100 NE First Street
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: (352) 372-4721
office@holytrinitygnv.org
Click here for directions

 

History

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church stands on the brink of its 150th anniversary. Beginning in the 1860’s, a few Episcopal families in Gainesville gathered for worship, first in homes and later in public buildings. After the Civil War, the city began to grow, and the Diocese encouraged the establishment of a church. On January 20, 1868, Bishop John Freeman Young presided as Trinity Church was organized with the Rev. B. F. Dunkin Perry as its first rector. By the end of 1868, the congregation had purchased a parcel of land on N. Main Street, and by 1873, a wooden Carpenter Gothic-style church was Trinity’s first “home.” In 1886, the name of the church was formally changed from Trinity Church to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Gainesville.

History - 1873

Gainesville grew as railroad tracks stretched from Fernandina on the East Coast, across the state to Cedar Key and then into Gainesville. By 1907, Holy Trinity had moved to its current site, the quiet corner on NE First Street, and had built a stone Gothic-style church with a bell tower.

History - 1907


Throughout the 20th century, Holy Trinity’s story reflects the vicissitudes of the country’s and city’s history: war, epidemics, depressions, crop failures, hurricanes, more wars, returning veterans, the growth of the University of Florida, the Civil Rights movement, tourism—all combining to transition Gainesville from a quiet town to a thriving city. A dozen rectors had served during the 19th century, fifteen more during the twentieth, and the campus had grown to include a city block. Church programs served parishioners and reached out to the wider community, establishing Holy Trinity’s identity as a “downtown church.”

History - FireHistory - Fire ServiceThen on January 21, 1991, Holy Trinity’s church was destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist who torched several other churches that same Martin Luther King Day. Devastated but not defeated, parishioners rallied, the community gave support, and Holy Trinity rebuilt its church and current expanded campus. On Saturday, June 3, 1995, the Eve of Pentecost, the new church was consecrated. 

History - Rector LochIn this 21st century, Holy Trinity continues to move forward, evolving with the times. In 2007, Holy Trinity called its 29th rector and first woman, The Rev. Louanne Loch who served until September 2016. An Interim is currently in place until a new Rector is selected. In 2014, the church opened The Holy Trinity Episcopal School, located one block north of the church, and also established a tax-free gift shop, The Shop at Holy Trinity, on Main Street. The extensive Outreach programs provide aid and social services to the homeless and needy of the city. The Music programs enhance our worship services and our frequent concerts embrace Gainesville's music enthusiasts. Programs for both youth and adults provide opportunities for meaningful worship, spiritual growth and education, fellowship and service. Holy Trinity is a diverse congregation, welcoming all into the fold.

 

Explore the Holy Trinity website to learn about our church, our faith, our congregation and our programs. Holy Trinity welcomes you!

 

 

 

PUBLISHED HISTORIES

HOLY TRINITY'S HISTORIC DOCUMENTS

 

The first document, located in the Parish Register, Volume 2, is the first history of the parish, begun by parishioner Margaret Tebeau and continued consecutively by the Rev. Francis Craighill and the Rev. Thomas Burke. The handwritten document recounts the history of the church from 1868-1910.  A transcription follows to assist the reader.

 

The second document, History of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Gainesville, Florida, written by parishioner Benjamin Pierpont Richards, Jr., covers diocesan and parish history from inception through 1938. At the request of the author shortly before his death, the last chapter was completed in 1948 by the Rev. George Alexander.  In 1958 the Rev. Custis Fletcher registered the unpublished typescript with the diocese.

 

In 1950, Frank Pisani, parishioner and editor of the parish publication Holy Trinity Herald, wrote the third history, Holy Trinity, Our Story, which covers the history decade by decade through 1950. It was published and widely distributed.

 

At the centennial anniversary in 1968, a brochure outlined the history of the parish and set goals for the future.

 

The fourth history, Church of the Holy Trinity, A Panorama of Our Parish was compiled in 1991 by St. Elizabeth and St. Margaret Circles and the parish chapter of Episcopal Church Women (ECW), following the fire which burned the 1907 church. The booklet was published and widely distributed.

 

The fifth history, A History of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, is a comprehensive account written by parishioner George R. Bentley, Professor of History and Diocesan Historian from 1977 to 1994.  This account traces Holy Trinity’s history from inception through 1995. 

 

Finally, in 2017, Jessica Taylor, future doctoral graduate from UF, has written “The foundation remains”…the Challenge Continues.  This history brings the information forward from the fire of 1991 to the present as we celebrate the sesquicentennial  in 2018.

 

Information on Holy Trinity's 150th anniversary celebration.

/150th-anniversary.aspx

 

Vol2 Parish Register click this image to open pdf of the handwritten Tebeau History
Vol2 Parish Register Retyped click this image to open pdf of the typed Tebeau History
 Episcopal Shield click to open pdf of the Richards history
Pisani History click this image to open pdf of the Pisani History
Centennial Brochure Image open pdf of the 1968 Centennial Brochure
 HTE Women Of Church Cover click this image to open Holy Trinity A Panorama of Our Parish, 1991
History Thumbnail

open pdf of the 1998 Bentley History   

 

 

 

 
 

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