Historic Trinity

Pastors and acolytes on Easter Sunday


A Cathedral Ministry emanates from a strategically located church building in major cities. The Cathedral Church becomes the focal point for its denomination where joint activities, meetings, seminars and special worship services take place. The Cathedral Church is often the "seat" of the denomination presiding officer (bishop or president), and traditionally includes a location for the burial of the faithful (cemetery or columbarium). The parish of the Cathedral Ministry is metropolitan in outreach. It provides and maintains quality programs, is multi-staffed, has a wide variety of music and worship services, and the finest in architecture and vestments. The Cathedral worship services present an assemblage of experienced and knowledgeable clergy. Special denominational worship services, civic religious activities, and the celebration of special feast days are most commonly held at the Cathedral Church.

In the twelfth and thirteenth century the Cathedrals became open places, the focus of city life. They reversed the introverted monastic tradition by becoming extroverted and inclusive, combining the secular and the religious; an open place where solutions to today's problems can be discussed, where religion includes relationships among all living things, and where the Worship Service is the center of all life.

The goal of the medieval cathedrals was not merely to preserve tradition; they were to serve as city centers of thriving discourse and festival celebration - a lively place, unafraid of commitment and controversy. The Cathedral is a symbol of the yearnings of all people in a city. The Cathedral is a source of beauty and pride in the city. Outrageous and orthodox, utopian and savory - the place comes to you all at once, in a great rush of contradiction and paradox.

Cathedrals are not overly concerned with what is officially religious and what is not. They should challenge and be challenged, supported by a vigorous appreciation for many ways in which God is revealed. In a secure faith, there should be room for joy and foolishness, as well as piety and moral weight. A church that embraces open-mindness and glorious diversity. A macro view - the world, the earth, the universe.

A Cathedral Ministry is not self-contained within its facilities. Rather, it reaches out to other city parishes by providing auxiliary staff, support and services. The Cathedral support services strengthen the autonomy of the local parishes by providing ministry the local parish could not normally afford.

A Congregation is maintained with the Cathedral facilities as an important part of its ministry of Word and Sacrament. Yet, activities by other local parishes, denominational leadership, and civic organizations are held regularly within the Cathedral as an integral part of its Cathedral Ministry.


The Cathedral Church offers support, encouragement, hope and creativity for other parishes, denominational officials, church auxiliary groups, and civic and community organizations through a team of clergy, staff, other professionals, and volunteers. Each may individually or collectively participate in the Cathedral Ministry according to their needs. The Cathedral Church becomes the central resource for support ministry.



The Downtown Lutheran Worship Services are held at Historic Trinity on Reformation Day, Thanksgiving Eve and Day, during Advent and Lent, on Epiphany Day and Ascension Day, and other Church Festival Days. Clergy and choirs from the Metropolitan area participate in the Services. Churches from the area often bring their choirs, handbells, or instruments to perform in a worship service at the Cathedral Church.


Seminars and lectures are held at Historic Trinity by various denominational, civic, and community groups. On a regular basis the Cathedral Ministry provides seminars for clergy, senior citizens, historians, the religious community and the community at large.


Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, founded in 1850, is the oldest existing Lutheran parish in Detroit. As the Mother Church of Detroit Lutheranism, having given birth to 132 parishes in the area, all are invited to "journey home" to learn more about their Lutheran Heritage.


Historic Trinity, by resolution of the parish and the Board of Directors of the Michigan District -LCMS, is the "Seat" of the Michigan District President. The present District President and his predecessors have used the Cathedral as their church in Detroit. The District President's Chair, located in the chancel, is used only by the President. Various Boards and Committees of the Michigan District often use the facilities.


Many church auxiliary groups use the Cathedral Church for meetings, luncheons, and seminars. The Lutheran Luncheon Club meets the first Wednesday of each month. Others, like the Valparaiso Guild, L.W.M.L, Women's Council, and others meet periodically at Historic Trinity.


Almost daily, individuals and groups tour the architecturally significant Cathedral Church of Historic Trinity. The Church is a National, State and Local designated historical site. An annual special Lutheran Heritage tour is held for children's confirmation classes. The Lutheran Travelers conduct four bus tours a year to interesting sites. Thousands "journey home" for CHRISTMAS AT HISTORIC TRINITY to participate in the many Christmas programs.Click here for additional information about Christmas at Historic Trinity


The Cathedral Church becomes a cultural resource for the total community of metropolitan Detroit. Concerts are presented by the Lutheran Singers, Lutheran Choraliers, Trinity Arts Presents: organ concerts, chorals, children's plays, supper theaters, oral recitals, art exhibits, and an annual National Ecclesiastical Art Exhibit.


The Historic Trinity Cathedral Ministry reaches out to the community with extensive programs for senior citizens and downtown Detroit senior high-rise buildings. Other outreach includes seasonal food baskets, Christmas gift giving for the needy, and volunteering at various agencies.


Other churches in downtown Detroit, together with Historic Trinity, have formed the Downtown Historic Church Association to assist each other in marketing of the churches and in sharing ideas on church growth.


The Historic Trinity Cathedral Church houses four libraries for reference purposes: The Trinity Art Library, The Dau Library of Church History, the Lutheran Theology Library, and a General Religious Library. Due to the specialities of these libraries, materials may only be used on site; none may be taken from the premises.

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Historic Trinity Lutheran Church
1345 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48207
Phone: (313) 567-3100
Fax: (313) 567-3209
Email: Historic Trinity