Celebrating 225 Years of Faith & Service 1790—2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015, 3:00 PM Trinity’s Sanctuary
Reception to Follow
Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 3:04 am By T.W. Burger For the Gettysburg Times
In one form or another, Trinity United Church of Christ has been standing at 60 East High Street in Gettysburg throughout the history of the famous borough, and for much of the history of the nation. Trinity UCC will hold a special service to note and celebrate the long history of the church on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3 p.m. in the church sanctuary. A reception will follow.
"The church was probably formed in 1789, but we don't have a written record. It was officially started in 1790 in a log building across the street from where the church now stands," said historian Jane Malone. "It started out as the German Reformed Church. In 1803 joined with the German-speaking Lutherans to form a Union church." Malone explained that the Union congregations shared the church building and held separate services, one in German, one in English. "That Union holds together into the 1840s, then the two congregations split," Malone said. "One took the name St. James with it and became the St. James Lutheran. A third group split off to become the English-speaking Christ Lutheran, which even now people call 'the college church." Malone said the identity of the original founders is not certain. "But the rosters of the church over the years are full of names that are still found today in the church town," she said. "There are Planks, Weikerts, Troxells, all the old names we were one of the founding congregations in this area."
The founding pastor at the church in 1790 was George Troldenier, though he apparently only served for the church's first year. According to the "German Marylanders" website, In 1791 the Rev. George Troldenier was "called from York, Pa., to succeed the Rev. Mr. Pomp." In 1790, Gettysburg was still in York County: Adams County would not be formed until 1800. Malone said the current church stayed in its original architectural configuration until the centennial celebration, " "until the Rev. Barclay turned it into this little Gothic memorial in 1890."
Julie Strickland, one of the spark plugs moving the anniversary celebration forward, said she grew up at Trinity. "My mother was the choir director, and my grandparents went here," she said. "I thought it was important to celebrate this anniversary." Strickland is just 30 years old, but can remember that when she was a child, the congregation was much larger than it is currently. "Now, I am one of the few young people in the church," she said. I think that younger people need the church; it's one of the positive things you can focus on in your life. It is a family larger than your own family. It is a place you can go and get away from all" the stresses and distractions of modern life "and find peace at an organic level."
Strickland and Malone mentioned a number of community outreach ministries in which the church is involved, quietly, without a lot of fanfare. "Our church is 200 years old," said Malone. "Our thinking is not."
John McKay, the church's choir director, said the music for the celebration, however, does try to recapture a slightly earlier time in church history. It hearkens back to the 19th century, when what is now Trinity UCC and other churches in the community and nation were more directly major players in the culture of the time."The hymns of the time were representative of the hymns that were sung in churches everywhere during those times," said McKay. McKay, who is originally from Richmond, Va., said his great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy and was captured during the Battle of Gettysburg and spent two years as a Union POW. He very likely saw the church for which McKay now serves.
"The denominations had a lot in common," McKay said. "The modern hymnals have changed the working in many of the hymns to be more 'inclusive.' But in my mind they instead exclude the people who created this church, excluded our connected to history." He said words such as "thee" and "thou" might seem out of context to modern congregations, but he thinks they remove some of the spirt from the spirituals. He mentioned the 1913 Joyce Kilmer poem that contained the line "I think that I shall never see, a thing as lovely as a tree," being rewritten to read "I think that I shall never see a thing as lovely as a bush." The change weakens the impact of the verse considerably, McKay said.
McKay pointed out that the oldest hymn books contained the words only, no music. "They were meant to be sung to any tune that would fit," he said. Many soldiers carried hymnbooks with them to bolster their spirits. Ironically, many of the old hymns ended up being sung to the tunes of old drinking songs, he added."A lot of our favorite hymns came out of the Civil War," McKay said. "When your brother or son had died, they meant something."
Trinity plans to celebrate its 225th anniversary with more than a special worship service. In addition, the church will hold:
Trinity Christmas Village's 37th Holiday Bazaar: Friday Nov. 20 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 21, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., both at the church.The bazaar includes: Vintage Christmas, Handmade Jewelry, Knit and Crafts, home-baked goods and fudge, White Elephant Sale, the "Dainty Diva," Civil War Store Memorabilia and Gifts, Silent Auction, and the Country Food Fayre, with a cornucopia of food. Take-out will be available. For more information, call 334-7266, or visit the church's sites at www.gettysburgtrinityucc.org orwww.facebook.com/GettysburgTrinityUCC
FALL DINNER AND DESSERT PIE CONTEST
Congratulations to our 1st prize winner - Nina Redding for her Salted Caramel Apple Pie and to our 2nd prize winner Suzy Miller for her Pecan Pie. Thank you to our judges - George Christopher, Cindy Blevins and Robin Kendlehart, to all of the contestants and to George Steckert for providing the photos.