Trinity Memorial Church has served as a valued neighborhood institution for 150 years. Housed in a unique architectural structure, it has deep roots in the community as both a religious and a service center from its earliest days. Throughout our history, we have been a mission church.
Worship, bible study, choirs and retreats have been augmented by home economics classes for immigrants, sports clubs, social gatherings for local residents and a range of charitable activities.
As Philadelphia’s population expanded in the middle of the 19th century, Episcopal leaders saw the need for a church in the burgeoning neighborhood west of Rittenhouse Square in center city. A mission and a chapel whose congregations grew quickly were built in the area over the next 25 years. In 1874, The Church of the Holy Trinity at Rittenhouse Square purchased a lot at 22nd and Spruce Streets and constructed Holy Trinity Chapel with free pews for less affluent parishioners.
Officials at Holy Trinity managed the chapel, which was built with funds from Ms. Anna H Wilstach, in memory of her deceased daughter, Anna Gertrude Wilstach. That structure is the church we inhabit today.
Under a succession of vicars, Holy Trinity Chapel thrived. By 1941 Sunday School recorded 130 pupils and teachers. As the Chapel activities proliferated, so did the need for reorganization. On All Saints Day, 1949, the new independent Trinity Memorial Church was consecrated, with B. Janney Rudderow as its first rector. The next decade was an era of community service and prosperity.
In the succeeding years TMC has remained devoted to our community, under the guidance of a series of deeply beloved priests.
This century brought a renaissance to Philadelphia. We continue to look for ways to be a part of the growth, to tap into the energy and to share our faith and compassion with all who need our love.
We coped with the urban turmoil of the 1960s and consequent flight to the suburbs by many city residents, the shifting societal standards and financial distresses of the ‘70s and ‘80s. A three- arlarm fire in 1994 destroyed the room and interior of the building. In renovation, TMC re-imagined the use of the building to become even more welcoming to the community. The open plan with flexible seating transformed our use of the space enabling a new vision for our role in the community.
This century brought a renaissance to Philadelphia. Construction cranes punctuate the skyline, corporate money is being invested in the city, new restaurants and cultural venues abound, and a tax abatement has drawn thousands of families back to the city or incentivized recent graduates to remain here. TMC’s neighborhood is livelier than ever.
We continue to look for ways to be part of the growth, to tap into the energy and to share our faith and compassion with all who need our love.
Worship at Trininty@22nd
Moving on from Covid
Written in 2022
At TMC, we worship together, even when we are apart. We quickly adapted to using Zoom for Sunday services at home and did so exclusively for the first year of the pandemic. Our rector, The Very Reverend Donna Maree, let us in prayers from the rectory and the music director and choir created a process for recording the service music together online during the week. We prayed and sang along in our homes and learned to connect with each other in a new way.
On Palm Sunday 2021, church doors reopened and Holy Eucharist was celebrated once more, but Zoom remains, and we continue a hybrid celebration to this day. Members clearly like the option of attending online, especially during inclement weather or when they don’t feel well.
At the height of the pandemic, Rev. Donna began an unplanned leave of absence, then took medical leave until February 2022 when she left permanently. Losing our priest during a global pandemic was a serious setback, but TMC again demonstrated, as we have in the past, that we have the strength, wisdom and tenacity to overcome and thrive during adversity.
The pandemic brought gains that will benefit us in the long term. Some things we learned about worship during the pandemic:
- Virtual worship can be vital and engaging, with the advantage of extending the congregation to include those outside our locale.
• We love Morning Prayer; now that the church doors have re-opened, we have Morning Prayer once or twice a month.
• A strong lay-led ministry is vital in guiding the congregation through the liturgy and occasional preaching.
Currently TMC celebrates Eucharist on Sunday Mornings, or Morning Prayer in the absence of a priest, and Morning Prayer on Wednesdays. Our children’s service is on hold. Our parish survey indicates that there is a desire among the congregation for additional services during the week.
We Gather Every Mon – Thurs 9am for Morning Prayer & Sunday Service 10:30am