Established in 1879, Trinity Downtown is proud to be a vibrant part of the Houston community. In fact, “Downtown” was added to the congregation’s name to emphasize the importance the church has always had for ministering to the people who live, work and play in the heart of the City. It’s a big part of our history! Not long after Houston had its start, a group of 24 men gathered on
November 9, 1879 and founded the congregation. At the same time, they began a school to meet the spiritual, educational, and social needs of their children. Worship services were initially conducted in a rented room at a residence on Texas Avenue and classes were held there too. The first church building was built in the 400 block of Louisiana and dedicated for use on November 28, 1880 and a school building opened the next year at that same location. The congregation also bought land on Sawyer Street in 1881 and dedicated the property for use as a cemetery.
Interior of the Riesner sanctuary
The church and school were both blessed with growth and a new location in Houston was needed for the thriving congregation. Property was purchased at Young Street (later renamed Riesner St.) and Washington Ave. The school moved to the new site in 1903 and the church moved into a new sanctuary at the current location in 1905.
Over the years more land was acquired and additional building projects undertaken to support the congregation and its ministries. Today, Trinity Downtown has over 9 acres right on the west edge of the City Center with land on both sides of Washington Ave. Its current sanctuary was built in 1954, a Family Life Center in 1996, and an Education Center in 2011. With 100,000 square feet of facilities, parking and even a baseball diamond it has resources for its ongoing ministry.
In 2017, the congregation entered into a strategic partnership with Upbring to meet the ongoing need for the care and education of children in the neighborhood. Upbring (formerly Lutheran Social Services of the South) has been supported by Trinity Downtown since the beginning of its ministry and the congregation continues to actively partner and support Christian education in Houston.
While Trinity has always been located in downtown Houston, its work has never been limited to the local community. The congregation has daughtered eight other churches throughout the City. It was one of thirteen congregations that gathered at Trinity in 1906 to form the Texas District of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS). Trinity Downtown continues to support mission work through the LCMS, sponsors missionaries and volunteers who are in ministry internationally. Two past Senior Pastors of Trinity Downtown have served as Presidents of the Texas District and of the LCMS.
Throughout its history, Trinity Downtown has been actively worshiping and serving the Triune God and ministering to people’s needs in the name of Jesus Christ. That ministry continues as we remember the past and look to the future sharing His grace and mercy with the community.