During the eighteen-fifties, a small group of Episcopalians in Warren managed to hold three services to worship God, meet their spiritual needs and strengthen themselves for ministry. As our community grew, so too the need for churches where people could experience God and love one another. One hundred fifty years later, we continue this grand tradition.
During the eighteen-sixties, the desire for a local Episcopal Church was increasing. In June of 1864, C. Calvin Parker came to Warren and began to hold regular services at a variety of local sites. In 1867, our congregation met for the first time in the newly constructed “Little Red Church.”. Over ten thousand dollars was raised locally to supplement a gift of one-thousand-two-hundred dollars in memory of Bishop Samuel Bowman. Bishop Bowman had conducted one of the first services in Warren , a service whose attendees included Thomas Struthers and Moses Beecher. In 1861, while on a train trip to the oil regions of Western Pennsylvania , Bishop Bowman’s train encountered a landslide. During the long walk around the landslide, he died of a stroke. Contributions were made in his honor to erect churches in Warren and Titusville , and these gifts in memory of Bishop Bowman are responsible for the word “memorial” in Trinity Memorial Church. Within thirty years, Trinity had outgrown “The Little Red Church” and our present sanctuary was built, with services beginning in “The New Church” in 1897. In 1981, we built our Narthex, and coffee hour no longer meant a run through the winter snow!
Trinity’s buildings house us. Our worship and fellowship make them our home.
The beauty and structure of our Episcopal liturgy is central to our parish’s worship of God. Fifteen dedicated rectors from Calvin Parker to our current priest, Matthew Scott have preached and led us in worship. Our music has been important to the parish from the mixed quartets who sang before we had an organ, to Mr. Cheesewright, our first organist and choir director who also began the first boys choir, to the hundreds of choir members who have sung praises to God and lifted our spirits in worship. Trinity’s musical talents have been part of the Warren community through Christmas programs and concerts. The altar guild cares for our altar vessels. Our acolytes, lay readers, Eucharistic Ministers, and ushers help complete our special service to God. We’ve also planted churches in Kinzua, Youngsville and other surrounding communities.
Children and adults have learned about God through Sunday school, Bible studies, and Lenten programs. Want more? Special events, guest speakers, a Boy Scout Troop and visitors from throughout the world.
From the beginning, Trinity has been a diverse community. By 1868, Isaac Ruff, an African-American, was one of Trinity’s communicants. In 1977, Mary Beale became the diocese’s first female priest. To this day, our Trinity family includes many from different faith traditions and some from different continents. It’s a part of our love that also shows up in our fellowship events. Songs burst out at a choir party, smoke alarms go off during Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers, kids throw water balloons at a parish picnic– our parish family prays together and plays together, often loudly.
In times of grief, we put our arms around each other through prayers, cards phone calls, or a visit to the nursing home. Our lay Eucharistic Visitors go out in teams to bring communion every month to those who can’t make it to church.
We at Trinity love our neighbors. We helped start Hospice of Warren County, Canterbury Court, East Street House, and the Inter-Faith Chapel at the State Hospital . The oldest AA group in Warren still meets Tuesday evenings in our basement. Our outreach funds have recently supported the Ophelia Project, Faith Inn, A Safe Place , the Salvation Army, Family Services, and the Warren County Jail Ministry. Members of our parish also provide leadership in the community and in our diocese.
Today, we continue to glorify God, in part by caring for one another and our community. On Sunday mornings, before our nine-thirty worship service the choir rehearses as the altar guild sets up for the service. Following worship, we fellowship in the parlor enjoying coffee and goodies. During the week, a Women’s bible study and a Men’s bible study group meets. Before our Wednesday service a group of ladies collate newsletters, and someone may be paying respects to a deceased loved one in our columbarium. Each week, Trinity opens its doors to twelve-step meetings.
On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, we deliver more than 200 hot meals to the home-bound in Warren and Forest counties, and we feed more than 1000 people through Thanksgiving and Easter baskets. Our knitting group has made prayer shawls for seniors and scarves for sailors. We support a variety of projects in South India , including a new wing for the House of Hope. We also purchased a dental x-ray machine for a clinic serving needy children in Guatemala and other parts of the globe.
In 2008, Fiske and Sons overhauled our buildings to protect them from acid rain and the other ravages of time. As a bonus, they donated a beautiful gold cross to top our newly-peaked tower.
Most of all, we offer all we do for the glory of God. We are inviting God to be present in our space and the lives of the people who gather in them. We hope that all will see God at work.