The History of Trinity Lutheran Church
Trinity is one of ten thousand congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). As such, we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. We worship the Triune God confessed in the three ecumenical Creeds, the Augsburg Confession and the other Lutheran Confessional writings. We accept the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of our proclamation, faith and life.
Through the ELCA's New Jersey Synod, Trinity is united in mission with almost two hundred Lutheran Congregations throughout the state. Trinity is partnered with fifteen churches in southern Bergen County through its membership in the Meadowlands Mission Cluster.
As you can see from the chronology below, Trinity has been at work in this community for nearly a century.
- November 10, 1918 – First worship service of Trinity Lutheran Church is conducted in the Central Avenue Firehouse in Bogota, NJ
- June 6, 1919 - The corner property on which the church sits today is purchased for $1,705.00
- September 9, 1919 – The Reverend Daniel M. Kleist is installed as Trinity's first resident Pastor
- September 19, 1919 – Date of incorporation
- March 15, 1920 – Ground breaking ceremonies are conducted
- May 9, 1920 – The church cornerstone is laid
- October 31, 1920 – Dedication ceremonies for the church building are conducted
- May 14, 1961 - Ground is broken for the educational building (Trinity Lutheran School) with the cornerstone laid later in the year
- June 17, 1962 - The educational building is dedicated
- September 1982 – Trinity Lutheran school's first classes are conducted
- November 18, 2008 - Trinity's current resident Pastor, The Reverend Peter A. Olsen is installed
Rev. Peter A. Olsen
Rev. Peter A. Olsen was ordained in 1982. He served as pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Teaneck, New Jersey from 1982 until 1987 when he resigned to pursue a law degree at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey. Following graduation in 1990, he began practicing law full time at the firm of Francis & Berry in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1994 Pastor Olsen accepted a call as assistant to the Pastor at Church of the Savior in Paramus, New Jersey where he served as a part time minister and supply preacher for churches throughout Bergen County. Pastor Olsen left the full time practice of law and his pastorate at Church of the Savior in October of 2008 to accept the call to serve as pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bogota.
Pastor Olsen is a graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso Indiana. Pastor Olsen and his wife, Sesle, have three adult children, Sarah, Emily and Benjamin.
Rev. Rachel M. Zarnke
Rev. Rachel M. Zarnke is a 2014 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. She completed an additional year of seminary training at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. In addition to serving Trinity as pastor to children, youth and families, Pastor Zarnke ministers to soldiers and their families as a chaplain in the United States Army National Guard.