In 1836 construction of the first sawmill in Muskegon ushered in a new industry and a new era for Muskegon. Soon more mills sprang up around Muskegon Lake and the young town became a scene of bustling activity. Within a few years virtually the only industry in Muskegon was lumber. Mills lined the lake shore and the booming companies towed rafts of logs across Muskegon Lake night and day."
Many people were attracted to Muskegon where employment was easily found in the mills. Some of the early arrivals came from Germany and were of the Lutheran faith. Not being able to find a church of their faith in Muskegon, they met in homes where they prayed and sang together hoping God would send them a pastor."
Then came the year 1885. Grover Cleveland had just been inaugurated as our 22nd President. Mark Twain had just completed his book Huckleberry Finn. The dedication of the Statue of Liberty was yet a full year away. Muskegon museum pieces, the Hume and Hackley homes, were just in the planning stages, not to be completed until 1888 and 1889. Few were aware that a Lutheran congregation was about to be born.
Like most of our congregations, Trinity had a small beginning. After that small contingent of German Lutherans had met in private homes to worship and be strengthened in their faith during the early eighties, the Rev. J. C. Schliepsick of Caledonia came to the “sawmill-town” to preach the true Gospel to this small congregation of families. In 1885 under his leadership, from among those first Lutheran families which had gathered on the shores of Muskegon Lake, it pleased the Lord, the Head of the Church, to form a German Lutheran Christian congregation named Trinity.
It was on June 14th of that year that the first recorded baptism took place, a child by the name of Otto George Kass.
During those early years, three pastors from neighboring parishes came to break the Bread of Life to these Christian families. In addition to the Rev. J. C. Schliepsick of Caledonia, Rev. J. Frincke of Grand Rapids filled in for a few months during the vacancy after Pastor Schliepsick accepted a call. Rev. Schliepsicks successor, the Rev. Johannes Heid of Caledonia traveled to Muskegon to conduct worship services from May of 1888 until August of 1891.
For approximately the first seven years, worship services were held in private homes, a public hall, and in a Methodist church. The first services were originally conducted in the home of Dr. Reetz. When the numbers were too great for the homes they moved to the Brunswick Hall (above Runzels Store in Lakeside). Outgrowing that facility these early German Lutherans of Muskegon next worshipped in the Methodist church on the corner of Moon and Lakeshore Drive.
God blessed the work of those pioneer missionaries and that small band of faithful Lutheran Christians. In the fear of God and the faith that He would provide, the tiny congregation called Candidate Emmanuel Koestering. He was ordained and installed on August 23, 1891 as the first resident pastor of Trinity.
Pastor Koestering properly concluded the first thing necessary at his little mission was a building in which to assemble for worship. Accordingly, he went to work, and under his able leadership the congregation busied itself with the erection of its first house of worship. The new church was able be dedicated to the Glory of God as early as March 6, 1892.
excerpt from Rev. Herbert H. Graupner's book
A history of Trinity Lutheran Congregation Muskegon, Michigan 1885 - 1995