Church History

Early in 1961 the English District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod purchased a 10-acre site on South 12th Avenue for $35,000.  In July of that year Rev. Lynn Rittman was commissioned as Missionary-at-Large.  As a result both Ascension Lutheran Church on the north side of Tucson and our Holy Trinity Congregation were established.  The first Holy Trinity Worship Service was held at Mission Manor School on July 16, 1961 with an attendance of 59 including 33 adults and 26 children.

Rev. Rittman served our congregations from July 1961 to May 1963.   Rev. Leland R Larson was installed as the second pastor of Holy Trinity on June 16, 1963. Ground was broken for a church building on October 6, 1963 and the new building was dedicated on March 29, 1964.   By the end of 1967 Holy Trinity had 190 communing members and 270 baptized members.

Rev. Lynn Rittman, Rev. Leland R Larson, Rev. Alvin T Klug, Rev. Phillip B Kelley

 Rev. Phillip B Kelley

The next pastor, the Rev. Alvin T Klug was installed on January 12, 1969.  He retired in 1979.   Rev. Phillip B Kelley arrived in Tucson from New York and was installed as Pastor on 9 September 1979. The 25th Anniversary of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was celebrated on November 2, 1986.  Participating in the service were Pastors Alvin T Klug, Pastor Phillip Kelley, Pastor Leland Larson, and Pastor Borneman who was President of the English District – Missouri Synod in 1961 when Holy Trinity began. Pastor Kelley concluded his ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on January 15, 1995.

Deacon David Poedel assumed the pastoral care of the congregation.  Later that year Pastor Poedel was ordained and formally installed as Pastor.

Pastor Poedel wondered “Why isn’t this a Hispanic Ministry?”  He was familiar with Tucson after many years as a paramedic and college professor at Pima Community College and knew the area was more than 98 percent Hispanic but the congregation was 100 percent Anglo.   In 2001 with the help of area churches and the Arizona South Circuit, funding for a Hispanic pastor was available.

Rev. David  Poedel

Pastor Esaúl Salomón and

      Vicar Emanuel Soto 

A call was issued to Pastor Esaul Salomón, and he arrived on Good Friday 2002 and began canvassing the neighborhood. This provided the beginning of our Hispanic congregation, Iglesia Luterana Santa Trinidad.  On December 9, 2002 there was a special joint service with Pastor Poedel preaching in English and Pastor Salomón translating into Spanish. There were some 200 souls in attendance from the English and Spanish communities. Pastor Solomón left our church early in 2004 after 23 months and went to serve a congregation in California.  Following his departure, Pastor Poedel worked with the English District to find a new seminary graduate who was bilingual.

On August 1, 2004 Rev. Steve Deombeleg was installed as Pastor.  He was very involved in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and working to help families with Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, etc.   He lead a march to canvas the neighborhood, passing out several thousand invitations to attend church.  A division of the Pima County Juvenile Justice Board met at the church and worked to divert young first offenders from a life of crime.

In 2009 a new ‘Palm Tree” towered over the church with a new AT&T cell tower.  Pastor Deombeleg was called to a new church and left Holy Trinity in May 2011.

Rev. Steve Deombeleg

Rev. Garry D McClure &

Rev. John Upton

Pastor John Upon, a retired pastor and one of our members was asked to be our Pastor with Pastor Garry McClure as our Hispanic Outreach Pastor.   Under Pastor McClure’s guidance the Hispanic worship continues to grow. Holy Trinity celebrated its 50th Anniversary in November 2011 with a joint worship service with Pastor Upton preaching and Pastor McClure translating into Spanish.

In 2021 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church sold its property on 12th Avenue and purchased property on Ajo Avenue to build a new facility. We rented property on Western Way Circle at Tucson Estates until our church building can be build. In September 2021 we began worship service there.

Iglesia Lutheran Santa Trinidad Church, under Pastor Nick Wirtz and Pastor Garry McClure moved the Hispanic Congregation to Faith Lutheran Church, 3935 E Fifth Street in Tucson. Rev. Wirtz will be welcomed to service of Thanksgiving and Praise on September 12, 2021 at Faith Lutheran Church.