Witnessing for Christ in the North Country

We are a two-point parish with congregational bodies in Saranac Lake NY and Potsdam NY. We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the western-most members of the New England Synod. We welcome Lutherans of all traditions, and anyone seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Find worship videos and other details on our YouTube Channel North Country Lutherans at





Pastor Eric earned his M.Div. and was ordained by the ELCA in 1988. He has worked as a Parish Pastor, a Prison Chaplain, and, for 30 years, an Army Chaplain. He has now retired from both the prison and the Army, and is devoted to sharing God's word and love with the community.

Eric also serves as Pastor for our sister and host congregation, the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake, with whom the ELCA is in full communion. You can learn more about their work and ministry at their website:


Eucharistic Lay Leader

Barbara, who is a CPA by day, has been ordained as a Eucharistic Lay Leader and assists in services and ministry.  Barbara helps to assemble our weekly liturgies and often preaches in Potsdam.


Music Director, Office Manager

Kathy has decades of experience in sacred music, and chooses, arranges, and leads our music in collaboration with the Worship Team. She also manages the daily operations of the office. You can learn more about her work at her website,


Lay Leader

Erik retired from the US Army and teaches engineering at Clarkson University. Erik fancies himself a "green sheep", facilitates regular Bible Study groups, and helps to lead worship.  He's been known to try to riff on the bass line during his favorite hymns. You can learn more about Erik through Clarkson University, here:



With the sponsorship of the New England Synod and the blessing of Holy Trinity, Garth is pursuing an MDiv at United Lutheran Seminary. He preaches and helps lead worship when he is home.


Bishop, New England Synod

James Hazelwood is our Bishop, and visits when his schedule permits. You can learn more about the New England Synod here: 

You can learn more about Bishop Hazelwood's ministry to encourage Everyday Spirituality here:



Click the link below for the Not-So-Perfect Puppets, a ministry of our host and sister congregation the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake, and led by our own Pastor Eric as "Big E!"



Learning, Growing, Loving, Serving


Living into the Gospel

During the COVID 19 restrictions, worship videos are being posted on our Facebook page at


Learning God's Word

Join us for an exploration of the first language of faith, the Holy Scripture in the Bible. Member Erik Backus is hosting these from his house, but you can join remotely, just let him know by commenting on the Facebook page at


Celebrating Community

During the COVID 19 pandemic, we are unable to meet in person. However, we invite you to join us through our Facebook page and to reach out should you be in need.

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Our History

The Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Saranac Lake, developed out of the 1980 Winter Olympics which were held in nearby Lake Placid, NY. At that time, a small but committed group realized that this region, largely a bastion of Roman Catholicism with several other Protestant churches, included unserved Lutherans. They also saw that Nordic and German Olympic athletes were lacking a worship opportunity, and felt a missional call to serve them. This group was chartered by the American Lutheran Church in 1981, and merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America later in the 1980s

Meanwhile, in nearby Potsdam and Massena, the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (LCMS), had congregations in both communities which were folded together into one, Gloria Dei, in the mid-1980s. A few years later, conflicts within the LCMS caused a split and eventual closure of the church in 1990. The remnant members of that congregation, seeking to be welcoming and open to those that were receptive to the gospel, reached out for pastoral care and service opportunities with their brethren in Saranac Lake. From that time, this has been a two-point parish, with services, sharing, and love in both communities.

The Saranac Lake congregation now shares worship and fellowship space with the First United Methodist Church, at 63 Church St. in Saranac Lake, and the Potsdam congregation has been meeting for worship services at the Christian Science Reading Room at 28 Elm St. in Potsdam. We are currently exploring the option of moving to share worship space  at Trinity Episcopal Church at 8 Maple St. in Potsdam.

If you are looking for a welcoming community ready to share the good news of the gospel, join us for worship on Saturday or Sunday.

During the COVID 19 pandemic crisis, worship videos are being posted on our Facebook page. 

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"Pray, and let God worry."

Martin Luther




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