Occasional worship services were conducted around 1907 to 1914, led by supply pastors. A vacant Methodist Church on Moose Meadow Road, Willington, CT was used. The building later became the home of Donald and Darlene Hipsky.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was first organized on November 15, 1914, under the leadership of Pastor Ludwig J. Karlowski, Andrew Gajdos, Michael Kmetz,Sr. and John Michalec, Sr. were elected the first officers. Worship was held only on week days until the arrival of the first full time pastor, Pastor John Murcek in November 1917.
The organizational meetings and the first services of worship took place at the vacant Methodist Church on Moose Meadow Road in Willington. Before November 1917, Pastor Karlowski would come to conduct services on national holidays and on church festivals that fell on a weekday. Regular Sunday services did not begin until the arrival of the first full-time pastor( 1917), Pastor John Murcek, who served the congregation until August 1921.
Pastor George Pankuch arrived in November 1921. He saw that it would be beneficial for the congregation to have a more central place of meeting. A location in Stafford Springs would enable the congregation to grow and prosper. Therefore, the present structure was purchased from a German social club in 1922 and remodeled as a church that same year. The cornerstone was laid and the service of dedication was held on August 6, 1922. Pastor Pankuch continued to serve the congregation until June 1926.
Pastor John J. Mital then came to Stafford Springs and served until November 1929. During his pastorate, the Ladies’ Altar Guild was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Mital. In July 1929, the congregation obtained an official charter in the following name: Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Holy Trinity Church – Augsburg Confession.
Pastor John Bellan then served the congregation from May 1930, until December 1937. A parsonage was purchased on Olympic Avenue, a Sunday school was begun, and a Young People’s Club organized. It was also during this time that the English language was first used in services.
Following an interim during which Pastor Billy of Northampton, Pennsylvania, served here, Pastor Andrew Balaska arrived in May 1939. The mortgage on the parsonage was paid in 1944 and in August 1946, the present organ was purchased and dedicated. Pastor Balaska remained in Stafford Springs until June 1950.
During the relatively short ministry of Pastor John Nosco, who served from February 1951, until June 1953, a choir was organized. Most significantly, weekly English services were begun. Pastor Albert Ursin of Torrington, Connecticut, served as administrator until the arrival of the next pastor.
Pastor John E. Drzik accepted the call and arrived in May 1955. During his pastorate the congregation began to grow as the English ministry gained in emphasis, while the Slovak element was also maintained. The congregation, which had been independent since its organization, officially joined the Slovak Zion Synod of the United Lutheran Church (a body which has since merged with others to become the Lutheran Church in America). The Luther League and Men’s Club were organized during this time. In 1956, the congregation had bought land on Green Street, across from the church yard. In 1960 a new parsonage was erected there. Following Pastor Drzik’s resignation in January 1964, Pastor Ursin again served as administrator.
In June 1966, Pastor Kenneth Michnay arrived in Stafford Springs. The model constitution for congregations of the Lutheran Church in America was adopted and the official name changed to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Toward the end of Pastor Drzik’s ministry here, a building fund had been established for an educational unit. A committee was appointed to consider how to proceed with the expansion of our facilities. The committee suggested an addition to the old structure, providing a parish hall, and renovation of the former basement, providing classrooms and a kitchen. The Narthex was also expanded. Ground was broken for the project on May 28, 1972, with dedication the following year. To continue building the spiritual life of the congregation, Pastor Michnay moved toward a more frequent celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar. Pastor Michnay served Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Stafford Springs until March of 1976.
Pastor Goldstein accepted the call from Holy Trinity that same year and served Holy Trinity until 1980. Pastor Goldstein kept the Slovak tradition going by learning the Slovak liturgy. This was greatly appreciated by many of the older members.
In the spring of 1980 Pastor Robert McGurn answered the call to be pastor of Holy Trinity. On June 1,1980 Pastor McGurn was ordained and installed as Pastor of Holy Trinity. His wife Linda and children Robb, Megan and Katie were here to share his joy in this special event. Pastor McGurn initiated the completion of the worship area in 1983, transforming the area to a quiet elegance and intimacy, which invites prayer and worship. Pastor McGurn led us in prayer and worship until 1988. In 1988 he became pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Evangelical Lutheran Church of Simsbury.
Pastor Allen German received our call in 1988 and led us in pray and worship until 1994. Pastor German and his family settled into Stafford Springs and Holy Trinity quickly and enjoyed working with the Harvest Sales, anniversaries and other special services. Pastor German kept a close relationship with Slovakia and preached a sermon in his family’s parish in Veranow, Slovakia. Needless to say, many members were pleased to have a Slovak speaking pastor even though English was used in the liturgy. Pastor German resigned in 1994 due to health problems. In 1998 with significantly improved health he was able to serve as pastor of St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Danbury, CT.
In the winter of 1996 Pastor Linda Kraft accepted our call and began the journey from California to Stafford Springs. Arriving on February 8 and installed as pastor three days later. It was indeed a busy time for Pastor Kraft. Pastor Kraft quickly began her work her, enjoying meaningful worship, soup suppers, moments of laughter, tight budgets and some tears but always ready to do the task God called her to do. In the spring of 2002 Pastor Kraft was called to be Pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Trumbull, CT.
July 1 of 2003 Pastor David Dalzell accepted our call and is now our present pastor. We welcome Pastor Dave and his wife Sarah to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Stafford Springs, CT. With Pastor Dave’s hard work we have continued to grow our congregation and enjoy spiritual guidance and meaning full worship.
On Sept 15,2008 Pastor Dave has concluded his ministry here at Stafford Holy Trinity and has accepted a call to be pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Laconia, NH.
Although we will surely miss Rev. Dave and Sarah, we wish Pastor Dave the best in his new call and will keep them in our hearts and prayers.
The Rev. Thomas Drobena will be our interim pastor and will be leading us forward in the process of assessing our needs and locating a replacement pastor.
With the guidance and help of Rev. Seminarian Thomas S. Drobena our Church is forging ahead with new teachings and interesting sermons.
The church clean-up and “beatification” program is moving ahead and gathering speed as new changes take place creating a new “Home of our Lord” atmosphere.
In July 2014, the call committee sent a pastoral call to Rev Seminariian Thomas S. Drobena to become our pastor. The call was accepted and Reverend Thomas S Drobena will become our pastor after his ordination in August. The Installation of Reverend Thomas S Drobena will be held September 14, 2014.
The years have certainly been marked by change. We began with a group of people who worked and sacrificed to have a place where they could hear and rejoice in the Gospel in their mother tongue. Their example of faithfulness is one which we pray to follow. The call of the Gospel lead them to open their embrace to more and more people, not only those of the Slovak heritage, but to all people whom God in Christ has called to himself. To be true heirs to their faithfulness we must also give our devotion to the true treasure of the Church, the Cheerful News of God’s work in Christ to embrace all people with his love.