1861: Trinity Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
In 1859, the Presbytery of Philadelphia responded to a request from residents on Frankford Avenue, in Kensington, for a mission in that area. Worship services began in a house on Franklin Cemetery Avenue and a Sunday school was established.
After World War II, and as members moved out of Kensington, Trinity eventually united with the Kensington Parish (made up by Beacon, Twelfth and Wilkey) in 1990, as its membership and financial resources declined. We shared one Senior Pastor, who rotated to each church, with a part-time Pastor in each church, who also rotated to the church the Senior Pastor was not attending that day. During these years we had our Thrift Shop open two Saturdays a month, selling items at little cost to the community. The Kensington Parish dissolved in 1999 and each church went their separate ways.
In 2001, Trinity became an “open church,” holding community luncheons once a month and a food closet twice a month. Trinity allowed Cocaine Anonymous and Alcohol Anonymous to use our building for meetings five days a week and developed a “Recovery Through the Word” style worship service for Sunday afternoons.
Trinity kept going financially with many fundraising events held and in 2013 we had to sell the original church building. Fortunately, with the help of Presbytery, we bought the house across the street to house those in recovery, but now it is a low income boarding/recovery house (the Jonah House), which is where we hold our Sunday morning services.
Currently, at Trinity, we still sponsor CA and a recovery ministry – a ministry that specializes in helping people deal with their addictions and pain. Our Mission at Trinity is to partner with God to unite all people as God’s family of love. The recovery mission reaches out to people with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. But often, the recovery ministry is the part of the church we’re happy to have on the side, while hoping the broken, messy people don’t find their way on stage or into the mainstream of our leadership. Recovery ministry is seen as a good cause and an evangelistic tool, but perhaps little more. The people of our community are very happy that we have a recovery ministry because it is an ongoing process of helping broken people find healing and redemption. With God’s leadership and guidance, we will continue serving the Kensington community for 158 more years. Jesus loves you and so do we.
This brief history was recently updated as a part of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s 300th Anniversary Year of Celebration and Witness. The story of the congregations throughout the Presbytery were revised to remind us of our past even as we live into the present and move towards God’s promised future. Read more about the 300th Anniversary: www.presbyphl.org/300th-Anniversary.