The history of Trinity Lutheran Church in Altenburg states that it was during the time when Rev. P. Roesener was their pastor that permission was given to have a Christmas tree placed inside the church sanctuary. Pastor Roesener served the church here in Altenburg from 1889-1901, so it was sometime during that era that Christmas trees began to be seen in the interior of this church.
We have collected some photos that have been taken over the years inside Trinity Lutheran Church. As you look at photos taken at different times, you can notice the changes that have taken place within this church over the years. This first photo is the oldest one we found with the church being decorated for Christmas.
There is an item in this photo which continues to be a part of our museum’s annual Christmas display. It’s a little hard to distinguish, but on the altar is what is called a triptych, a work of art with three panels. Here is a photo of that same triptych which has been preserved over the years. It must be over a hundred years old. This year it is being displayed on the old altar which came from the Wittenberg church after it was closed in 1987.
Here is another old photo which shows three trees on each side of the altar.
This has to be after 1938 because it was that year when DaVinci’s Lord Supper art work was installed in the back portion of the altar. You can see it in this photo.
I am not sure that the next photos will be in the right chronological order. I did not grow up in Altenburg, so I am not the best person to know the history of this church building.
This photo and the several others after it show a time period when a tree was placed on each side of the altar. These trees were real trees. This particular one also must have been that time period when tinsel was popular for decorating trees.
I have been told that members of the youth group made Chrismon ornaments back in the 1960’s.
This photo looks very similar to the previous one, but the trees have a different shape.
This photo shows the addition of poinsettia plants as part of the decorations.
And what is a Christmas season at Trinity without a choir concert.
This is what Trinity looks like today. Later next week a poinsettia tree will be placed on the right side of the altar prior to the Christmas choir concert on December 18th. You can also see that the blue Advent paraments are visible. For the past six years that I have been here, there have been three decorated trees on the left side of the altar.
We have several photos of the interior of Trinity Lutheran Church, but none from any of the other churches in the East Perry County area. We would love to add some photos like that to our collection. If you have such photos, bring them to the museum, and we can scan them. Such photos can help our historical society preserve our Christmas traditions.