder had formerly served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Montclair for three years.

In October 2003 the congregation voted to call Rev. Schroeder as their minister in a part-time capacity. Rev. Martin Schroeder accepted Trinity's call, and the Service of Installation was held on February 8, 2004. Rev. John Juedes, from Messiah Lutheran Church in Highland, served as the Officiant.

During Pastor Schroeder's service to Trinity, the congregation celebrated its 100th Anniversary. Special guests for the celebration were Rev. William Rosenwald, Trinity's pastor from 1973 to 1978; Rev. Martin Greunke, Trinity's pastor from 1979 to 1987; and Rev. Dr. Thomas Hirsch, a son of our congregation. In November 2006, Pastor Schroeder left Trinity to move with his family to Michigan.

Rev. Jeffrey J. Johnson
November 2006 to present

Rev. Jeff Johnson was commissioned as a Deacon at Trinity on September 19, 2004. He was then called to serve Trinity in a part-time capacity after the departure of Pastor Schroeder. On May 22, 2007, Deacon Johnson was installed as a Pastoral Candidate, and in September 2007 he became Trinity's Vicar.

On Invocavit Sunday, March 13, 2011, Pastor-Elect Jeffrey Johnson was Ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry of Word and Sacrament. After his Ordination, Rev. Jeff Johnson was installed as Pastor of Trinity. The Presiding Minister was Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President of the Pacific Southwest District of the LCMS.