1966 to 1976
A Decade of Growth and Consolidation
The Church's One Foundation
Trinity began its second decade with thoughts again directed toward building. Its initial construction efforts in 1960/1961 sought to establish a new home for worship and Sunday School well within the financial wherewithal of the congregation. Spurred by continuing growth in the 1960s, Trinity in 1965 undertook a number of studies with the support of the LCA's Board of American Missions and Board of Parish Education. The purpose of the studies was to assess the viability of expansion on Old Georgetown Road. According to Pastor Weber in January 1966, "It will now remain the task of the congregation to act on the recommendations of the council regarding the commissioning of an architect, the capital funds program, the election of a building commission, and the adoption of the specific building plans." In May of 1966, the congregation accepted the master plan for new construction.
A successful pledge campaign yielded the financial basis thought necessary to procure a loan, but economic conditions required the church to tailor its plans to fit the more limited financing available. With the appropriate modifications to the plan made, Trinity procured the services of an architect and contractor with groundbreaking taking place on July 14, 1968. On May 4, 1969, Trinity once again dedicated new space for its expanding ministries. This time, four classrooms, two offices and a remodeled kitchen were finished.
From 1964 to 1966, Trinity experienced solid growth in both communing and confirmed members. Communing members increased from 217 to 277 in this period; confirmed members went from 295 to 351. In the late 1960s, growth continued to a point at which communing members exceeded 300 and confirmed members totaled nearly 420. Although the increased enrollments had served as the basis for renewed construction, Trinity's Litany of Dedication at its May 1969 Service of Dedication for the expanded building placed the matters in perspective:
But even as we have these treasures in earthen vessels, O Lord, and realize the necessity of adequate tools for the laborers to perform their task, we confess and proclaim that only by the Gift of Thy Holy Spirit, can we accomplish the assignment to be the Church of Christ.
In the early 1970s, church membership declined somewhat, but began rising again in the mid-1970s. In his 1976 Pastor's Report, Pastor Weber described a "congregation on the move." His analysis of ten years of congregational membership showed a net growth of about 10 percent in that period, but noted what has become a significant characteristic of our area and the impact that it has on our church. That characteristic is one of transience.
Our capital city and its government, military, and research establishments draw many to the area. We are blessed by the many people who make Trinity their home, attracted for career reasons to Washington. At the same time, with the completion of appointments and tours of duty, and with career development opportunities that unfold for many of us, including from our own family, we lose members, too. So many of them have made Trinity a special place. We wish our absent friends well.
A Snapshot of Trinity's Ministries in its Second Decade
Trinity's second decade witnessed a period of growth and consolidation in its social ministry. In 1965, Trinity's annual reports made first mention of the Social Ministries Committee. By 1972, the Committee had attained a line item in the annual budget alongside other benevolence contributions. That year, the committee's report cited Trinity's programs: commitments to a Rockville program help the needy, continued support for its new program to provide clothing and household items for Appalachia, sponsorship of a monthly party for children at the Laurel Children's Center, an ongoing hunger drive to aid Lutheran Social Services, and increased awareness to local low cost housing needs.
Given the importance that Trinity's Appalachia program has assumed over the years, it is worth quoting from a 1973 report on Appalachia:
Members and friends from Trinity made twenty-five trips during the year to Jollett Hollow and Comertown, Virginia: four by van, five by one ton truck, and the rest by car...Lazarus Shoe Store in Bethesda donated over 800 pairs of good and some new shoes throughout the year to our project. For this we are grateful. Shoes were distributed to Stanley Elementary School; the Stamp & Food Surplus Distributing Center in Stanley, Virginia; Shenandoah Elementary School in Shenandoah, Virginia; and people in the immediate valleys.
Trinity's program's were not confined to social ministry. The vibrant music ministry so important to the Trinity of today had its roots in the 1960s and 1970s, as evinced by a report offered by 1970, remarking that "during the past year the members of Trinity have heard and participated in quite a lot of new music." This included several cantatas performed by the choir and a host of musical accompaniments and performances from instruments ranging from organ and guitar to recorder and flute.
A commitment to Christian education was evident in Trinity, too. Trinity members worked hard to provide a well-rounded program to adults and young people. Central to the vision of the Church was the commitment to offer instruction in the Christian faith and spiritual, social and service-type experiences and projects for the children and youth of Trinity. Although the numbers of young people participating in these programs varied, the commitment of Trinity's teachers remained constant.
As Trinity concluded its second decade, its Stewardship Committee looked ahead, unwilling to rest on the laurels of sustained programs and stable membership. Reported the Committee:
This is an important year for us all. We have goals to meet. We have lots of challenges ahead, and with them there is opportunity. Let us make the most of them.