In 1887, the Reverend James C. Dorsey, a former Episcopal missionary to the Dakota Territory Indians, moved his family to Takoma Park, near Washington, D.C., and invited his neighbors to his home for the community’s first Episcopal Church service. As attendance increased, services were held in other neighbors’ homes, as well as Birch Hall near the old Takoma Park railroad station, and later at nearby Union Chapel (Grace Church) under the care of The Reverend Robert Claiborne.
Through the generosity of Mrs. L. S. Thornton, land was acquired at the present site. A church, Takoma Parish, was erected with opening services held on November 26, 1893. The altar cross, alms basin, chalice, paten and ciborium for this first church were salvaged from a church in N.W. Washington DC , which was demolished around the time Takoma Parish church was being built.
In 1895, the District of Columbia and several adjacent Maryland counties were set apart from the Diocese of Maryland and established as the Diocese of Washington. The following year, the Takoma Park area was given independent status as Takoma Parish, and the Reverend George H. Johnson accepted the call to be Trinity’s first rector. In its 1941 convention, the Diocese changed the name from Takoma Parish to Trinity Parish.
Early in 1936, a building campaign was launched to replace the old church. Ground was broken on June 14, 1936 , and the new church opened for services on March 7, 1937 . On March 13, the first Joash Service was held to settle the church building’s indebtedness of $16,000. This practice was continued until the debt was retired in 1943. The remaining $500 was used to purchase a war bond to begin the Parish Hall Building Fund. The Rectory was completed and occupied in March 1941. Joash Sunday was revived to enlarge the Parish Hall, which was contracted for in 1949 and finished in September of 1950.
The 1960’s brought about significant social changes, resulting in changes in the racial composition of the surrounding neighborhoods. Following suit, Trinity’s congregation underwent a gradual change from predominately white to its current predominately African American congregation.
Under the leadership of its current Rector, Trinity expanded and increased its ministry offerings and programs, notably its outreach ministry in the community.
Among these ministry initiatives were:
- House Church
- Advent Circle
- Annual Preaching Mission and Revival
- Trinity Education Arts Music Ministry (TEAMM) – a comprehensive ministry to children
- Children’s Choir
- After-School tutorial program
- Vacation Bible School and Summer Enrichment Program
- Ministry to Homeless Women, Street Feeding – ‘Bed and Breakfast to Go’
- Annual Christmas Dinner for HIV/AIDS and the Homeless
- The Homeless Care Package/Knapsack
- Trinity Development Corporation
- Restructuring of the Trinity Volunteer Corps
- Men’s Chorus
- extensive renovation and restoration of stained glass windows, roof, the Dahlia house and rectory
Today, Trinity enjoys a rich tapestry representing many cultures and countries within its community. The Parish extends its welcome to all who wish to visit or make Trinity their spiritual home.