Church’s history goes back further than originally thought

Published 4:05 pm Friday, September 6, 2013

Trinity Episcopal Church now meets at 503 Second Ave. S. in Clanton.

Trinity Episcopal Church now meets at 503 Second Ave. S. in Clanton.

Trinity Episcopal Church’s congregation always assumed their church’s history began in the late 1940s.

But while researching that history for a forthcoming book, the Rev. William King, Rector, discovered that the Episcopal Church’s roots in Chilton County went much deeper.

King found that the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama established an Episcopal Mission Station in Clanton in 1883, when a lot at Second Avenue and Ninth Street, adjacent to the Wilson Hotel, was given by a Montgomery judge for the purpose of establishing an Episcopal mission church.

A wooden church was built five years later with lumber provided by Rudolph Ehrman from his saw mill located on Swift Creek about three miles south of Clanton, according to King’s research.

There were fewer than 700 residents in Clanton at the time.

“Here, for a number of years, was this little mission church,” King said about the exciting discovery. “It burned down and was not rebuilt, and the church went dormant for years.”

King’s next revelation was that 2013 would therefore mark the church’s 130-year anniversary in Chilton County.

So, the church will celebrate on Sunday with two local residents reading “Early Days of the Episcopal Church in Chilton County,” an excerpt from the book, King said.

The reading will take place at the regular 10:30 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist. The church is now located at 503 Second Ave. S.

“This will be the very first time they’ve heard this story,” King said. “We’re not as new to Chilton County as we thought we were.”