BELIEF AND PRACTICE
Trinity Lutheran Church along with the whole Christian Church on earth teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God's Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
Walking TogetherTrinity Lutheran Church is a church of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Lutherans accept and preach the Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three phrases: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.
God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.
By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.
The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
WHO IS JESUS?
For more than 2,000 years, people have asked this question. We were not present when Jesus lived on this earth, but in the Bible we have the record of His birth, life, death on the cross, and resurrection. Through the study of the Bible, you can seek the answer to this age-old question.
What does "Synod" mean?
The word “Synod” in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod comes from Greek words that mean “walking together.” The term has rich meaning in our church body because congregations voluntarily choose to belong to the Synod. Though diverse in their service, our congregations hold to a shared confession of Jesus Christ as taught in Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
Lutheran congregations are confessional. Our congregations believe the Lutheran Confessions are a correct interpretation and presentation of biblical doctrine.
Contained in The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, these statements of belief were transcribed and shared broadly by church leaders during the 16th century. Luther's Small Catechism contains essential summaries of our beliefs, while the Augsburg Confession gives more detail about what Lutherans believe.
CHURCH & SCHOOL STAFF
Rev. Aaron P. Kotila, Senior Pastor
Pastor Kotila is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary - St. Louis where he was earned a Master's of Divinity Degree in May of 2007. Pastor Kotila was ordained and installed on July 8, 2007 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Rosebud, Missouri. He served as sole pastor until June, 14, 2015. He accepted a second call extended by Holy Spirit's leading to Trinity Lutheran Church, Nashville, Illinois. Pastor Kotila and his wife Teresa moved to Nashville and reside in the church parsonage. Pastor Kotila and Teresa have five children: Erica and her husband Courtney and children Grabrielle and Lane of Leasburg, MO; Paul and wife Katie and daughter Emma of Gerald, MO; Adam lives in Pittsburgh, PA; Kyrsta and husband Tyler of Jackson, TN; and finally their daughter Anah who is serving in the U.S. Navy in the 7th Fleet, she is stationed Yokosuka, Japan. Pastor Kotila enjoys spending time with his beloved wife Teresa and their family. Hobbies include fishing, camping, and computer technology.
One of Pastor Kotila's favorite Bible passages is
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
Mrs. Amy Kurtz, Principal
.Mrs. Kurtz and her husband Mike are from Omaha, Nebraska and lived for nine years in Memphis, Tennessee before moving to Nashville. They have five children, ages 7-22 and keep busy attending their many athletic and music events thought out the year. She attended Concordia University in Nebraska for both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. She has also completed the School Leadership Development Program in St. Louis as part of her preparations to be a principle in the Lutheran Schools. She taught for 16 years in Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, grades K-8 in a variety of subjects. She enjoys reading, swimming, running, cooking, sewing, and playing games.
Her favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 6:16 for we are the temple of the living God, just as God said “I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Mrs. Laurie Eubanks, Second Grade Teacher
Laurie was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and grew up in the country near the small towns of Hoagland and Monroeville, where her parents still live. She attended St. John Flatrock Lutheran Church and was bless to their Christian day school. She has one brother, Dan, who lives with his family in Austin, Texas. She attended college at Concordia Chicago, and accepted her first call to Nashville after graduation in 1981. Her husband, Carl, works at F&M Bank, and they live in Nashville with their pug, Larry. She has one son, Grant, who is 29 and working on his PhD at the University of Missouri. Her daughter Caitlin is 26, and is a NICU nurse at St. Mary’s in Clayton, Missouri. When she is not teaching, she loves to read and travel, and take pictures. Laurie’s favorite Bible verse is her confirmation verse, Hebrews 13:5. “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Rev. James A. Miller, Assistant Pastor
James Miller grew up amid the cornfields of Northern Illinois in the city of DeKalb. His dad was a professor at Northern Illinois University, and his mom did proofreading and editing work for a local publisher. Following his two older brothers and sister, James graduated from the local public high school and attended NIU. James played string bass in the bands and orchestras throughout school and, not knowing what else to study, entered the music program to study jazz bass performance. It was in music school that James met Melissa and the two started dating in their first month of classes together. During college, James and Melissa were both a part of the Lutheran campus ministry program at his home church in DeKalb, and they became quite active in their faith. During late night Bible studies and game nights, James was encouraged by his pastor to explore ministry and, after a visit to Concordia Seminary – St. Louis, felt the call to enter the ministry. After graduating from NIU, James and Melissa got married and lived in DeKalb for a year before moving to St. Louis where James attended seminary. After a 5-year track and a vicarage at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Des Peres, Missouri, James has graduated and has received the call to serve at Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, Illinois. James and Melissa have no kids but one cat and too many musical instruments.
Mrs. Dawn Mueller, Preschool Teacher
Dawn was born and raised near the shores of Lake Michigan. She met her husband, Pastor Tim Mueller, at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, MI. They married on campus the day before they graduated with their bachelor’s degrees. Dawn certified to teach k-8th grade, began teaching third grade in St. Louis while her husband attended the Seminary. While on vicarage in Iowa the Lord blessed them with a son, Jacob. Returning to St. Louis, Dawn taught preschool in St. Louis. Tim was sent to St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Covington in January 1988. The family grew as sons Paul Daniel and Lukas were born. Tim and Dawn were delighted to have a Lutheran School for their sons to attend. Dawn enjoyed her calling as a stay at home mom and also volunteered at TSJ in the library. She was able to fill in as a teacher through the years and for one year, taught 4th grade half a day with Mrs. Lange. As the boys grew, Dawn was called to teach preschool at Trinity in Hoyleton. She was blessed to serve there for 10 years, 2001-2011. She later served as International Director of Education for the Children’s Christian Concern Society, assisting with funding for Christian education for 20 countries worldwide. One of her greatest joys was to receive an invitation to write Bible story books for Copenhagen Publishing Company in Denmark. God’s Story for All Children’s Bible has been translated in several languages. My Precious Bible stories, her second book published for preschoolers, has been used around the world. She also edited and voiced three Bible story apps for them. Presently she is working on a book to teach Christian doctrine that will be used in Asia and distributed by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation. Traveling to see the grand-treasures, two year old Hanna, in Emma, MO and four year old Sophia with two year old brother Xavier in Vassar, MI always brings great fun and excitement. Dawn and Pastor also enjoy participating in 5Ks and working in the garden together. She is delighted to be called to teach at Trinity-St. John Lutheran School, working with the students in preschool. Her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 23:6. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Cheryl Zapp, Office Administrator
Cheryl has lived in Nashville all her life. She grew-up in a family of three sisters and one brother. She has one son, Kenny, and he blessed her with a great daughter-in-law, Taryn, and two grandchildren Elijah and Iylie Harris. She received an Associate of Arts degree at Kaskaskia College. All her work experience is in the clerical office environments. She plays handbells in Trinity’s Handbell Choir. She enjoys reading and watching the St. Louis Cardinals. But she truly enjoys the Nashville Hornets and the Hornettes sports teams along with TSJ sports teams. She finds the NCAA tournament highly entertaining as well.
Mrs. Janice Lange, Kindergarten Teacher
Janice grew up in Bunker Hill, IL. She attended St. Paul’s College in Concordia, Mo. and then Concordia University in Chicago. She has worked at T-SJ for 29 years teaching second grade, pre-school, and kindergarten. She also teachs music to pre-school through fourth grade and coach scholar. She and her husband Steve have been blessed with three sons and two grandchildren. She enjoys sports, sewing, reading, playing guitar, and singing. She likes working on music for children’s handbells.
Her favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:38. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angles, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Mrs. Diane Backs, Third Grade Teacher
She grew up in Prairietown, Illinois where she attended grades 1-8 at St. Peter’s Lutheran School. She graduated from Edwardsville High School before going to St. Paul’s Lutheran College in Concordia, Missouri. After earning an Associate’s degree, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. During her studies, she completed a number of courses in music which she has used throughout her teaching ministry. After graduating from college, she received a call to teach grades 3 and 4 at Immanuel Lutheran School Murphysboro, Illinois. In addition to teaching, she was the children’s choir director as well as the adult choir director. After serving there for six years, she received a call to teach third grade here at Trinity-St. John. This call also included both the adult and children’s choir. She is now in her 34th year of teaching. Some of her extracurricular activities include preparing students for music contests, directing musicals, and other music programs. Her husband Curt and her have one daughter, Katie who just graduated from the University of Illinois. When time allows, she enjoys scrapbooking and making notecards. During the summer she especially enjoys working outside in her flower garden. She also enjoys volunteering for non-profit ministry, Basket of Hope. One of her favorite Bible verses is her Confirmation verse, Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
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