TRINITY -A BRIEF HISTORY
The first English Church in Shepherdstown was a wooden structure erected about 1739 as a chapel to the church located in Winchester, Virginia, Fredrick Parish. A stone church was built north of our current location in 1769, and by the early 1800s it was known as Trinity Church.
The present Church was built and consecrated in 1859. Following the Battle of Antietam, Trinity was designated as the community place of worship and was one of the few buildings in Shepherdstown not used to house wounded soldiers. The Chapel, located beside the Church was constructed about ten years after the Church. The Parish House Church School addition was completed in 1986. In 2006, Trinity House was purchased and renovated, and is used for our offices. The Fellowship Hall was also built in 2006 to provide office space, additional Sunday School rooms and fellowship space for a growing congregation.
Occupying a prominent place in the chancel is the Stevens organ, which is almost as old as Trinity. It was brought to Trinity from a Rhode Island church in 1972. It was totally renovated in the early 1990s, including the restoration of the original stencil designs on the facade pipes.
For you history buffs, attached is a comprehensive history prepared for the Shepherdstown 150th year in 2009.
Email from GT -reopening plan
June 4, 2020
Over the last several weeks the Vestry and Frank and I have been working on a plan for us to begin to gather again, albeit on a limited basis.
In consultation with the Vestry and our Bishop and mindful that the virus is with us and probably not going away soon, we have developed the following plan for congregational regathering.
Our Office will open from 9 AM to noon beginning Monday, June 8. Please wear a mask if you visit and maintain social distance.
Morning Prayer will resume the same day on the porch of the Fellowship Hall. Wearing a mask is mandatory.
Our Wednesday 8 AM Eucharist will also be on the porch of the Fellowship Hall beginning Wednesday, June 10.
Weather permitting, Sunday services will begin on Sunday, June 14 at 9 AM on the lawn between the Fellowship Hall and the Church (“Mass on the grass”). Wearing a mask is mandatory. You must bring your own seating. Social distancing must be maintained. Please no touching! The service will be Holy Eucharist. Only the bread will be received, and it will be brought to you by the priest. An Alms Basin will be provided for your use but Offering Plates will not be passed. The Fellowship Hall bathrooms will be available, but all other areas of the buildings will be locked. The service will be live streamed. There can be no socializing, no nursery or Sunday School, no Coffee Hour. A handout with necessary responses, etc. will be provided. We ask that you either take it home or put it in the box that will be provided for recycling.
Please email or call the Office if you plan to attend the Sunday service not later than Thursday at noon so we can be certain that we do not exceed the space available. For the time being, we will continue to operate like this. While I know it is not optimal and we long to get back to things as they were, this appears to be our safest course of action right now. I am grateful it is summertime and we can be outside. I will continue to send the sermons and prayers (but after the Sunday service) and more information will be available about how to attend remotely.
Please do not feel the usual Sunday obligation to attend. I do not want you uncomfortable.
Please do not come if you are the least bit “under the weather” and remember to wash your hands!
We need to remember that this is not the first time in history, the church has accommodated a pandemic. When the plague hit Milan in the 1570s it killed 30% of the population. The plague later took the name of “Plague of St. Charles” in honor of St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan who played a crucial role in caring for the ill and their families. He stayed in the city and coordinated health care and donated his own clothes and tapestries to make clothes for the poor. To prevent the spread of the plague, which thrived in enclosed spaces, St. Charles called for the closure of all churches. So that believers had a place for prayer and the sacraments, he ordered the construction of outdoor altar spaces at each church. When the pandemic came to an end, these altars were dismantled, and believers went back to indoor masses. In their place, citizens erected “plague crosses” as symbols of gratitude for God’s help during the pandemic. Some of those crosses are still in place today.
With care for each other and common-sense precautions, I think we will be fine. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Email from GT 4/16/2020
It seems that all of us these days are looking for good news so I am happy to share some with you today. Henry Willard was a former Junior Warden and Trustee of Trinity. When he died in December of 2018 his will provided a generous bequest of us. The Vestry formed a committee to look at options and the Vestry finally decided that the bequest would be used to pay off our outstanding loan. Our debt arose from our building project we dedicated in 2006 which bought and refurbished Trinity House and built our Fellowship Hall. The total cost of that project was $2.2 million and of that we borrowed $1.7 million. Many of you have generously contributed over the years. Today I am delighted to tell you that our loan has been completely paid off and we are debt free. This is truly an amazing accomplishment.
March 24, 2020
I received the following email yesterday from our Bishop. As you can see, in keeping with the Governor’s stay at home order and out of the deepest concern for the health and well being of us all, his closing of our churches is extended through Easter. Though, this deeply saddens all of us, I believe that it is the only reasonable course of action. Please note that this doesn’t mean that we won’t have Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter. It means that we will not have them together. Frank and I have already been working on plans for this. As the plans are fleshed out we will let you know.
Also, tomorrow, March 25 at noon in every time zone the Pope and our Bishop have called us to prayer. Please stop at noon wherever you are and pray: The Lords Payer, for our communities, for the sick, for those now unemployed, the lonely, and for all who continue to work for us healing and providing what we need. I believe that prayer changes things. You all are never far from my prayers. Please take advantage of this special opportunity tomorrow. Our bells will ring as a reminder, as they have been doing each day at noon. Please stay home, be well, call your friends and neighbors, and let us know if you need anything.
Love and prayers,
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
A few weeks ago, as I was taking the train from NY to Baltimore to have my Visitation at Emmanuel, Keyser, there was the initial discussion of this strange ‘thing’ that was making people ill.
At that time, we were discussing the use of the Common Cup/The Chalice at celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. In retrospect, how simple that all seemed.
Since that time (just 3 weeks ago) the world has changed. Thousands have died worldwide. Hundreds of thousands have been infected. Businesses are sending workers home, and businesses are now working from scattered workplaces – or especially from home. Restaurants are, for the most part, shuttered. Faithful employees around the country are now applying for Unemployment Benefits, due to being laid off. People in various cities and States are being told to ‘shelter in place,’ and not to go outside except for essential matters.
And Churches around the world have ceased holding Public Worship Celebrations. Even parish meetings are being canceled or delayed.
Two weeks ago, I wrote and directed that all public celebrations should be canceled.
Some questioned my judgment call, while others applauded it. Today, it appears that this was the right coarse of action.
At that time, I wrote and said that this would be for the foreseeable future, with the hope that we might resume after 2 weeks. Obviously this will not happen! The Presiding Bishop has encouraged us all to continue with no public worship gatherings through at least Easter. I agree, and extend my direction to cease holding public worship services/Holy Eucharists through Easter Week! In addition, I am asking the Diocesan Staff to work from home. The Diocesan Office will be closed until at least mid-week next week, and possibly longer. The staff will be answering emails, and doing as much as they can from various locations. Some of us will be in the office, from time to time, to make sure that other matters are handled.
I realize how drastic this move is, but it is in keeping with the Presiding Bishop, as well as in agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, and Faith Community gatherings around the world.
I know that there have been some who are considering trying to be physically creative – by having ‘drive through’ Eucharists – consecrating the elements in one place, and having people drive through the parking lot. This is NOT to be done, as I see this as only ‘splitting hairs’ and still creating a situation where the virus could potentially be transmitted. Again – such activities are not to be done!
There will come a time when we can all come together again and celebrate!
This is the most serious and drastic actions any of us have taken in anyone’s memory. It is done out of an abundance of caution. We are to be reminded that more than 50% of West Virginia’s residents/population are in the higher risk for complications from this virus. Although – this past weekend we have been told that it is not the problem for older people. This virus is dangerous to all ages! So – potentially 100% of the population is at risk, and our goal is to protect those for who we are charged to care.
I am reminded that while this virus is calling us to ‘Be the Church’ in the 21st Century, we can also draw from successful operations of the past. How many of us remember the Telephone Tree? How many of us remember the Prayer Tree? Using the Telephone Tree – one person calling 3 people who call 3 more – parishioners were as well connected as anyone could hope. It was long before emails and the Internet, and yet people were held in prayer, and made known that they were remembered by their parish families.
I call upon each of our parishes and missions to restart the Prayer Chains and Telephone Trees. Connect! Be intentional about our communities.
I have seen more and more that our clergy and lay leaders are becoming creative about the use of Zoom…Facebook Live…and other options of technology.
Let us continue to safely worship Christ our Lord.
The Church will always be the Church. We will be the Body of Christ, spread around the field, to bring hope and love to the world.
Please be assured of my prayers, all the more.
God bless you.
The Rt Rev W Michie Klusmeyer
Bishop of West Virginia