History Corner!

Excerpted from The Record

Trinity Church Rectories 

Trinity’s first Rectory of record was built in 1852 on the parish grounds north of the church. It was constructed three years before the cornerstone for the church was laid in 1855.

The rectory that we see in photos of the church was a stucco structure built around 1913 when the Rev. Herbert Hannah was rector. Those of us who remember this rectory might have assumed that it was the first. Recorded history tells us, however, that this is not the case. This presumably second rectory became the home of subsequent rectors, the Rev. Henry Hubbard and the Rev. David Kingman and their families.

In 1954 the church purchased 611 West Gray Street for the Kingman family. The former rectory “Trinity House” was then used for the parish office, church school and the Boy Scouts. On June 13, 1956 a fire of undetermined cause destroyed the house.

A smaller rectory at 98 Carrollton Avenue was purchased during the later years of Mr. Kingman’s tenure. This was the home that the Rev. John Humphries and his family moved into in 1975. Within a few years, the Humphries moved to 405 Euclid Avenue, a home they subsequently purchased from the church.

When Fr. Humphries retired in 1997, Trinity was without a rectory. While the search for a new rector was underway, so also was a search for a new rectory, as required by the diocese. The Rev. William Lutz and his family took up residence in Trinity’s sixth rectory at 1465 West Water Street in the fall of 1999.

In 2009 the Lutzes purchased a home on Scott Avenue and the West Water Street rectory was sold. This residence became the first rectory in 157 years that was not owned by the church, as is becoming the common practice.

Trinity History

An Evolution of Trinity Church Part III:

The New Vision: Trinity as a Downtown Ministry Center 

The Children’s Clothing Closet, a joint effort of area Episcopal churches, opened at Trinity in the fall of 2004 to provide free clothing to children by referral from service organizations and churches. Currently volunteers from Trinity and St. Matthew’s work in the shop and parishioners respond to requests for new clothing items.

For a number of years Trinity served Second Place East Homeless Shelter with representatives to the board, volunteers at the shelter, and warehousing of furniture. We now support Second Place East, Inc., which, with other area churches, operates the Help for the Home Shop at Our Father’s House of Prayer Eternal. Parishioners contribute goods to stock the shelves, serve as board members, and volunteer in the shop, which provides household items to those transition- ing from homelessness. We have also supported with goods and volunteer hours Saving Grace Ministries, which has purchased and renovated a home for parolees.

For two years Trinity housed the Elmira Community Kitchen. Independently, we prepared and served two Easter dinners and a third in cooperation with area Episcopal churches. We have participated in ecumenical dinners held both at Trinity and at The Park Church. Profits from these have benefited the Southside Community Center and the Hospitality Center at Elmira Correctional Facility.

The Thrift Shop, now in its second year, replaced the Youth Group Rummage Sales, continuing their ministry practice of offering clothing and household goods at very reasonable prices to residents of the Elmira Community.

A Women’s Lenten Outreach Project provides no-sew blankets to the Salvation Army Safe House. At Christmastime parishioners fill the wish lists of children on the Angel Tree, also a Salvation Ar- my ministry, and we hang hats and mittens on the Mitten Tree. In recent years these gifts have been donated to the Children’s Clothing Closet.

One can see from the above that while we continue to house outside support groups such as Kiwanis Aktion Club for developmentally disabled adults and Alcoholics Anonymous, we have transitioned to a more face-to-face approach to parish ministry. We have participated in more shared efforts with other churches and in-gatherings of donations during worship have replaced budgeted line items, making the connection between the giver and recipient more personal and intentional.