Trinity Episcopal Church celebrating congregation’s long history in Parkersburg
PARKERSBURG — The Trinity Episcopal Church in Parkersburg is commemorating its 175th anniversary with a year of celebration.
Sunday afternoon, church members and guests participated in a special Evensong and Tea service featuring a number of musical selections and a tea event afterwards with refreshments for those who attended. Last week’s service, which was the kickoff for the year of celebration, was taken from the 1889 Book of Common Prayer, the service that would have been used 175 years ago at Trinity.
“The building you are sitting in does not go back quite that far,” said the Very Rev. Paul L. Hicks, the Rector of the church, during the service. “The congregation began in 1843.
“The original church was built on this site, it was razed and this one was completed somewhere around 1879.”
The Rev. Thomas Smith was sent to be vicar of the small congregation in Parkersburg. Smith arrived in Parkersburg on July 17 1843, to begin his ministry, and the following year, Trinity Parish was admitted into union with the Diocese of Virginia, according to church officials. He served from 1843-1847.
The church has been through a number of floods over the years, changing times in society and more.
Church officials have formed a committee to write an updated history for the church which will begin soon.
“(Of the 175th anniversary) it is quite impressive,” Hicks said during the tea. “The congregation was even meeting at around 1814.
“1843 was when the Bishop of Virginia sent a priest here to get things started. The priest found interest in four people who said they were Episcopalian.”
Things moved forward with the construction of the first church around 1846 which led to the construction of the current church in around 1879.
The church has had a strong tradition of music which led to the Evensong service Sunday afternoon.
“Trinity has always been known for its organ and its music,” Hicks said.
“We wanted to celebrate it and being the 175th anniversary takes more than just one time to celebrate it,” he said. “We are going to celebrate for a year and we will have various events going on.”
The church will have an annual picnic sometime in early August; the Bishop’s Visitation and “Heritage Luncheon” will be held the weekend of Oct. 14; the annual Book Sale will be the first weekend in November; a Lasagna Dinner and Talent Show will be in February 2019; and a final concert to finish off the celebration to be held in May 2019.
“Trinity has been here for many years and impacted the community, not only through prayer, but through its annual book sale,” Hicks said.
Many throughout the community know Trinity through its annual book sale in early November.
“This will be the 70th year for the book sale,” Hicks said. “It helps put money and books back into the community.”
The church has a Facebook page, Trinity Episcopal Church Parkersburg, to use it to get information out about what is happening at the church. It is important for the church to be involved in the community, Hicks said.
“That is what God’s mission is for us,” he said. “We come here to worship and to pray, sing songs, take communion, but that is all to renew us to go out into the world.
“God did not want his church to stay inside. He told the disciples to go out and make disciples of the whole world. We believe that. We end our service every Sunday with a call to mission. We believe it is our task to take the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, into the world. That is why we think it is so important to be involved in our community.”