Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Be It Remembered: The Story of Trinity Episcopal Church Capitol Square

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Be It Remembered: The Story of Trinity Episcopal Church Capitol Square

Article excerpt

LISA M. KLEIN. Be It Remembered: The Story of Trinity Episcopal Church Capitol Square. Wilmington, Ohio: Orange Frazer Press, 2003. Pp. xxi + 265, introduction, index, black and white and color illustrations. $25.00.

Lately all the traditional Protestant denominations in the United States have been offering workshops and courses on congregational development in hopes of reversing the relentless decline in membership. Parish closings are happening in rural and suburban areas, but historically Protestants have focused on the decline of numbers and influence in urban centers where downtown churches once flourished. Parish histories can offer us illustrations of what "works," as is the case with Lisa M. Klein's excellent parish history. "Trinity's central location has been a defining feature of its history, shaping the character and experience of the congregation, its worship and its public works," Klein writes, and the importance of place is a recurring theme in this well-written and thoroughly researched volume. Built in 1869, when it was tallest building in a residential neighborhood, today Trinity is nestled among high-rise buildings. Klein documents how the congregation resisted flight to the suburbs. In 1923 and again in 1973 the congregation rejected offers to buy Trinity's property, realizing that Trinity's usefulness and effectiveness depended upon its central location and the historic associations connected with its church edifice. Other churches in downtown Columbus, Ohio made different choices.

In the 1970s Trinity used its location among hundreds of thousands of office workers as an asset by increasing its daytime programs. These were so successful that it was necessary to renovate the parish house. "The Place to Be" catered to daytime workers and shoppers; the Open Church, an ecumenical ministry including thirty-two congregations, served the homeless, the hungry, runaways, and poor families from 8 PM to 1 AM.

The successes did not prevent Trinity from experiencing congregational problems, however. Change in America is about our inner lives as well as the outward demographic and physical configurations of the spaces in which we live and worship. …

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