Trinity's History

A Brief History Of Trinity United Methodist Church


Trinity Church began in 1889 when a few members of Grace Methodist Church and Fifth Street Methodist Church met to organize a Sunday School in the eastern section of Wilmington. The Sunday School started with thirty-five pupils, and their meeting place was Giblem Lodge Hall At Eight and Princess Streets. In November, 1889, having grown to 100 members, the Sunday School was moved to an empty cottage on South Ninth Street, near Market Street. Here a more permanent organization was formed, called the Market Street Methodist Mission. On May 28, 1891, the Market Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South was officially organized, with twenty-eight charter members. J.W. Craig, a local riverboat pilot and preacher, was placed in charge until the meeting of the Annual Conference. At the Annual Conference in the Fall of 1891, the Reverend E.C. Sell was appointed as Market Street's first regular pastor. In 1894, the members bought a lot on the northeast corner of Ninth and Market Streets. They moved their building to the new lot, a process that required ten days. As the church rested in the middle of Market Steet, the congregation held a prayer meeting. The church was dedicated as Market Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South on May 28, 1899. At the Fourth Quarterly Conference in 1906, the name of the church was changed to Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1916, a lot at 14th and Market Streets was purchased. But plans for constructing the new building had to be placed on hold due to World War I. In the summer of 1920, work began on the new church building. Its architecture was to be of the Neoclassical Revival style, and it would display an obvious kinship to the New Hanover High School building across 14th Street, since both were designed by the same architect and were constructed simultaneously. The Reverend H.C. Smith conducted the first worship service in the new building on December 4, 1921. This service was held on the ground floor, which was to be the Sunday School Department (now the Fellowship Hall), because the sanctuary was not yet finished. The official opening worship service in the completed sanctuary (with the exception of the organ, which was installed in July) was held on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1922, at 3:30 p.m., so that friends from other churches could attend. The stained glass windows were installed in 1934. In that same year, the denomination changed its name simply to The Methodist Church. The 1940's saw growth to the Trinity Family. In 1948, ground was broken, the cornerstone laid, and construction began on the Educational building. The Sunday School under the sanctuary was converted into the current Fellowship Hall. Renovation, which included the creation of a split chancel and painting the cream walls blue, began in 1959 and was completed in 1961. A much needed elevator was installed in 1964. The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968 to form the The United Methodist Church. In 1991, Trinity Church again considered developing the property at 4008 South College Road. The multi-purpose Family Life Center was completed in 1999. Part of the Trinity Family currently worships there at 8:30 a.m. each Sunday. There is a Tuesday evening Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. Jim Bailey. Our youth meet there each week. There is a softball field, playground, two horseshoe pits, basketball court, and volleyball available for recreation. The Market Street Sanctuary was again renovated in 2007. The chancel was enlarged, furnishings made mobile, new carpet installed, plaster repaired and repainted, pews refinished, and multi-media equipment installed. There have been forty-two pastors and one associate pastor appointed to Trinity Church in her 120 year history.