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South Valley Riverton Journal

A community endeavor: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church opens new building in Riverton

Apr 09, 2024 02:06PM ● By Rebecca Olds

The Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and School located at 13249 S. Redwood Road welcomed visitors to tour their new sanctuary on Saturday, March 23. (Rebecca Olds/City Journals)

It was a community-wide effort to get the new Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s new sanctuary in Riverton up and running. 

An open house on Saturday, March 23 and dedication the next day officially celebrated the completion of phase one of the building located at 13249 S. Redwood Road. Phase two and three will be completed later on, where more classrooms will be added and eventually a large gymnasium. 

It was a community endeavor through and through as it took many of the members’ and nonmembers’ talents and effort to bring the project together. 

“A project of that magnitude involves city government, trades people within the community, local architects and all of that,” said Kent Hansen, president of the congregation. “Just the building of the building involved a lot of the community resources.”

Hansen had a special contribution to the new building by making a new baptismal font, pulpit, altar and more, by hand. The baptismal font, which took 120 hours for Hansen to complete, was started in October and finished in January. 

“I considered it an honor that they asked me to do it,” Hansen said, who considers himself a woodworking hobbyist. 

Many little things just like the handiwork of Hansen combined to make the building what it is now. 

The original funding for the building didn’t include any furniture, said Anne Renz, who is a member of the school board for the church. She and Rev. Alan Borcher’s wife Gayle spent their own money and time finding things to make the building feel more like home. 

“I just wasn’t happy with it feeling so sterile,” Renz said.

While pursuing a set of chairs with a small table for a reading nook on Facebook Marketplace, the seller decided to donate the set to the congregation instead. Renz and others have filled empty spaces with plants, scriptures and other decor.

The planning committee also included small cross details to include their faith in the structure of the building, such as custom-made brackets with cut out crosses on the stair’s railing and in the lighting fixtures.

Renz says the other two phases will also include more beautification on the grounds in addition to additional rooms. For now, the new space the building offers the congregation is reason enough to celebrate. 

There was a smaller building built in 2015, but the congregation has since outgrown it. All the rooms are multipurpose and require effort to change for each purpose, from religious services to classrooms for the church’s Concordia private school.

“We’re so excited to have real pews that we don’t have to move out of the way,” Renz said. 

“We’re just thrilled to have so much seating, and to be able to accommodate 300 people, including the choir loft.” 

About 340 members participate in the congregation, said Reverend and leader of the congregation Alan Borcher, far more than the 39 that were on the first membership charter back in 2009.

In January 2009, Rev. Borcher and his wife Gayle started the church in Utah Valley out of a rented warehouse as a daughter congregation of the Grace Lutheran Church in Sandy.

Since their humble beginnings, they were able to buy a 3.8-acre lot where the two buildings now stand.

“It’s been a journey,” Rev. Borcher said. “We’ve just been blessed over and over and over again.” 

Now, the shuffling of chairs and rearranging won’t be necessary as the new building offers the needed space. The amount of available space is almost doubled and can accommodate the growth that both the church and school are experiencing. 

“We have a sanctuary finally, where we don’t have to set up chairs every week and take them back down every week,” Rev. Borcher said with a laugh. “A sanctuary is a place of rest, if you can’t come here and get rest, where can you go?”

Also on the grounds are several playgrounds near the original building, including a splash pad, mud kitchen, jungle gym and room to race scooters or play games in the field for the school’s 85 students.

“Everyone is invited and now we have space for them,” Deanna Smith said, principal and kindergarten teacher at Concordia Lutheran Elementary. λ