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Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to celebrate its 100th birthday

Holly Nelms • May 14, 2017 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Though it stems from humble beginnings, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has always been a place where worship and outreach are the main priorities.

To mark its first 100 years, the church is preparing a celebration that will look back on its distinctive history.

“Even during the difficult times, God was present and able to work through the congregation to do a lot of good,” said Pastor Steve Counts. “We want people to take away from the history a sense of encouragement and hope for the future.”

The church was organized in May 1917 on the last Sunday of the month. Its members met above a store downtown before purchasing Holy Trinity’s present location at 800 Broad Street in January of 1918.

When the early members bought the property, Counts said, it was home to one of Kingsport’s finest houses, which featured large rooms, a coal shed and living space for servants.

“They took the servants’ quarters and converted them into a chapel, and I like to think that Holy Trinity has never lost its roots,” Counts said. “A church that began in servants’ quarters still has its servant’s heart.”

Since then, the church has grown in more ways than one. As more and more families joined the congregation, the original church building was remodeled, expanded and eventually replaced with the current building, which was constructed in the early ’70s.

Today, the church is involved with several community organizations including Meals on Wheels, Family Promise, Habitat for Humanity and others. It is also well-known for its music program, including its custom-made 27-rank tracker pipe organ.

A musical event will kick off the centennial celebration on May 19. The concert, called “45th Anniversary of Our Organ,” will feature nationally known organist Vaughn Mauren and will begin at 7 p.m.

“Firing Up For Jesus,” a family-fun event, will be held on May 20. Children can enjoy inflatables, crafts and games from 1-3 p.m., and the Kingsport Fire Department will be on hand with a firetruck. The day will continue with “Big Shot,” a family musical, at 3 p.m. and a barbeque supper at 4:30 p.m.

On May 21, Bishop H. Julian Gordy will lead a worship service at 9:30 a.m. A lunch catered by Pratt’s will follow at 11:30 a.m. Later that day, the church will participate in a community concert and hymn sing at First Broad Street United Methodist Church at 7 p.m.

The celebration will continue the following weekend, beginning with a golf tournament at Cattails Golf Course on May 26 at 1 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., hamburgers, hot dogs and sides will be served, and tournament results will be revealed. The tournament costs $30 for 18 holes and a cart, and meals costs are $8 for adults and $5 for children.

Memory lane tours will be held at the church on May 27 from 1-3 p.m. During these tours, Counts said, guests will see a variety of memorabilia from the church’s 100-year history, including photos and items kept from the original building.

On May 28, worship will be led by the Rev. Dr. Chris DeGreen, a son of the congregation. Memory lane tours will be held at 11 a.m., and a potluck lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.

The celebration will close on Memorial Day, May 29, with a memorial service honoring veterans at 9 a.m. A light breakfast will be provided.

All events are free and open to the community, though there is a $5 suggested donation for the organ concert on May 19. The catered lunch on May 21 is $10 for adults, $5 for children and free for children under 5.

Reservations are required for all meals. To make a reservation, call (423) 247-9106 or visit holytrinitykingsport.org.

Counts said he hopes the celebration will provide an opportunity to commemorate the past and look to the years ahead.

“We really want people to see what God’s done with a small group of people who were faithful to give us hope for the future.”