Earlier this year, the congregation of Trinity, Newark, began the painful process of demolishing their 125-year-old sanctuary, auditorium and chapel due to structural damage. In an ongoing Connections’ series, “The Journey Toward Our Future,” the people of Trinity will share with us the story of how they came to this impossible decision and the journey to their new future as the Episcopal Church in Newark, Ohio.

Part 5: Reimagining Trinity

The demolition of our beautiful and memory-filled 1890 sanctuary is complete. Our new worship space in Trinity’s former education building is bright, warm, and right-sized. The empty and tranquil lot where the sanctuary formerly stood is now our ‘Field of Dreams’. We have adopted a new logo: interlocking trinity circles that include the words ‘Listen. Pray. Act.’. We have a renewed focus on relationships and communication. Sadness over the demolition is changing to excitement for the future: to reimagine Trinity Episcopal Newark and what it might become!

So what is our plan? Under the guidance of our Recasting priest Fr. Joseph Kovitch, and partnership with St. Matthew’s, Westerville, we have identified five foundational elements for our journey to the future: Community, Congregation, Facility, Priest, and Diocese. For the next few months, we will be researching needs for each element and visioning their possibilities. In September we will pull the information together and discover the beginning of our new narrative; to determine the WHY, the WHAT’s, and the HOW for our journey. Our research includes:

  • Community – where is Christ calling us to serve? We are in conversations with United Way, Salvation Army, and other agencies to identify service gaps in Newark. We have also established stronger relationships with community leaders, including the mayor.
  • Congregation – how can we take better care of each other?  A care umbrella called Trinity Loving Care (TLC) has been created to determine and address the needs of our flock. Foyer groups have restarted. The Prayer Team has refocused.
  • Facility –  as we discern community and congregational needs, what type of facility might best serve those needs? We are currently taking road trips to get ideas and collect data for items such as exterior design and material, size, flexibility, and insurance/utility costs.
  • Priest – Trinity currently has only supply priests. What type of priest would best serve the congregation and the community? What are the costs?

The Diocese of Southern Ohio provides us support via Fr. Joseph, the Rev. Jason Leo (Missioner of Congregational Vitality), and the Commission on Congregational Life (CoCL). And with the diocese’s blessing, Fr. Joseph has created our partnership St Matthew’s, Westerville, his home church.

Trinity, Newark is ALIVE! Our soil is fertile, waiting to be planted for the future. We do not yet know where our journey will take us, but we have faith that we will not get lost if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Each Sunday we pray this Collect, written by members of Trinity. Will you pray with us?

Gracious God, you are present at all times and in all places and, because you are with us, you remind us not to be afraid. We thank you for sending your Holy Spirit upon Trinity Parish. Help us accept the gifts, wisdom, strength and courage you have given us to be witnesses for Christ in our lives and in our community. As we continue our pilgrimage to recognize and live in your Kingdom, open our hearts to hear where the Spirit is leading. Show us how you want us to be a witness for Christ in our community. Help us make our life and work together a revelation of your love. With grateful hearts we ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Submitted by Janet Bickle, Senior Warden of Trinity, Newark

<< Part 4: How Recasting helped us plot our course

Part 6: Finale >>