Trinity Episcopal becomes permanent parish

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

At the 178th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama meeting in Montgomery on Saturday, Feb. 21, Trinity Episcopal Church of Clanton was named as a permanent parish of the diocese.

The vote for parish status for Trinity Church was unanimous by the near-500 clergy and laity delegates from 92 congregations from the 44 northern and central counties of Alabama that constitute of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

The significance of being named a parish is a statement of permanent status and a sense by the entire diocese that Trinity has already demonstrated its ability to function on its own as a congregation within the diocese and that it possesses the core leadership to direct both its prayer life and sense of evangelism or church growth. Trinity has doubled its membership and church attendance during the past three years.

Trinity Church in Clanton is the only Episcopal congregation in Chilton County. The current property owned by the parish at 503 Second Ave. S. was originally purchased in the late 1940s from the local Seventh Day Adventist Church. The church building on the property dates back to around 1913. An Episcopal mission church operated until the mid 1960s when it was closed but the property was retained by the Diocese of Alabama. For more than 30 years, a private daycare center operated in the church facilities. In 1995, it was decided to re-open an Episcopal mission church in Clanton under the original name, Trinity Episcopal Church. Beginning in late 2004, more than $100,000 of renovation work on the church facilities was initiated, culminating with major work on fellowship and education space in 2007-08 with new nursery space, a parish library-meeting room and including a new kitchen and restrooms added to the back of the facility.

The parish has become known for its outreach ministry, especially its “Beans and Rice” monthly food distribution program on the first Saturday of each month between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. In addition, the parish has become involved with Habitat for Humanity of Chilton County and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as well as sending construction missionaries to Haiti in 2008.

At the end of 2008, Trinity Episcopal Church had more than 50 active members ranging from 1 year of age to several members in their 80s. The Sunday service of Holy Eucharist (communion) takes place every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as well as a monthly service of Healing on the second Wednesday evening at 6.

The Rev. Bill King now serves as the rector (pastor) of the parish with Ralph Mason serving as senior warden and Laura B. Turner as junior warden.

Father King said the vote of the convention with a prolonged standing ovation as the 30 members of Trinity Church present at the convention processed to the front of the convention hall was a very clear statement of support for Trinity by the entire diocese as well as a public sign of encouragement to continue growing the church in the tradition of the Episcopal Church in Chilton County.

“It is,” he said, “a challenge gladly accepted by the membership of Trinity Church. Just come and see how much alive the church is through the ministries and sacramental life of Trinity.”