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Sutter Family History


The Rev. Dr. Frederic Sutter (1875-1971)

Frederic Sutter was born in Stambach, Germany on February 26, 1875 and moved to the United States while still a child.  He graduated from Wagner Memorial College (then located in Rochester, NY) in 1894, and from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1897.  Ordained by the New York Ministerium in 1897, he served pastorates in Liberty and Hudson, New York before being called to be the pastor of Der Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Gemeinde zu Stapleton, Staten Island.

 


Pastor Sutter almost immediately began to make changes that would, in time, enable this German congregation to transcend its Teutonic roots and enter the 21st Century as a vital, multicultural institution.  Slowly at first, he began to institute English languages services -- one Sunday evening per month.  English language Sunday School and Confirmation classes soon followed.  The congregation was able to retain the second and third generations who now spoke English, and also reach out to other, non-German members of the Stapleton community.  The church grew, and a new building was erected in 1914. 

Once the new church building was in place, Pastor Sutter turned his attention to an even grander project: bringing Wagner Memorial College to Staten Island from Rochester, NY.  

Wagner was founded in 1883 in Rochester, New York, as a "Proseminary", with the purpose of educating young men to serve German-speaking Lutheran churches.  Pastor Sutter was instrumental in convincing the Trustees of Wagner to move the college to Staten Island, and in convincing the New York Ministerium (now the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) to purchase the Cunard Estate on top of Grymes Hill.  Wagner College moved to Staten Island in 1918.  Pastor Sutter served on the board his entire life, and guided the affairs and growth of the college in both good and difficult times.  It became a co-educational institution in 1933, and enrollment increased from 300 in 1935 to over 1500 by the 1950's.  Today, Wagner is one of the finest educational institutions in the country, with over 1,900 undergraduates and 300 graduate students from 39 different states and 13 countries.  Wagner is ranked by US News and World Report in the "Top Tier" of Northern Universities, continuing its tradition of academic excellence. 

 


The Rev. Carl J. Sutter

Pastor Sutter's son Carl was ordained in 1933 and called as the assistant pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (the name was changed in 1927) in 1936.  His ministry initially focused on the young people of the congregation, and over the years he worked to build up the Sunday School and Luther League.  He also began to form relationships with local African-American churches -- relationships that laid the foundation for the future diversification of the Trinity congregation.


Pastor Carl's crowning achievement, though, was the foundation of Trinity Lutheran School. Ever since the church was founded in 1856, the education of young people had been a priority. Pastor Carl envisioned a Christ-centered elementary school that would nurture the child's whole being -- body, mind and soul.  The school opened on September 12, 1960.  Classes were held in the church fellowship hall, and the old bowling alley was completely renovated to serve as the Pre-K classrooms.  A four-year building program resulted in the opening of the Frederic Sutter Educational Center, which serves to this day as the home of Trinity Lutheran School. It continues to minister to the children of the congregation and community by providing an excellent academic program from Pre-k 3 through eighth grade. 

 

Unfortunately, we do not Trinity Lutheran School are lost.  1960 - 2011.