News and Events

July 10-13 – Higher Things Youth Conference, SIU Carbondale

Higher Things 1  Higher Things 2

Higher Things 3  Higher Things 4

June 28 – Alton Reininga’s 100th Birthday

Alton 100

June 9 – Organ Demolition Crew

Thanks to all who helped with removing the organ pipes and components from the balcony in preparation for the new organ.

6-9-3  6-9-4

6-9-5  6-9-6



June 2 – Darmstadt Day

On June 2, our church hosted Darmstadt Day for our community.  Over 40 of our members served over 50 families and raised $700 from donations and from our country store for the Highland Challenger Baseball League for children with disabilities.  We offered free food, games, bounce houses, polka band, and an antique car show.  We thank all our members and sponsors who donated their time and materials.

6-2-1  6-2-2

6-2-4  6-2-14

6-2-5  6-2-12

6-2-8  6-2-9

6-2-10  6-2-11

6-2-13  6-2-15

May 20 – Pentecost

On May 20, our church celebrated the festival of Pentecost with special music arranged for Divine Service IV from our organist, choir, bells, and musicians.  At the close of the service, we decommissioned our pipe organ with a final postlude “Song of Celebration”.  We especially thank our director of music, Jeff Sensmeier, organist Kevin Ellerbusch, bell director, Paula Reininga, and conductor, Dana Meyer for all their music preparation in making this a grand celebration for our congregation to worship our Lord.

Choir – Pastor Temme, Conductor Dana Meyer, Linda Sue Korff, Mary Ellerbusch, Karon Wathen, Sue Laughbaum, Ray Laughbaum, Linda Temme, Lois Temme, Jeff Sensmeier


Bell Choir – Jeff Sensmeier, Chanda Ramsey, Trisha Letterman, Valerie Eberhart, Liz Krietemeyer, Dottie Kahre, Diana Dunkelbarger, Paula Reininga, Linda Sue Korff, and Jonathan Temme

Bell Choir

Brass Players – Nic Brauer, Tim Zifer, Tom Hemenway, Kathy Parker, and Greg Downes, Organist Kevin Ellerbusch

Organist and Brass

Percussionists – Jennifer Bollerd, David King, Devyn Haas, and Ross Erickson

Percussionists - Jennifer Bollard, David King, Devyn Haas, Ross Erickson

Organist Kevin Ellerbusch and wife Mary

Organist Kevin Ellerbusch and wife Mary

Final Organ Postlude



Sermon from Pastor Stan Temme

The Hands Which Play the Music

            Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Our text for this Day of Pentecost is from the Gospel reading.  Jesus said, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”  Here ends our text.

Today is an important day for the Church.  It’s an important day for the universal Christian Church because we’re celebrating the festival of Pentecost.  We remember God the Holy Spirit, his person and his work.  But this is also an important day for our church for another reason.  Today we decommission our pipe organ and begin making preparations for installing a new digital organ.  Our pipe organ is an instrument which has served us well for almost 60 years in leading the music for our worship services.  In our church, this particular organ is a very important instrument which has now been heard by three or four generations of worshippers.  And yet, as prominent as it is, our organ is a rather hidden instrument.  Unless you’ve climbed the winding balcony steps, you’ve never even seen the keyboard, pedals, stops, and console.  Those keys send electrical signals to many mechanical valves which open and close, letting wind from the blower circulate through the organ pipes.  Hundreds of pipes of different length, diameter, and rank produce a plethora of pitches, octaves, and tones, some which simulate the sound of other wind instruments, flute and oboe, trumpet and French horn.  You hear the music which these pipes speak, but even the pipes are hidden inside the organ pipe chambers.  That’s because the purpose of the organ is not really to be seen but to be heard.

Of course, as important as the organ is for providing the music for our worship services, it doesn’t play by itself.  What’s even more important is the organist.  The organist is the one who sets the stops, selects the registrations, and plays the keys and pedals with his hands and feet.  The organ would be silent without the organist.  And if someone who wasn’t an organist, like myself, tried to play the organ, it would only make noise and not music.  Over the years we’ve been blessed with many talented organists here at Trinity Darmstadt.  My grandfather, Mr. Scheerger, played the organ in the old church.  Janet Doehrmann played our current organ for over 40 years.  We’ve also had Jeremy Zieroth, John Posey, and now Kevin Ellerbusch lead our congregation in worship.  Theirs are the hands which play the music.

But one thing I’ve noticed about all our organists is that they don’t make up the music they play.  Our organist always plays from a score, from sheet music, or from the hymnal.  The organist plays the notes which are written on the page.  He doesn’t deviate from the notes given him or make intentional mistakes.  He plays the notes as written.   And the notes written on the page didn’t originate from nowhere.  There was a composer who composed the music in his head, planned the melody, harmony, and chords, and then wrote it down the way he intended.  The composer begets the notes written on the page.  The organist plays the exact notes upon the instrument of the organ.  And we the congregation hear the music of the organ through our ears.

Now, the composer, written notes, organist, and organ are analogous to our Scripture readings today.  In our second reading from Acts, the Jews who had been scattered among many nations and languages gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, their festival of the first harvest of the year.  It’s been 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection and 10 days after he left his apostles and ascended into heaven.  Peter and the other apostles had been in seclusion, waiting for the gift which Jesus promised.  They had been hidden in the upper room.  They had been silent.  But on this day, Peter and the apostles went forth and preached to the crowds in different tongues.  Breath came out of their lungs and through the pipes of their vocal cords.  It wasn’t drunken babbling.  They spoke in a plethora of distinct, different languages which all these foreign Jews could hear with their ears and understand.  The apostles spoke an important message, that of their Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Of course, as important as the apostles were in speaking this message, they weren’t speaking on their own.  What was even more important was the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit came from heaven with the sound of a mighty rushing wind.  Divided tongues as of fire rested on each of the apostles.  They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in these other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance.  The Holy Spirit was the one who determined the language, selected the words, and played the message through the voice of the apostles.  The Holy Spirit was like an organist who played the instrument of the apostles.  The apostles weren’t possessed by some demonic spirit.   That would have resulted in only noise and pagan babbling.  No, the Holy Spirit played upon the apostles the beautiful music of the Gospel in many human languages.  His were the hands which played the music.

But the Holy Spirit wasn’t making up the music he played.  He wasn’t improvising or adlibbing.  The Holy Spirit was playing the notes of a written score.  He was playing the life and words of Jesus Christ.  He was playing the Word of God, and Jesus is that Word.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, and the Holy Spirit only plays this Word.  This is why Jesus said to the apostles in the Gospel reading today.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  Jesus Christ is like the written notes on the page which the Holy Spirit plays upon the instrument of the apostles.  As Jesus said in our text today, “The Spirit of truth will bear witness about me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me.”  What comes out of the apostles’ mouths is the witness of Jesus Christ as played by the Holy Spirit.

But even Jesus Christ didn’t originate from nowhere.  The Son of God was begotten of God the Father.  He was born of the Father from eternity.  If Jesus Christ is the Word of God, then the Father is the one who spoke that Word.  And the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.  As Jesus said in our text today, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”  God composed this grand symphony of his salvation plan from the foundation of the world.  The Father wrote it down in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit played it in the exact way he intended.  The composer begets the written notes which the organist plays upon the instrument to make the music.  Likewise, God the Father begets the Son to whom the Holy Spirit bore witness upon the apostles to speak the message.

What was the message which Peter and the apostles spoke on that day of Pentecost?  Peter began with a prelude, the word of God spoken by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of the prophet Joel.  In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.  But then the message continued with some rather ominous music in a minor key.  It was the message of the Law.  Peter rebuked them, “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”  These Jews had taken this beautiful sonnet of music, Jesus Christ, composed by God the Father and conceived by the Holy Spirit.  They punctured it with holes, tore it in pieces, wadded it up, and buried it in the tomb.  When they heard what they had done, they were cut to the heart and pleaded, “What shall we do?”  Peter replied with the sweet music of the Gospel.  This Jesus, God raised up and exalted to his right hand.  Therefore, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.  The Jews listened to this Gospel music with their ears.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, they believed the Word and were baptized. 3,000 souls were added to God’s house that day.

Now, the Holy Spirit continued to play the instrument of Christ’s apostles for about another 60 years.  But during that time there was some attrition.  There was a thinning of the ranks.  Their bodies and voices began to wear out.  Most were martyred and killed until the last apostle John died of old age on the island of Patmos.

And we have the same problem with our pipe organ.  After 60 years, our organists have practiced and played for so many worship services that the organ parts are worn out.  Some of the ranks of pipes no longer sing.  Our pipe organ is nearing death.  But that doesn’t mean that there can no longer be music.  There’re still composers who write sheet music and organists to play it.  We just need a new instrument.  We need an organ transplant.

Likewise, even though the apostles wore out and died, there can still be preaching.  God the Father the composer, God the Son the Word, and God the Holy Spirit the musician remain for eternity.  They just need a new instrument upon which to play.  The instrument which the Holy Spirit continues to play is the Christian Church.  Pastors and teachers and laity are renewed every generation.  In these last days, God still pours out his Spirit on his sons and daughters to prophesy.  They preach and teach, speak and sing, confess and bear witness.  But none of us speak on our own.  Pastors preach the Word of God as written down by the apostles through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  The choir and congregation sing the words of the liturgy and the poetry of hymns which come from the Bible.  You bear witness to your neighbor of the mighty works of God in Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit plays upon the instrument of the saints the harmony of Law and Gospel which show us our sin and show us our Savior.  The Holy Spirit plays the music which comes out of the mouths of the saints and into our ears so that we hear and believe.  His are still the hands which play the music.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.


Existing Pipe Organ Console


Recent organ repair with gaffer’s tape

Recent Organ Repair

Organ Console Dismantled

Organ Dismantled - 1

New Rodgers Infinity 361 digital organ to be installed in September