How Trinity Church Started in Hackettstown

Trinity United Methodist Church enjoys an extremely rich history. Read the information below for a sense of how our church came to the community and take a look at the additional items listed below that offer an interesting look into how our spiritual forefathers worshipped and praised God.

Recently on September 22, 2013, we celebrated the 125th anniversary of our sanctuary. Read the brief introduction below to A History of the 1888 Sanctuary written by Trinity Church member and Archivist, Dale Patterson who is also a recognized member of the United Methodist Archive Center.

Click on the image below to view the special video created for the 125th anniversary of the Trinity Church Sanctuary.

A history of the 1888 Sanctuary: An Introduction by Dale Patterson

Trinity Church Photo for 125th AnniversarySome fifty years after Trinity’s official beginning in the 1830s it was starting on its third sanctuary building.  This speaks to our church’s significant growth and development over this time.  It was also a period of great changes in our country and Trinity was working hard in many ways to stay responsive to its times; a new sanctuary was one of them.

A sanctuary is a place where we worship and praise God. Its design and use reflects the mission and ministry of the church. This has been true throughout the ages. Yet, each generation, each century, has expressed is understanding of worship, mission and ministry in different ways.  We can think of the house churches of the first centuries that celebrates the family of the church, to the soaring cathedrals of medieval Europe which causes our eyes and hearts to turn toward heaven. Each has in its own way reflected the mission and ministry of the church as well as the way we worship and praise God. The 1880s turns out to be the beginning of one of the great church-building eras in our country’s history.

Click here to read the four page overview, A History of the 1888 Sanctuary, written by Dale Peterson.

Notable Dates & Events in Trinity’s Sanctuary History 

1833 The first sanctuary was built on the current site.  A 40 x 48 frame building, it had 2 front doors – one for men and one for women.  This building still stands on Maple Street.
October 4, 1859 The second sanctuary on the site was dedicated; a white spire building.
April 24, 1876 The church board made a motion “that Brother B.P. Cole be a committee to spend a sum not exceeding $150 in removing the bodies from the old church yard and purchasing a lot in the (Union) cemetery (for relocation).”  Subsequently, about 50 bodies buried behind the Main Street sanctuary were relocated making room for future sanctuary expansion.
June 6, 1888 The current sanctuary was built and dedicated.
1943-1952 At some point during these years the organ pipes behind the choir loft were removed.
October 29,1953 Sanctuary re-opened after a 6 week “re-decorating and facelift” project.  The congregation worshipped at Whitney Chapel at Centenary College during this period.
1969 A major renovation of the sanctuary, including lighting, painting, etc.  The congregation worshipped at Whitney Chapel during renovation.
1982 Lighting struck the building.  The electrical charge destroyed the organ and left a burn mark on a balcony pew, still visible.
1984 A new cross was placed on the wall above the choir loft.
June 12, 1988 Sanctuary re-dedication on its 100th birthday.
2008 Re-opening of the sanctuary after a 5 month major renovation.
September 22, 2013 Celebration of the 125th sanctuary anniversary.  This is also the 180th anniversary of the founding of the congregation.

For a fascinating look at how our Sanctuary was established and what life was like in Hackettstown in 1887 when the cornerstone for the sanctuary was placed on Main Street, read the article, Laying The Corner Stone that appeared in The Hackettstown Gazette on July 15, 1887.  One year later the Trinity Church Sanctuary was opened and we are fortunate to also have a copy of the article, A Great Throng Attends the Dedicatory Exercise. Not a Dollar of Debt on the Edifice, from The Hackettstown Gazette on June 8, 1888.