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Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church

TRINITY EVANGELICAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS

(Second oldest Church in Lititz)

Although the Evangelical Congregational Church began its official existence in 1923, we must go back through the United Evangelical Church formed in 1895 and beyond that to the Evangelical Association founded by followers of Jacob Albright in 1816. It was through the Evangelical Association that the present day Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church of Lititz, was founded.

The George Shaffner and John Young families were the nucleus of the Evangelical Association faith in the community of Lititz in 1871. In July of that year Rev. Abraham. Schultz, preacher in charge of the Brownstown Circuit of the Evangelical Association, held prayer meetings in their homes located along Pine Alley. Observing the need for larger facilities, an octagonshaped building located on the east side of Stroh Lane (now Liberty Street) in the town of Warwick (now Lititz), was rented. In October Evangelistic Services were held for thirteen weeks which resulted in the conversion of more than 50 souls.

A movement was made to build a Sanctuary in Lititz. In May of 1874, Julius Sturgis, founder of the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, along with his wife Sarah, donated a lot along East Orange Street, and the work of the Church took on new life. A building committee was formed and plans were drawn for a two-story brick building. The new Church was dedicated November 29, 1874 and became known as the Jerusalem Church of the Evangelical Association.

In 1895, our Church, which was part of the Mother Conference of the Evangelical Association, became part of a new Denomination, the United Evangelical Church. The Church was renamed Trinity United Evangelical Church. Then in 1922 many people in the Evangelical Association and United Evangelical Church were convinced that the issues which divided the Church earlier were not sufficient to keep them separated. However, the East Penn Conference, of which Trinity was part, did not vote on the merger, therefore a new church denomination was born and the name selected was Evangelical Congregational adhering to the fundamental faith of Protestantism and simplicity of worship. In 1923, a new Charter was granted and we became known as Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church. In 1931 the first Daily Vacation Bible School was organized and continues today.

Due to the inadequacy of the 1874 Church, then bulging with energy and overcrowded, the Congregation created a Building Fund. In 1932, under the leadership of Rev. Daniel P. Longsdorf, guided the Congregation in its building program. On Sunday, May 10, 1936, “New Trinity” Church was dedicated to the “Glory of God”.

With steady growth of the Sunday School, and recognizing the over-crowded conditions, the Congregation authorized the construction of a new Christian Education Building which was dedicated on Sunday, October 7, 1970.

In 2002, the Official Board (known today as the Ministry Council) determined that there was a need to evaluate Trinity’s present facilities and look at possible expansion. They appointed a Physical Planning and Development Committee to do so. Following the construction of a new parking lot in 2009, the Congregation met to hear presentations regarding the current needs to the exterior and interior changes of Trinity including a new entrance, elevator and a possible multi-purpose facility. Following the presentations, the Congregation gave unanimous approval to move forward and embrace the concept.

Trinity has been rich in history and continues to grow spiritually and physically with a dream and a vision serving the community of Lititz, endeavoring to win persons to Christ and to build believers in the faith. Thirty-three Pastors have formerly served the pulpit at Trinity. Also there have been two Assistant Pastors, two Youth Directors, and one Parish Worker. Seventeen sons of Trinity went into the ministry and two went into the mission field. The present Senior Pastor is Rev. Nathan F. Fry and the Associate Pastor is Rev. Ryan E. Taylor.

Ron Reedy

Trinity E. C. Historian

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