Tucked into a grassy corner of busy Howe Avenue, Trinity Lutheran Church is anything but inconspicuous. \u201cIt\u2019s a small but mighty congregation,\u201d said the Rev. Jack R. Whritenour, who has served as church pastor since 2003. The church has 125 members, with \u201ca good mix\u201d of older, middle-aged and younger people. \u201cIt\u2019s a smaller congregation, but members are connected with one another, and people love their church,\u201d Whritenour said. \u201cThey support each other, and they\u2019re welcoming to newcomers.\u201d Trinity Lutheran was founded in 1899 by German immigrants who came to the Valley to find work in the mills and factories, he said, and the sister parish was Immanuel Lutheran Church of Seymour, which has since moved to Oxford. The Trinity church building was completed in 1911 and originally was located in downtown Shelton where the Route 8 overpass is today. The church building was physically moved in 1948 to its current site at 183 Howe Avenue, slightly south of Route 8. The first English service was conducted in the church in 1939, and the church held German services until 1964. A few German-speaking parishioners still attend services, Whritenour said, as do Swedish Lutherans. Some transferred to the church when a Swedish Lutheran church in Ansonia closed in the 1970s. Role in the community \u201cTrinity Lutheran Church is involved with the community,\u201d\u00a0Whritenour said. The church runs a community food pantry and participates in a charity bowl-a-thon, the Giving Tree and a school supplies drive to benefit the Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services. Members also serve meals at Spooner House, walk in the annual Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society, and support the Lutheran Home in Southbury, the Lutheran World Hunger appeal and Lutheran World Relief. \u201cWe have a very active youth group,\u201d said Whritenour, which is run jointly with the First Baptist Church of Shelton. A \u201cvery traditional Lutheran service\u201d takes place at the church at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays, and Sunday school is at 9 a.m. There is a service on Thursdays at 7 p.m., with Holy Communion and Bible study. Antique organ, music, pastor's background There\u2019s an 1870s vintage Hook and Hastings organ in the sanctuary, and \u201can excellent music program,\u201d said\u00a0 Whritenour, with a choir and a\u00a0 hand-bell choir. He has been directing the choir and playing the organ ever since the previous director left the post. \u201cI\u2019m a professional organist,\u201d said Whritenour, who has a bachelor of music education and performance degree from the College of New Jersey. Originally from West Milford, N.J., he graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and was ordained in 1998. He previously served at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sidman, Pa. He and his wife, Carol, a preschool teacher at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Trumbull, and daughter Amelia, 7, live in Derby. \u201cIt\u2019s a joy to have gotten to know parishioners over the years,\u201d Whritenour said. \u201cThey\u2019ve always been supporting and loving.\u201d \u201cIt\u2019s a privilege to serve in such a beautiful building,\u201d he said, describing the church as \u201cold world style.\u201d Unique denomination for area \u201cIt\u2019s difficult to be Lutheran in New England,\u201d since Lutherans are in a minority among Protestant churches, according to Whritenour. \u201cA lot of people in New England don\u2019t know what \u2018Lutheran\u2019 is,\u201d he said. The Lutheran church is a bridge church between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, he said, and is \u201cthe first of the Protestant churches,\u201d founded by the reformer Martin Luther in the 16th Century. \u201cAll Lutheran churches adhere to the Augsburg Confessions of 1530,\u201d Whritenour said, and have a worship service similar to the Episcopal denomination and the Roman Catholic church. \u201cWe have a wonderful history of music,\u201d he said. \u201cBach and Handel came out of the Lutheran church.\u201d Trinity Lutheran Church was originally a member of the Augustana Synod, a Swedish synod, then became a member of the Lutheran Church in America and later joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Facing challenges Churches \u201cacross the board\u201d are experiencing financial hardship, he said. \u201cWhen the economy struggles, people cut back on giving,\u201d Whritenour said. \u201cThings have changed,\u201d he continued. \u201cIt\u2019s hard being a pastor in this climate. We don\u2019t have the culture on our side.\u201d Whritenour said joining a church has its benefits. \u201cAnyone looking for a friendly, supportive, loving Christian community, with traditional Lutheran worship centered on the word of God\u2019s sacraments and an interest in helping others, would feel right at home at Trinity Lutheran Church,\u201d he said. \u201cI think Shelton is a good community with good people. I think Shelton recognizes the importance of the churches in the community. Churches are called upon to offer consolation, both spiritual and material,\u201d Whritenour said. \u201cThe churches have a good reputation for being there when people need them. We want people to know that they\u2019re places they can come and be welcomed and find spiritual healing and peace in a busy world,\u201d he said. Those interested in Trinity Lutheran may attend services, call the church at 203-924-4128, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.