On September 9, 1979, the Rev. James J. Lobdell began his service as Pastor of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Inglewood, California. Having begun his ministry during the 1970’s in the Harlem community of New York City, he led Holy Trinity through a time of transition that included a 200% increase in membership and church offerings.
Originally from Mound, Minnesota, Pastor Lobdell attended Gustavus Adolphus College and received his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In addition to his parish responsibilities, he serves as adjunct faculty with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, teach “Ministry in the City.” In 1982, Pastor Lobdell was instrumental in initiating the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration for Lutherans in Los Angeles. As an officer of the Inglewood Area Ministers’ Association, he helped to establish the Annual Inglewood Prayer Breakfast.
In his ministry Pastor Lobdell believes, as the Scripture says, “where this is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). With his vision and leadership, Holy Trinity’s ministry grew to include a pre-school and toddler program, a healing service and transforming Bible studies, a “Shepherds in the city” ministry for people in need, cross-cultural training for future pastors, food distribution to the hungry and homeless, and youth outreach that includes mentoring tutoring, a dance ministry, and recreational activities. In addition, after the Los Angeles uprising of 1992, Pastor Lobdell was instrumental in forming the New City Parish, a coalition of urban congregations empowering and bridging gaps in their communities. Pastor helped establish a Metropolitan Ministry Training Center for pastors, seminary students, and lay ministers.
Such a blessed ministry would have not been possible without his loving spouse of 40 years, Vickie Kropenske. As Pastor’s companion and partner, Vickie has readily shared her Christian love and many talents with us – humbly, quietly, and always faithfully, as a true “unsung hero.” Since 1992, she has directed the Hope Street Family Center, a comprehensive family resource center providing community – based health care, early childhood education and family support services for low-income families who live and work in the heart of Los Angeles.
Pastor and Vicki’s appreciation for these wonderful 38 years of ministry at Holy Trinity are perhaps best expressed in the words of the Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the faithful at Philippi:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that God who began a good work in youwill bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6)
Pastor Lobdell began his retirement and Sabattical on November 1st 2017. He and Vicki will return to Holy Trinity in November 2018 for a 3-day celebration where we will formally celebrate his retirement and he will be officially ordained as Holy Trinity’s Pastor Emeritus.