With deep roots as part of the Lutheran Services Carolinas family, Trinity Landing in Wilmington has always been guided by faith. Lutheran Services Carolinas’ mission, “Empowered by Christ, we walk together with all we serve,” has been a guiding principle toward realizing the vision for this community—and it’s one that has been nearly 40 years in the making.
For more on that story, we recently got to hear from Pastor Mark Opgrand of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wilmington. In his “St. Paul’s in Your Home” message from May 3, 2021, titled, “Remarkable Gift. Long Wait. Dream Realized.” Pastor Mark shares the compelling story of how the dream and legacy of Mrs. Abba Lossen Crumpler came to yield Trinity Landing. You can read the full message below.
Remarkable Gift. Long Wait. Dream Realized.
By Pastor Mark Opgrand of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
2 Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut. 8:2-3 NRS)
I recently drove by Trinity Landing, a senior living community under construction, and it brought back a lot of memories about this most interesting story.
In 2022, it will be 40 years since Mrs. Abba Lossen Crumpler (1896-1987) gave the church a remarkable gift. Given to the synod for the purpose of building a Lutheran Nursing/Retirement home were 30 acres of prime fronting on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Initially it was stipulated but later waived by the family, that if nothing was accomplished after five years it would go back to the family. Lutheran Services for the Aging (now Lutheran Services Carolinas) took over the project, purchased 20 more acres adjacent to the donated land, and began what was a long and difficult journey to make this dream come true.
This story is described in our wonderful “A Journey of Faith” history book, published in 2008 by accomplished local historian and St. Paul’s member Ann Hutteman. At the time the book was published, there was a lot more to come.
Along the way, there were so many challenges. The process was painfully slow, and many who were locally involved expressed deep frustrations and concern that nothing was going to happen. With changing laws, the waterfront property was determined to be environmentally unacceptable for a skilled nursing home.
Thankfully, an alternative site was located in order to continue the project, but that too was a lengthy process. People unfamiliar with the process learned that building any nursing home requires extensive bidding for state-approved beds to make possible a subsidy for those who cannot afford private pay only. That took a lot of effort.
Because there is fierce competition to secure these beds, not-for-profit, faith-based agencies, such as Lutheran Services Carolinas are often disadvantaged, despite their strong reputation for quality care (hint: politics). The initial attempt to secure beds was defeated, despite spending a million dollars in research and legal fees. The second attempt was successful, with construction beginning for Trinity Grove nursing home in 2010 and finishing in 2011.
As a contemporary neighborhood-style skilled nursing care facility offering great care, Trinity Grove immediately became one of the most highly regarded facilities in the country. With its arrival, many earlier suspicions were alleviated. Trinity Grove’s fine reputation continues, all thanks to the generous initial gift from Abba Lossen Crumpler, her sister Emma Lossen, and niece Mae McFarland.
But what of that great property and Mrs. Crumpler’s dream for it to become a retirement home? If she gave it for that purpose, what do you do with it?
Here’s where the story becomes even more remarkable and a credit to the perseverance and determination of many local Lutherans and Lutheran Services Carolinas. With careful attention to the unique requirements of that property for development, a plan emerged for a new independent living senior living retirement community. The relationship with Trinity Grove would enable continuing care. Trinity Landing Senior Living Community broke ground in 2019.
Currently under construction, it will soon be 40 years since Abba Crumpler, sister Emma Lossen, and niece Mae McFarland first expressed this dream. It will soon come to pass, with a community and ministry even greater than first imagined.
It was a hard, lengthy journey with many pitfalls and setbacks. It took a long time. Along the way, many were concerned that it would not happen. Some even wondered if the church had done the right thing by accepting the gift. Some wanted to sell the waterfront property and use the money for something else. Key people would not let go of the dream, and now everyone is overjoyed that such a wonderful dream is, at last, coming to pass.
What was required initially, however, was for one family to trust the church with their generous gift. And then be patient as those who received the gift did everything they knew how to do to honor the gift by working hard to make possible this great ministry. Even if it did take 40 years.
Everyone wishes the projects would have come to pass sooner, but biblically speaking, forty years is not a bad number. That’s how long the Israelites were in the wilderness. Those of us who have been around a while can identify with those Israelites who wondered if they were ever going to get to the promised land.
Let us pray. For all the generous people in your world, who by their giving, ministry is enabled, we give thanks. For all who are faithful stewards of what has been entrusted to them, we ask your blessing upon them. We also give thanks for those projects that come to completion after taking a very long time. Thank you for sisters Abba and Emma and niece Mae who, by their gift, planted a seed whereby many in their senior years can be served. Encourage us all to give as we are able, and trust in all the ways your spirit moves through many people who look to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What a story! What makes it even more exciting is that the vision for Trinity Landing is nearly complete. Construction is moving right along and we expect to be opening our doors in a matter of months.
Speaking of opening our doors, it’s important to note that Trinity Landing will be open to older adults of all backgrounds, faiths, and beliefs. You certainly do not need to be Lutheran to live here. Rather, we think that one of the factors that will make Trinity Landing so special is that it will be a place where so many distinct and fun-loving people will create a true community here along the Intracoastal Waterway.
That means you’re invited, and we recommend you get in touch soon if you want to secure your spot! Just a limited number of brand-new residences remain. Click here or call 910-769-9600 to request your one-on-one appointment.