At the corner of Park Ave. and 121st St., a modest sign Trinity Lutheran Church, signalling the church services they hold every Sunday morning. When you approach the large brick building behind the sign, you feel small as you crane your neck toward the bell that sits atop the steeple. Its chime echoes through the air upon the hour, greeting and ushering you inside. You walk to the heavy oak doors; the cold handles are smooth in your hand. As the doors open, the hard exterior melts into a forest of green carpet. The air is filled with gentle conversation.
The church advertises other events on a large calendar categorized by Bible Study, Food Delivery, Memorial Services and Board Meetings. Bible Study can either refer to Bible groups with various types of focuses or worship services that happen every Sunday. Food Delivery focuses on the Food Pantry that offers food to the community three days a week and Emergency Food Network deliveries that delivers food to the church. Memorial Services are connected to the church’s cemetery located on 8th Ave. These services provide discounted funerals to those who can’t afford them otherwise. Board Meetings are for planning congregation events. With the members participating in service throughout the area Parkland, the Trinity Lutheran community lives by their philosophy: feeding the Mind, Body and Soul.
As the church is celebrating its 100th year in 2019, they have been a constant part of the community since the founding of Parkland. They have seen the area grow and change from rural to suburban to urban neighborhood. In recent years, as Parkland has seen an increase in poverty and food insecurity, Trinity Lutheran has taken steps to become even more involved by providing food and helpful opportunities to the surrounding area.
As you leave the building through the same oak doors, the handle now feels warm in your grasp. The bell sounds again as you breathe in the fresh air outside, but now the ringing holds additional meaning. The bell serves as a reminder that the church not only stands as a historic landmark, but also as a Parkland institution growing and adapting to the needs of an ever-changing community.