The History of Trinity United Methodist Church
Trinity's history began with the arrival of the circuit rider from the Mission at St. Mary's in 1829. In 1832, Trinity's meeting place was a little log courthouse that stood on the northeast corner of Spring and Main Streets. In 1835, Trinity moved to its own building on the corner of Union and Market Streets. By that time, Lima had grown to a 300-person settlement.
The second church was a larger building and was erected on the same lot in 1852. It was a two-story building with the first story constructed of red brick and the second was frame with a steeple and a bell. The bell can still be viewed within Trinity's current structure. Like its predecessors, the building was used for several years for worship and educational purposes.
In 1871, the first step toward the third church took place when land was purchased on the corner of Market and Elizabeth streets. By this time, Lima was a thriving village of 4,500 and the church thought it was time to move west, away from "all business and noise!" Because of the panic of 1873, the building project was slowed and completion/ dedication was delayed until 1876. The church was an imposing one with its tall spire.
But things were changing by 1910. The sanctuary, some distance above ground level, was not easy to access by the elderly. The building's acoustics had become unsatisfactory to many and modern fire regulations said there were too few exits. So, by 1909, a building committee was organized and a larger lot on the southwest corner of Market and West streets was purchased. In January of 1910, the committee gave the architect their ideas about what was wanted.
By June, the contract was let and work began in September. A Tudor Gothic style was chosen and the famous Bedford limestone was the selected building material. The last worship service in the red brick church was appropriately held on Christmas Eve in 1911. From old Trinity, the communion service, pulpit, bell and pews were brought to the new building.
Several minor changes were made to the original building over the years in an effort to meet the demands of a growing congregation and program. The pipe organ, installed after the dedication, was rebuilt in 1936 and an echo organ was added in 1948.
In 1961, the sanctuary was remodeled and the education addition was competed on the south side of the main building. It consisted of three floors and included classroom space for preschoolers, a chapel and parlor, and a youth lounge. In 1984, Trinity again remodeled our existing sanctuary and created a place for gathering before and after worship, and built the building over the parking lot that houses our office area and a multi-purpose room.
In its early history, Trinity helped launch five other Methodist churches, one of them being Grace United Methodist Church!
Grace Church had its beginning at the 1879 Christmas Eve prayer meeting of three people. Mr. Timothy Schroyer of Trinity Church met and prayed with Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ballard. The home meetings continued and grew into a house church in 1880. The congregation moved into a new church building at Kibby and Elizabeth streets in 1881. The former Grace congregation, like Trinity, occupied several different buildings (in 1881, 1883, and 1915) and underwent several other instances of remodeling, responding to changing needs. Grace, with the same intention as Trinity choosing to remain downtown, purposely chose to be a presence of Christ on the near Southside in order to serve the people in the surrounding community.
On March 23, 2008 the congregations of Trinity United Methodist Church of Lima and Grace United Methodist Church of Lima merged. It is clear that God’s Holy Spirit has been moving through these two churches for a long time.
During its long history, Trinity has worn her title of "leader" well and has always been one of the largest and most centrally located meeting places in Lima and continues to be so today. It has thrown open its doors on numerous occasions for evangelistic services, interdenominational programs and more than a normal share of wedding and funeral services. It has served the community in such significant ways as being a Red Cross blood bank and polling site, hosting organ and other music recitals, union services, open forums, the Lima Choral Society, and a city-wide choir clinic.
Although we are blessed with wonderful facilities we are also blessed with a wonderful history of giving people the opportunity to discern the ministry God has uniquely equipped and called them to do. Each member makes a commitment during our yearly Discipleship Commitment Campaign of how they believe God wants them to use their prayers, presence, gifts and service to support the ministries of Jesus Christ through Trinity United Methodist Church on their journey of faith.