Trinity is a strong, vibrant, energetic congregation of God's people that has been abundantly blessed through its history. In 2007 we celebrate our 125th Anniversary. During this milestone period we reflect on our heritage and look forward to our future. We give God thanks for all of the blessings he has bestowed on our congregation and we ask for his guidance as we work to strengthen our Discipleship. We look to the future with great anticipation and a strong desire to continue to serve the Lord. We invite you to join us as we work to further our mission for our members, our community, and all of God's people.

Trinity is one of the oldest Lutheran Churches inMassachusetts.Our history traces its origins directly back to the settlement of Swedes who migrated to this region, in the 1870's.

In the late 1870's the few Swedish emigrants who had settled in the greater Lowell area began to meet as a congregation to worship God as Lutherans. Previous to this time, they had attended some of the other Protestant churches in the area such as the First Presbyterian Church on Appleton Street, the Primitive Methodist Church on Gorham Street, and St. Johns Episcopal Church on Gorham Street.

Gradually, lay leaders such as Martin E. Pihl, Anton W. Soderberg, and Martin Ahlberg emerged to organize this congregation into a viable Church of God. The first organization, called the Swedish Lutheran Society of Lowell, Mass., met on December 6, 1879 with 28 members present and elected Anton W. Soderberg as president.

On May 22, 1882 this Swedish Lutheran Society was re-organized as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran of Lowell, Massachusetts. On August 1, 1882 the church was incorporated under the statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with Anton W. Sondberg elected as secretary-clerk. Martin Ahlberg, Charles Beausang, and Martin Pihl were elected deacons with Peter Ohlson, August Person, and Anders Thomasson elected as trustees. After two years, a lot on Meadowcroft Street in Lowell, near the Boston and Lowell Railroad, and Salem and Lowell Railroad, was purchased.

In the summer of 1885, the contract for the building of the church was given to Mr. E. G. Baker with a bid of $3,573.00. The church was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 10, 1886 by the Rev. E. E. Lindberg of Brooklyn, who was president of the New York Conference. At the time of the dedication, there were 130 adult members. C. A. Bloomgren, a student, was the first pastor.

Meadowcroft Street, Lowell

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Pastors of Trinity Lutheran Church
Student Gustaf Rast - December, 1881 to Fall, 1882 *
Student J. A. Norlin - Fall, 1882 to May, 1883 *
Rev. A. Malstrom - June, 1883 to June, 1884 *
Student John F. Seedorf - December, 1884 to August 1885 *
Student Carl A Blomgren - October, 1885 to June, 1887 *

* No photo

Rev. Lars H. Beck - July, 1887 to August, 1889

In July of 1887 the first ordained minister, the Rev. Lars H. Beck, came after his ordination and led the congregation for two years. He contributed much to the physical and spiritual growth of the church. In December of 1888 there were 192 adult members with an average attendance of 142 at the morning services and 105 at the evening services.


Rev. J. V. Soderman - September, 1889 to June, 1897

The Rev. J. V. Soderman became pastor in September of 1889. He was a strong preacher of sin and forgiveness through grace and many young people were received into the church during his ministry. In 1891 a parsonage costing $2,500.00 was built on Meadowcroft Street.


Rev. J. W. Eckman - October, 1897 to October, 1902

In October of 1897, the Rev. J. W. Eckman came and remained as pastor for five years.


Rev. P. E. Aslev - April, 1903 to March, 1909

After a period of division among some of the members, the Rev. P. E. Aslev, from Vermont, was called. His kind and humane personality was instrumental in healing many of the divisive wounds which had been inflicted in the past. During his stay, Frank E. Lindquest of Concord, N. H. was hired as organist and choir director and did much to bring an appreciation of fine religious music to the church. He was a good leader for young people as well as a good lay preacher and Bible teacher.


Rev. S. F. Hammarlof - November, 1909 to November, 1914

In November of 1909, the Rev. S. F. Hammerlof was called to serve as pastor of the church. Previous to this time, all services in the church, including the Sunday School, were in Swedish. Pastor Hammerlof dared to recommend having some English in the Sunday Church School, a separate English confirmation class, and some English worship services. These ideas were thought too radical and nothing was done about changing the language.


Rev. P. E. Nordgren - November, 1915 to July, 1943

In the year 1914, after Rev. Hammerlof's departure, the Rev. Peter E. Nordgren came to begin his long ministry of almost twenty eight years. At the annual meeting of January, 1916, women were first given the right to vote but only 14 of them availed themselves of this great privilege.


For many years, a large portion of the annual church expenses was supplied by the church societies by cake sales, suppers, etc. The church members were assessed monthly dues of 50 cents. In 1917 the dues system was dropped and a free will contribution system, for the church and mission, was adopted. The church membership, however, did not contribute nearly enough to meet expenses and the church societies had to fill in.

In 1920 the first English class in the Sunday Church School was held and the first English worshipservice was held amidst wild opposition of the more conservative members. One service a month was held in English thereafter.

In 1923, the New England Conference held its annual convention in Lowell. By now the choir, under the leadership of Miss Mildred Anderson, became the first vested choir in the Boston District. This choir was always in demand to sing at District functions as well as at various churches in the greater Lowell area.

In 1942, Rev. Nordgren was forced to resign in order to comply with the new constitution as he was 71 years of age. The church, however, called him for another year while they issued a call for a new pastor. 


Rev. Carl F. Danielson - October, 1943 to September, 1945

A bright young theological student, named Rev. Carl F. Danielson, became pastor after his ordination in 1943. By this time, the church had grown to 219 members. At this time the Swedish language was dropped entirely as a vehicle in the worship services. One of Pastor Danielson's first acts of business was to organize the system of free will pledges to replace the older system of contributions from the church societies.


Rev. Edwin S. Carlon - June, 1946 to July, 1949

The Rev. Danielson left in October of 1945 and the Rev. Edwin S. Carlon arrived in January of 1946 to serve for three years. After he left, there was a vacancy of two years during which time lay leaders of the church held the congregation together. 


Rev. Gordon S. Nelson - June, 1951 to February, 1956

In June of 1951 the Rev. Gordon S. Nelson served as pastor after his ordination. He brought a sense of unity with Christ to the membership of the church. After five years of steady growth, during which time the possibility of relocating the church was studied, Pastor Nelson left to answer a call in Newington Connecticut. 


Rev. Richard L. Thulin - August, 1957 to 1963

On August 1, 1957, the Rev. Richard L. Thulin arrived soon after his ordination. He brought a sense of return to theology as a means of re-discovering the true Christ to the church. He was instrumental in bringing adult education into Trinity, Lowell. It was during his service to our church that the new hymnal was introduced in 1958 and that the Lutheran Church in America was organized in 1962.


In 1959 the congregation finally agreed that a new location was necessary if the church was to be effective in the greater Lowell area and in 1960 some sixteen acres of land was purchased in Chelmsford off Old Westford Road and Grandview Road. A building committee, chaired by Arthur Frank, commenced this arduous undertaking together with the entire congregation. The cornerstone was laid in 1962 and the edifice was completed in the spring of 1964 with the first service held on Easter Sunday. The Building was properly dedicated on Sunday, April 12, 1964.

Previous to this event however, Pastor Thulin had accepted a call to the inner city area of New Haven, Connecticut in early 1964. 


Rev. Luther Lindberg - February, 1964 - May, 1968

A call went out to the Rev. Luther Lindberg who came in the spring of 1964 just prior to the completion of the new church building. The Rev. Lindberg brought a sense of Christian education for all ages to Trinity Lutheran Church in Chelmsford and under his stimulation our Sunday Church School grew in both quantity and quality. He left in the Spring of 1968 to serve in an administrative post at the LCA in Philadelphia as a Christian educator. 


Rev. Orville Lind - September, 1968 to June, 2000

In the fall of 1968 a young pastor with a young family was called from Connecticut and he came to guide the destinies of the church for  three decades. Both Pastor Orville Lind and his wife, Donna, brought to Trinity Lutheran Church in Chelmsford an awareness of social needs as exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ. He viewed the Church as the outstretched arm and hand of God ready to help all peoples who have need of both earthly and heavenly sustenance. "Come into me you who are in need of help, and I will give you rest", became the watch word of Trinity Lutheran in Chelmsford under Pastor Lind. Pastor Lind retired after 32 years of faithful service at Trinity in June, 2000. 


Rev. Pat Christe - July, 2000 to September, 2002

During the interim period of two years, our ministry continued with the care and guidance of  Pastor Patrica Christe. The congregation spent time adjusting to life without the Lind's, and looking ahead to call a new minister. Pastor Criste was instrumental in the Revisioning process, the formation of active committees and the ongoing mission at Trinity. We began the call process in January of 2002.


Rev. David Rinas - October, 2002 to June, 2016

On Reformation Sunday, October 2002, Trinity welcomed a new pastor to our flock. Pastor David Rinas brought 25 years of experience to Trinity from a diverse background of congregational and community service. During his time at Trinity, Pastor Rinas enjoyed being a pastor and worked with the ELCA World Hunger Appeal, the Refugee Immigration Ministry, Habitat for Humanity, and the Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance.  He made several mission trips to Honduras. Pastor Rinas retired in June 2016 after serving Trinity for 13 years.

Page revised 16 Nov 2011 - Reformatted 18 Nov 2014
Revised 24 Mar 2017 (BC/KM)




History of Trinity Lutheran Church as recorded by congregation members

Trinity History











Trinity History Timeline



© 2018 | Trinity Lutheran Church | 170 Old Westford Rd. | Chelmsford, MA |  ELCA



In 2014, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our church building in Chelmsford. 

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Marking the 50th anniversary of the building dedication, Trinity members comment on the history of the building, construction pictures and some special artwork.


Chelmsford Church



Trinity Lutheran Church was once located in a section of Lowell known as "Swede Village". 
Organized in 1882, the church served the Swedish immigrants who lived in that neighborhood. Over the years, as the membership moved away from the Lowell neighborhood into the suburbs, the church saw the opportunity for mission in the Chelmsford area.


As we followed our members to Chelmsford, we discovered new resources and opportunities for witness and growth. The building of a new church gave us the occasion to ask ourselves what it is that we believe, and to use that understanding as the basis for planning our building.







The Lutheran church embraces the long tradition of Christian worship which we celebrate in the liturgy each Sunday morning. As we worship, the pastor, lay assistants, choir, and congregation all participate in word and song, joining their voices in praise to their creator. Liturgical worship is at the same time reverent and welcoming, inviting all to become part of our fellowship. Our architecture and furnishings support our worship.


From the time of Martin Luther, the Lutheran church has placed a strong emphasis on education. Lifelong learning is encouraged, and numerous opportunities for growing in faith are offered for both children and adults: Sunday church school, confirmation classes, vacation church school, adult forums, music ministries, and small group studies.





The hallmark of Lutheran faith is that humans become reconciled to their creator through faith in the grace of God shown to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our worship, our education, and our devotional lives are centered around this central teaching. The written symbols of the faith, such as creeds and confessions, and the visual symbols, such as the cross, the baptismal font, and the altar, all bear witness to the God who comes to us in Christ, invites us into fellowship with God and with one another, and molds us through the Spirit into a new community of faith.



As we planned how the visual symbols of the faith in our worship space could express our belief, we considered the Lutheran teaching that the church exists when two conditions are present: when the Word of God is preached in its truth and purity, and when the Sacraments are administered rightly. These are the two ways in which God comes to us, and the pulpit and altar are visual expressions of that belief. Symbolically, then, by giving them equal visual weight, we are expressing the conviction that God comes to us in both Word and Sacrament. The pulpit and altar are placed where they point to the cross, which remains the central focus of worship.
As far as we are able to tell, this is the first time the altar and the pulpit have been placed in the twin positions they assume in our chancel. Traditionally, the altar is central, pointing out the important place of the sacrament of Holy Communion, and the altar is surmounted by the cross as the focal point of worship. In this same tradition, the pulpit is off to the side.


As we sat down to determine how to put into form what we believe, we saw the altar (symbolic of the Word of God) and the pulpit (symbolic of the sacramental presence of God) as being means of God's grace or ways in which Christ comes to men (it might even be said that these are man's most effective ways of coming to God). Thus we have placed the altar and pulpit in positions where they "point to" or "lead up to" the cross. 


Martin Luther said that the church is where the Word of God is preached in its truth and purity and where the Sacraments are administered accordingly. And so we have tried to be completely Lutheran in our expression of what the church is.



Another manner of looking at the position of altar and pulpit is that in such positioning we tried to incorporate the best parts of two traditions; namely, that the pulpit should be central (as in most Reformed congregation) because it represents God speaking to us, and that the altar should be central (the liturgical tradition) because it speaks of the actual presence of God.


The cross is probably the most unusual part of the entire church. Why were we so unconventional? The cross is a part of the chancel furnishing of the church, and as such had to be designed to fit in with the building in which it is to be housed. A traditional cross of two members would be lost in the dominant verticals of the redwood and the horizontals of the stained glass, and we didn't want the cross to be lost, because it is the most important symbol in our worship. Again, we looked at what we believe.



We believe that the cross is a living thing; that our faith in the cross of Christ must be growing; it must never be static. We believe that the cross of Christ is a tree of life for all people of faith. We believe that the cross is not and never will be easy to see amid the confusion and distractions of the world; it is always there, but it is not always visible. We believe that the cross is never viewed in exactly the same way by any two people; thus our cross has a second plane and a third dimension, and does not look the same from any two seats in the nave. We believe that the cross must be central in Christian worship and faith; this is why it dominates our chancel and is made of precious and expensive metals: bronze and silver. We believe that the cross, far from being detached from the soil on which we walk, is grounded in the soil of the church: that it springs forth as a solid, immovable expression of God's hand reaching down and touching the soil on which we walk and the world in which we live.


Our cross expresses to us the length and breadth and depth of our faith. As early as Genesis 3 the "tree of life" is the symbol used for everlasting life. Christ spoke of himself as the "vine" to which all believers are attached as "branches"-drawing their very life from him. And the book of Revelation in the New Testament gives us a vision of the New Jerusalem, where the tree of life provides healing to the nations. The early Christian church often represented the cross of Christ as a growing, leafing tree, providing salvation to all of creation.


Our cross expresses to us the length and breadth and depth of our faith. As early as Genesis 3 the "tree of life" is the symbol used for everlasting life. Christ spoke of himself as the "vine" to which all believers are attached as "branches"-drawing their very life from him. And the book of Revelation in the New Testament gives us a vision of the New Jerusalem, where the tree of life provides healing to the nations. The early Christian church often represented the cross of Christ as a growing, leafing tree, providing salvation to all of creation.

The candelabra, in like manner, carry out the idea of life. More specifically, they speak of the light of Christ that gives meaning to life.





It has been said that our baptismal font is so near the entrance that someone who didn't know where he or she was going might run into it. This is precisely the idea. The font is placed near the entrance so that everyone who enters might be reminded that this is the way one enters the Christian life: through Holy Baptism. Baptisms are conducted during the service of worship so that the congregation will have the opportunity of being sponsors or godparents for the child. We are reminded that baptism is not an individual event; we are baptized into the Body of Christ, the whole Christian church.



The font, as well as the pulpit and altar, are made of Chelmsford granite to symbolize an offering of the surrounding environment to our Lord.


Our windows, imported from Germany and France, make us aware of our connections to the world-wide church of Christ. Those near the baptismal font, illuminated during the morning hours, bear the colors of the morning sky, reminding us that our Christian life begins in baptism. The side windows are brilliant blues, speaking of God's warmth and strength, which follow us through our days. The chancel windows, illuminated in the evening, are deep reds, reminding us of God's loving action toward us in the cross of Christ. As we worship, we are surrounded by signs of God's presence, new every morning, different each day.






Newspaper clippings (click for full view)

null  Cornerstone

null  Steeple 

Revised 11-Aug-2000 Juliet Bongfeldt
Reformattted 22-Mar-2009 Karl Molander
Reformattted 19-Nov-2014 Karl Molander






                                                                The Mural in the Lowell Church

Click to enlarge

The mural - a reproduction shown to the left - was part of the worship space at the Swedish Lutheran Church,
which was later to be known as the Trinity Lutheran Church, in Lowell, MA,
before the church moved to
Chelmsford, MA.

Click to enlarge

Above, and to the right, 
you see the original worship space.
This is the way the sanctuary looked,
you can see the altar, and the Mural.


A photograph associated with the Lowell Church.
Three people, sitting on the back porch with a dog. Unremarkable until you see the back of the picture:

To the right
is the back of the picture.
Below is the transcribed text:


Property of Mrs Robert W Berntson, at 62 Pawtucket Ave. Lowell, Mass

The dog is a King Charles Spaniel, named Duffy, (Duffan)

Mr. & Mrs Anders Thomasson donors of the Resurrection Mural at Swedish Lutheran Church on Meadowcroft Street, Lowell, around 1900. They were sailing back from Sweden when the ship struck an iceberg, but they where saved. The mural was a "thanksgiving gift"

Other lady in the rear is Louise Pihl, sister to Rosalie, Johan and Victor

"Farbror" Thomasson was an apothecary (apotekare, trained in Sweden) and had a drug store at 260 Central St, Lowell, Mass. Their home was in the rear, - #262, where this picture was taken. "Faster" Adelaide (Pihl) Thomasson died at Old Peoples Home, (Lutheran)  in Worchester, Mass.

Editors Notes:
"Farbror"; Swedish for Uncle - also frequently used by young persons addressing an older person, not necessarily related to them.
"Faster"; Swedish for Aunt
Page updated 15 Nov 2011 - revised 18 Nov 2014