Mission History in St. Lucia
Trinity Lutheran Church, Castries, St. Lucia, traces its roots northward to the sister Caribbean island of Antigua and St. John’s Lutheran Church. In the early 1980s several doctors and their families, natives of India, moved the 200 miles from Antigua to St. Lucia. They had grown up as Lutherans in one of the most Christianized areas in India.
During their years in Antigua, St. John’s Lutheran Church and School had been established. Initially after this move, contact with their Christian brothers and sisters in Antigua was limited. But by the late 1980s pastors were coming from Antigua to conduct services as frequently as three times per month.
In 1990, at the conclusion of a series of exploratory trips to other islands in the Eastern Caribbean, the Antiguan pastoral staff sought permission and funding from WELS’ South Atlantic District Mission Board to begin exploratory services in St. Lucia. Exploratory status was granted in September 1991.
Pastor Matthew F. Wobeck, a 1990 Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary graduate, had been assigned to assist the Antiguan pastoral staff with their normal duties. He served Trinity Lutheran as its first resident pastor from December 1990 through July 1992. Pastor Joel W. Jaeger and his wife, Karla, arrived in St. Lucia in July 1992.
In April 1997 Trinity Lutheran was granted mission status and permission to call a second called worker, a minister of Christian education. Mr. Erik B. Landwehr, a 1997 graduate of Martin Luther College, accompanied by his wife, Staci, arrived in July 1997 to serve in that position. In June 2002, Pastor Jaeger took a call to the United States and Pastor Thomas Spiegelberg accepted the call to be pastor of Trinity Lutheran in October 2002.
In August 2008, Pastor Bramdeo Ramgolam, a native-born West Indian from Guyana, was installed in St. Lucia as the associate pastor. Over the years services have been conducted in several locations—a school, a doctor’s waiting room, and in the assembly hall of Vide Bouteille Secondary School in the La Clery area of Castries, which is St. Lucia’s capital. In October 1997 a house was rented in La Clery, which served as Trinity Lutheran’s parish center until July 2003. In January 2007, Trinity Lutheran Church finalized the purchasing of its first piece of land giving a much needed sense of permanency.
In June of 2010, Trinity broke ground on their sanctuary. They dedicated the basement in May of 2012. The building consists of two bathrooms, kitchen, office and a large main room. The large main room seats about 120 people for worship. In September of 2013, TLC Early Childhood Development Centre opened its doors. Joy Daniels and Sheena Michoo were called to be the first teachers of the preschool.
2016 was a pivotal point for Trinity Lutheran Church. The staff minister and his family move to Miami after 20 years of faithful service and Pastor Bramdeo Ramgolam became the lead pastor. In July of 2016, the congregation made three historic decisions as a congregation. One, Evodia Cassius, a native St. Lucian, graduates from Martin Luther College with a bachelor degree in early childhood education and serves as the director for the preschool. Two, Ravi Singh, a graduate of the regional Caribbean Christian Training Institute, is called as the staff minister. Three, the congregation decides to complete construction on the sanctuary. All of this done with the intent of becoming a self sufficient congregation. In 2019, Pastor Tom Spiegelberg accepted a call to Alabama, leaving Pastor Bramdeo Ramgolam as the lead pastor.
Today, Trinity Lutheran owns seven and a half acres of land to direct their future. They have a preschool with three called teachers and about 20 students. They have two natives, a full-time pastor and staff minister, for a congregation of about 160 souls. They have plans to build a school and sports facility to continue to spread the gospel message. WELS supports one full time salary for Pastor Tom Spiegelberg who also serves as field coordinator and circuit pastor. Tassia Clement, a member of the congregation, is currently at MLC receiving her training in education.