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Our Story

"We are what God has made us – people whom God has created by grace to live in union with Jesus Christ and has prepared to live faithful, fruitful lives by the power of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 2:8-10

Trinity Through Time

We have a long history of serving the community and world.

May of 1886

Mr. John Edward Larson arranged a meeting of a group of individuals on the government reservation near Dover.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of organizing a Sunday School for children, and to arrange for Swedish Lutheran services. 


July of 1886

The first service was held with Pastor J. A. Rodell of Brooklyn, N.Y. officiating. Subsequently, the Rev. Axel B. Lilja, an emigrant missionary, was sent out to preach twice monthly.  He later became Trinity's full-time pastor.

March 1889

With Pastor Lilja serving as chairman, a meeting was held for the purpose of incorporation and election of trustees and to name the congregation.  The name decided upon was The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dover.  And so a Swedish Lutheran church came into existence in Dover to serve the Swedish-speaking immigrants, many of whom had made their homes in and near that community. 

July 23, 1894

A ceremony was held for the laying of the cornerstone of our present building.

March 17, 1895

The completed building was dedicated.


A parsonage was built during Pastor A.G. Olsson's period of service.


The congregation shifted to English language services following World War I, and at that time absorbed a German Lutheran Congregation that was using its building for worship.


A terrible fire gutted the parsonage that was adjacent to the church, resulting in the construction of a new Parish Life Center.


The sanctuary underwent a major redesign moving the altar from the east side to the west side of the space.


The sanctuary's organ was refurbished and rededicated.


Camera and microphones were added to the sanctuary due to Covid-19. We now stream our services so people can worship at home. 

Did You Know

After colonial times, we were the first Swedish congregation to be organized in the State of New Jersey.  Although we have not been around as long as other congregations in Dover, we remain an important spiritual influence in the community.


Since its founding in 1889, Trinity has been served by thirty student-pastors and pastors. Pastor Fred Becker joined us in 2016, and we are looking forward many years of ministry together.

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