A western Iowa church with a history that dates back to the 1880s will temporarily close its doors this weekend. After Sunday’s services, Trinity Lutheran Church near Manning will undergo preparations for being moved about ten miles to Manning Heritage Park.
The process is being filmed for the Discovery Channel. Ruth Hansen’s father, William Kanning, was a minister at the church for more than 25 years. Hansen says her father was installed as pastor there in 1946 after serving as an Army chaplain to U.S. soldiers and prisoners during World War Two.
Hansen says her family moved to the Manning area in 1946 after she graduated from high school in Minnesota. She says if she hadn’t gone with her family, she would have never met her husband, Robert. The Audubon couple has been married over 55 years. Their six children were all baptized and confirmed at Trinity. Hansen says in its early days, a lot of children were baptized there.
Quoting old records, she says in 1891, there were 17 babies baptized there. In 1900, there were 27 babies baptized there. Since then, the congregation’s numbers have dwindled to about 25 members. The ornate white building has a 90-foot tall steeple, an organ with over 300 pipes and 20 stained glass windows. Hansen says Sunday’s final service will be bittersweet for the congregation, but it will be done in traditional country style.
There’ll be a 10 A.M. service for the 125th anniversary, followed by a pot luck dinner, then one final service at 2 P.M. The church was organized under the Missouri Synod in 1881. The first church was built in 1884. It was destroyed by a tornado in 1913 and rebuilt. After it’s placed in its new home in mid-June, Trinity will no longer offer regular church services but will continue to serve as a place for weddings and other community events.