Trinity Lutheran Church
The First Hundred Years
September 11, 1911 – September 11, 2011
In the early 1900's, Scandinavians moved to a small community at the top of Idaho called Bonner's Ferry. The husbands worked at the Bonner's Ferry Lumber Mill, located east of the town on an island in the Kootenai River called “Swede” Island. At the time, it was the largest lumber mill in the world. While the husbands were working, the wives got together and started a Lutheran Ladies Aide. They would gather for Bible study, service and fellowship, much as the women of Trinity Lutheran Church do today. Out of those meetings came the goal of building a church. Trinity Lutheran Church was built on Oak Street in Bonners Ferry. The original location is now a vacant lot where many baseball games have been played, located near the old Fry Auditorium, a part of the old, old high school in Bonner's Ferry. The Lutheran Church received its charter and held its first service on a sunny late summer day with the original services held in Norwegian. The date was September 11, 1911. The church membership grew and they purchased the Christian Church next door for extra space. Smorgasbords complete with Lutefisk and Lefse became part of the tradition of the Church. When the Methodist ladies at the downwind end of the block offered to help, they were given the lutefisk to cook. A Smorgasbord is a buffet style Scandinavian celebratory meal with multiple dishes where guests can help themselves from a range of dishes laid out for their choice. After years of high water damage from flooding of the Kootenai River, the Church bought land on Cody Street high above the Kootenai River on the south hill of Bonner's Ferry and built a new church, moving into the building in 1956, with the
sanctuary dedication in 1961.
In 1983, plans began to expand the church. In June of 1984. just two days before the contracts were to be signed, the sanctuary was destroyed by fire! New plans were drawn up and the building began. United Methodist Church of Bonner's Ferry offered their church for Lutheran services which continued throughout the rebuilding of the church. The present church was dedicated on June 9, 1985.
Lutherans in Boundary County have survived many catastrophes over the last 100 years-from the flooding, Wars including the last American Indian war in the 1970's, mills shutting down, fires, martial law during the Ruby Ridge standoff, and high unemployment rates. Through it all, Trinity Lutheran Church has continued to work to be God’s hands, for our members, our community and our world. Some current projects of the church include: the prayer shawl ministry, making over 300 quilts annually for people around the world, missionary sponsorship, a Vacation Bible School program with the Methodist and Nazarene Churches, a Parish nurse, reading groups, Circle, serving funeral meals and desserts, providing community garden plots, running the TLC Child Center in the old parsonage, providing a meeting place for Boy Scouts, AA and “Lost & Found” groups, providing practice space and music leadership of groups of all ages which perform locally and internationally, a chime choir, a Mother’s Day dinner by dads and a Father’s Day dinner by moms, a pancake feed by the men of the Church, providing shelter on an emergency basis to the homeless or stranded, contributing to the food bank, recycling and the latest project know as the Bo-Co Program, started this year for Boundary County families, where children of needy families at one of the County’s schools are given a backpack with food on the last day of school each week to help families make it through the weekend without going hungry. The Church is working on getting community groups involved to expand this project. As the world’s needs change, so change the projects the church undertakes. We are so much more than our building. We look forward to continuing to be the hands of God as we continue our ministry to our members, our community and our world over the next 100 years!
At Trinity Lutheran Church, we inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds to bring the Lord Almighty into their lives at every moment - moments of joy, moments of despair, and even those moments in between. We are committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and are here to spread His message with loving patience and kindness. Contact us