The History of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
In the Beginning . . .
. . . the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Gen. 1:2b) of the Essex-Middle River area. A young couple, Mr. and Mrs. George Ueberroth, after moving from Sparrows Point to Essex, felt this spirit. In September 1947 realizing there was no Episcopal Church in the area, they decided to place a notice in the Baltimore Sun seeking anyone interested in starting one in Essex. Surprisingly, there were many ready and waiting to start an Episcopal Church.
Those who responded to this notice met at the Ueberroth’s home where an impromptu service was held. An Advisory Committee was formed which approached The Right Reverend Noble C. Powell, Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, about establishing an Episcopal congregation in Essex. With his encouragement, they organized as a mission of the Diocese of Maryland.
Their first meeting and service was held during what was then known as the season after Trinity. Therefore, it was decided to name the parish Holy Trinity. The new congregation met in a variety of places for worship and Sunday school until March, 1949 when the first church building was completed. The Diocese purchased land on Eastern Boulevard and construction began on September 27, 1948. The cornerstone was laid on December 12, 1948 by Bishop Powell and the first service was held on March 20, 1949. At that time, the undercroft was all that was complete. In essence, the church was a basement.
Until the fall of 1958 when the church building was completed, the undercroft was used for worship, Sunday school, suppers, bazaars and other aspects of parish life.
The construction of the actual sanctuary began in January, 1957 and laying of the cornerstone took place on Sunday, September 8, 1957. Bishop Powell dedicated the new Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 1519 Eastern Boulevard, Essex at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, May 20, 1958.
Though funds were sometimes short, our love and faith in God were not. Mr. Head Best took plain wood and, with loving hands and deep faith, created the wooden cross that hung over the altar.
We were notified in late 1968 that the church would be torn down to make room for Rt. 702. Where were we going? What was going to happen to us?
Be Strong & Courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Josh. 1:9) With the faith of the Israelites as they followed Joshua after the death of Moses, the people of Holy Trinity embarked on their journey into the unknown.
On February 26, 1969, the Diocese purchased eleven acres of wooded land at the corner of Mace Avenue and Stemmers Run Road. This would be the new location of Holy Trinity. It was decided that the wooden cross that hung over the altar for 10 years would go on the scrap heap.
But that was not going to happen!
Even after the new church was built, they said, “It doesn’t match the decor.” A persistent individual said, “It belongs here, so find a place for it.” You can see it in our church today above the altar. One wooden cross!
The first service at the new church was held on Sunday, May 24, 1970, at 5:00 p.m. It was Trinity Sunday, our Patronal Feast Day. We were formally planted on Mace Avenue in Essex.
“Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature.”
~ James 1:4
The arrival of The Reverend Eric N. Zile brought a new spirit to Holy Trinity. He challenged us to achieve things we only dreamed about in the past. In the past eight years, we have an active local and international Outreach Program, a team of Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Lay Readers, and Sub-Deacons. The old colored windows have been replaced by new stained glass windows depicting the Old and New Testaments. The spiritual atmosphere has also been enhanced by gifts of The Stations of the Cross, feast days banners, and a dossal.
With Fr. Zile’s inspiration and vision, he encouraged the leadership of Holy Trinity to apply for separate status (independent congregation) at the annual Diocesan Convention held in May, 2007. It was with great joy on the last day of the convention that Holy Trinity was, by acclamation, granted its independence, thereby making the Reverend Eric N. Zile the first Rector of Holy Trinity.
The celebration of Holy Trinity’s 60th Anniversary was greatly anticipated by everyone in the church, so it was decided to do it with much ceremony. A festive anniversary Eucharist was held at 10 o’clock followed by a catered banquet, music, dancing, entertainment from the Sunday School children, and a brief video of the church’s history. It was Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2007 – our Feast Day.