Trinity Church of the United Church of Christ
– written by Avis Wolfe, Trinity Church Historian
Worldwide Communion Sunday, October 3, 1965, (now known as World Communion Sunday) was a red-letter day. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Methodist Church (established in 1858) and the Congregational Church (rooted in the Rev. George N. Smith’s 1849 arrival as Missionary with a Band of Indians) held their first worship service as Trinity Church of the United Church of Christ.
Trinity’s charter dated October 6, 1965, is the culmination of dedicated efforts by the Interchurch Board with representatives from each congregation. This group first met on February 27, 1965 and joint worship of the congregations and the Sunday Schools began. By August, the congregations voted on resolutions of discontinuance/merger. Under the plan, each church was discontinued and Trinity Church became affiliated with the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ. The charter membership rolls were open until December 31, 1965, when 180 charter members were recorded.
The Congregation voted to use the former Congregational buildings, the church which was built in 1869 and the manse built in 1919. In 1967, the former Methodist buildings were sold. The church building was razed in 1971. Most of the stained glass windows were moved to Trinity’s building.
The Rev, John (Jack) D. Fitzgerald, Jr. was called to serve as Trinity’s first minister. The Rev. Elden Passenger accepted the Alden methodist charge.
Following are some of the highlights of Trinity:
- Trinity Church (First Congregational Church of Northport) was built in 1869-70, and dedicated August 14, 1870. The original structure had an octagonal spire in the middle of the east side with double doors opening below.
- In 1901 the steeple was changed and the narthex, cloak rom, and round room were added. A parlor was built on the south side separated by eight large folding doors. A kitchen and dining room were built on the west side. A porch and portico were also added at the main entrance.
- Between 1907 and 1912, the basement was enlarged and a second furnace installed. The basement was used as a gymnasium for the children.
- In 1943, the sanctuary was re-furbished with “nu-wood” in beige tones.
- In 1952, the portico was removed and a separate kitchen, office and bathrooms were added on to that first tier.
- The stained glass windows were dedicated in 1958.
- In 1966, the outside front entrance-basement stairway for access to the Sunday School rooms was added.
- The sanctuary was painted white in 1968 and the large folding doors installed in 1901 were replaced by accordion doors.
- The large wooden cross hanging over the altar was given in memory of Marcy Roberts and dedicated October 21, 1984.
- On Miracle Sunday, August 11, 1991, pledges of $60,000 were made for the New Fellowship Hall, offices, choir room, and kitchen. Ground breaking occurred June 7 and the Fellowship Hall was dedicated November 22, 1992.
- In 2005, air conditioning was added to the Pastor’s and Secretary’s offices. Discussions began regarding the renovation of the Sanctuary.
- In 2007, extensive renovation of the sanctuary was completed. The walls were stripped to the studs, new wiring and insulation installed. A new ceiling was put in, lowered by about a foot. Part of the wall between the sanctuary and the round room was removed and the archway reworked. The pews were refinished and fitted with new pew cushions. The wood floors were refinished and new carpeting was installed. Central air conditioning and a fire alarm system were installed. New front doors were installed, the organ was moved from the altar to the round room, stained glass windows that had been at the chapel at the Hospital were put in the sanctuary, the altar rail was removed. The cost of the renovation in 2007 was $200,000. All the money came from additional funds from the congregation, the Building Fund, the Windows Fund, the Memorial Fund, and the Kellogg Fund. There was no need to borrow any of the money. For more information regarding the process that was followed see the Annual Reports for 2006 and 2007. For photographs, see the notebook put together by Don Beaudry.
- Handbells were purchased in 2008 with Memorial Funds.
- The new Northport sewer system was installed at the church and the parsonage in 2008.
- In 2011, the Constitution of Trinity was revised and approved by the Congregation at a special meeting on September 18, 2011. The major changes were that boards and committees are now referred to as Ministries and the number of members for the Ministries considerably decreased the number of necessary participants.
- In 2011, the tile floor in the Fellowship Hall was replaced.