Susan Schlitter and Sharon Lindgren

A duo that started working together in a shared leadership role ten years ago is back at it again. Susan Schlitter and Sharon Lindgren are the co-chairs of the 150th Anniversary Committee and are November’s Servant Spotlight focus.

The two women found that they worked so well together on co-chairing Trinity’s 140th Anniversary Committee that they agreed to organize this year’s very special 150th Anniversary events. Schlitter said, “It’s a special time of the church’s history.” Lindgren agreed and shared another reason for pairing up yet again to lead the committee: “You can’t turn Pastor Dan or Pastor Kathy down when they call!”

Reminiscing about the 140th Anniversary celebration, which was held in the NIACC Auditorium (as other churches were also involved), the two women laughed about how they said they’d “be too old when Trinity gets to the 150th” to help with the committee…and yet, here they are.

This year, because of Trinity’s new facilities, it seemed like the thing to do to have the culminating event and church services at Trinity. Lindgren said, “It’ll be exciting! We’ll culminate with the celebration luncheon!”

When Schlitter and Lindgren were initially planning the services, which are scheduled for Oct. 31, they talked to Pastor Dan about having the synod Bishop come to preach. “Come to find out that it’s Pastor Kevin!” Lindgren beamed. Little surprises like this will help to make the anniversary celebration even more special. It turns out planning a huge anniversary celebration for a church can go on, even amidst a major difficulty like COVID. Meetings took place on Zoom…and even in Pastor Dan’s backyard. When the two leaders are as determined as Schlitter and Lindgren, creativity seemed to be more enhanced, even when faced with a huge obstacle like a pandemic. Technology was used in different ways and it “helped keep our action plan to go forward,” according to Lindgren.

So many great moments like the dedication of the building, the car cruise, the 150th Anniversary float for the Band Fest parade, and the outdoor concert and barbecue took place, even when working around ever-changing protocols. One project that Lindgren is especially proud of was the Anniversary Challenge Project to raise $15,000 split between Habitat for Humanity and the ELCA World Hunger Chile Project.

“We had great people who loved our projects and helped reach the goal!” Lindgren exclaimed. From building the outside and inside walls of a house in the Trinity parking lot to raising the walls on a slab of concrete, a conglomeration of five churches was involved in learning what it takes to put a house together. “It was such fun to see the joy on their faces,” Lindgren said. And yet another goal was accomplished…they met the Anniversary Challenge!

For Schlitter and Lindgren, volunteering comes naturally. Schlitter’s first experience as a volunteer was teaching Bible school to kindergarteners in the summer after her high school graduation. “My parents were very involved in the church, and I saw that and just thought, ‘That’s what you do!’” Schlitter explained. “And then I just kept getting involved in the different communities I lived in!” Her favorite aspects of volunteering include helping people in the congregation and even outside in the community. “It’s just a good feeling!” she said. Since Schlitter has been on the Education Committee for many years, she also added that she loves seeing the excitement on kids’ faces. “It’s heartwarming to see somebody smile!” she beamed.

Although Lindgren’s first experience with volunteering happened when her kids were younger and she made cinnamon rolls for the youth to sell, her volunteering now happens at the other end of the age spectrum, focusing on seniors.

She loves to see the joy in people attending an event such as the Senior Adult Luncheon…and she also loves seeing that joy demonstrated with the other volunteers helping with the event. “The people you work with are just as important,” Lindgren pointed out.

It’s quite something to have the same people co-chair another very important anniversary celebration in Trinity’s history, even a decade later than their first “gig.” These two obviously work well together, mentioning that not only are their values the same, but they also have the same goal. It helps that they play to each other’s strengths as well. Schlitter mentioned that organization is absolutely Lindgren’s top strength, while Lindgren said that Schlitter “brings a calmness to the group.” Without skipping a beat, Schlitter laughed at that compliment and added, “…The calm before the storm!”

What a team these two women make, and how lucky Trinity is to have such great leadership for such a special year in our history!