AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCTI) — For more than 40 years, Beth Prestwood has been a part of Trinity Lutheran Church in Amarillo in some way shape, or form. Her father was at one point the pastor of the church, she was a student at the church’s school and she had her children also go through the church’s school.
Prestwood’s legacy throughout Trinity Lutheran is why it meant a lot to her to be the chairwoman for the church’s 100th-anniversary celebration beginning Friday (Oct. 1). She said it has given her a deeper love for the church she has been a part of for her whole life.
“This is like a walk back in time. This is my memory of my life, as well as it is for everybody else,” she said. “It’s mostly about the relationships that we have made, the relationships with God that we have strengthened through this ministry, the relationships with everybody else who we have that common bond, that we have that strength in Christ.”
Trinity Lutheran first opened in downtown Amarillo on Oct. 2, 1921, and will celebrate its 100th anniversary starting Friday (Oct. 1) with an Ice Cream Freeze Off. Over the weekend, there will be multiple festivities, including a BBQ Dinner and a Hymn Sing event, and a 100 Year Celebration Service at 2 p.m. Sunday. All events will take place at the church’s location at 5005 I-40.
Over the course of its history, Trinity Lutheran has been in three locations, being at its current location starting in 1954. Brian Hesse, a pastor at the church since 2001 and the 12th senior pastor to serve the congregation, said when the church was moved to its current location, it was at the edge of Amarillo at that point.
“We were blessed with some visionary people in the congregation back in the 1950’s and really, they wanted this campus, because it consolidated all the church and the school ministries that were taking place at that time,” he said.
No matter where the church has been located, Hesse said thousands of Amarillo residents have been served through the church, the church’s school, or through its childcare program. The mission of the church over the last century is to “reach, teach and encourage others through the saving love of Jesus Christ,” Hesse said.
Since his tenure started at Trinity Lutheran, Hesse said he has seen God work in the lives of the families which have come through the doors of the church needing care and support as well as sharing the church’s message through its various missions.
Over the last century, however, the church has gone through some challenges, including recessions and the COVID-19 pandemic. But even during those times, the community continues to be the constant, Hesse said.
“Whatever it has been, it has been neat to see this congregation step up and meet those challenges with whatever blessings are available. It’s been a great thing to be a part of. It’s been a great thing to see God work in our people,” he said. “…The people who gathered here at Trinity have seen the Lord provide and give them the blessings to respond to the community.”
Even though no founding members, or founding families, remain in the congregation, Hesse said the weekend’s festivities are a good time to look back on what God has done in the community through Trinity Lutheran Church.
“For whatever crowd gathers this weekend at whichever of the functions that we gather at, it’s a celebration to rejoice in what God has given,” he said. “A celebration to remember what God has provided, but also, a celebration of what God is going to continue to enable us to do. We are going to continue to reach, teach and encourage our community.”
Hesse stressed that Trinity Lutheran Church will be around as long as God ordains it. But this milestone is one to celebrate.
“Very few things last 100 years anymore. There is an authenticity and a history to Trinity Lutheran that says we are here,” he said. “We’ve been here. We’re in it for the long run. If you need something that’s going to last and be authentic to support you, Trinity Lutheran can be that.”
While many things have changed over the church’s tenure in the Amarillo community, Prestwood said one thing has not changed: the impact God has had on the Trinity Lutheran family.
“We’ve got a steadfastness in the community, but that can only be attributed to what God has done for us,” she said. “It’s not by what we have done. It’s by what we have done through Christ.”
For more information about the festivities, visit Trinity Lutheran’s website.