Thursday Doors – Reason to Hope

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

A need to research some building material for a project that we hope to undertake next month took me to Kelly-Fradet, my favorite lumber yard. You might remember them from a previous Thursday Doors post. While a very nice salesman was figuring out the specifications for a piece of engineered lumber we need to buy, I was taking pictures of doors. They sell doors. I thought I’d make a doors post about “potential” doors.

Then I headed home.

Then I saw Holy Trinity Church.

Three things caught my attention: First, the amazing brick work. Second, the red doors in, what I refer to as an Episcopal Arch (pointier), and, third, a shady parking lot. It was about 97 degrees that day. Walking around the church, I noticed a discrepancy, and an interesting bit of history. The name on the sign is Holy Trinity. The name on the plaque is St. Mary’s. The other name on the plaque was Augustus G. Hazard. Of course. The church is in Hazardville, a few blocks from the Hazardville Institute.

At first, I thought that I’d spend most of this post talking about Augustus G. Hazard. He was an interesting fellow, and there has been a lot written about him. I had assumed that the difference in the name was simply due to the church building being purchased as one congregation grew/shrank and another was looking for a home. Actually, the story about the church is more complicated, and I think more appropriate for the summer we’ve been having than the history of a man who made gunpowder. I’m sure I’ll have another occasion to talk about Augustus.

Holy Trinity church has always been an Episcopal parish, but 25 years ago, it was a struggling parish. It wasn’t alone. Calvary Church, in nearby Suffield, CT and St. Andrew’s Church, also in Enfield, were also struggling. Membership had dropped and it was becoming hard for all three churches to pay their bills and provide the type of service to their members and the community that they were known for. They decided to work together.

In 1992, they formed a cluster ministry of churches. Operating as a cluster, or regional ministry allowed them to share the expense of clergy and staff.

I don’t know if you have any experience with small churches, but sharing, i.e. not being in total control of the situation, is not easy. I’ve seen battle lines drawn that have eventually split individual congregations. The idea that three congregations could work together and share one set of resources, would not have occurred to me.

Not only were the three churches able to share, they actually came together as one body. In 2007 they merged into a single large, and stable, congregation. I particularly like this quote from the website of the relatively new Holy Trinity Church:

We invite all people to be a part of our church family. Learn more about us through this website and by visiting with us on Sundays and at other times. Holy Trinity Church welcomes you! Holy Trinity Church welcomes all!

At a time when every story we read, watch and listen to is calling attention to the things that make us different and the things that drive us apart, I thought a story about coming together would be nice to read. Not that many years ago, these people were able to focus on what they had in common, and the ways in which they could help each other, and they were successful.

This story is part of an interesting and fun series called Thursday Doors. It’s facilitated each week by Norm Frampton. You can join the fun. Hop on over to Norm’s page and click the blue button. Be sure to check out Norm’s doors first, they’re always worth a look.

55 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Reason to Hope

Add yours

    1. Thanks Robin. I’ve been driving by this church for over 30 years, but I never knew the story (and the story changed in that time frame). It’s funny what the need for a Thursday Door will do for you.

      Like

  1. I love the white spire with the little “doors” framed around it. They each have a little cross on them mimicking the cross on top of the spire.
    I’m guessing that at one point, these had a window in them.
    What a lovely building!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. I think you’re right about the windows. I need to visit the local historic society to see if they have some early pictures of this church. This was a very important part of town, so I bet they do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. I’ve read so many stories about congregations fighting mergers. This was uplifting. I’m not sure how they came to choose this building, out of the three, but I am impressed that they made it work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful church with an uplifting story (and an attractive, red door.) I remember country churches that shared a pastor because they couldn’t each afford their own, but the distance was great enough that they kept their individual churches.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty church and nice door photos, Dan! The red brick and red doors are cool. And I love the story of three struggling churches coming together. I attended a couple different, very small churches in the past that both folded, so I understand the struggles they face – having money in the coffers and people in the seats. It’s not an easy life for the pastor/clergy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. I’ve been involved with some small churches. So far, they have hung on, but it’s a challenge. I was attracted by the brick work, but I found this story so nice to read, that I wanted to share it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great shots Dan. That first one has everything there is to love about country churches.
    It is nice to see when people do band together for a common cause rather than just grab what they can for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh yes, that is a sublime facade! I don’t know who wouldn’t appreciate that. I agree, small church often include many schisms. I know of an instance where a new minister was voted in and his wife drove more than half the congregation to seek membership at another church. :/
    I appreciate this history, this getting together and sharing a goal. I’d like a new one, like an up-to-date current event story that shows people setting their egos and wallets aside for beneficence. I’m such an idealist.
    These doors make me smile though. Makes for a nice gallery. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joey. I’m not an idealist, but I love a story with a happy ending. I wish more people could work together for a common good. It’s unlikely to be widespread, but I’ll point it out if I see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay. beautiful spire, doors, church. But the writing got to me. Timely. The last two weeks have been so bad with friends that i have been depressed. Really depressed. Not wanting to get out of bed feeling hopeless about our world Mitchell bought me a box of maple cookies depressed. (Maple cookies solves everything, right?) This story of different religions working together cheered me. I remember in Southern Oregon when the new Jewish Havurah did not have a temple the Trinity Episcopal Church let them use their for Saturday services. Three years they held temple there. Conservatives and liberals coming together to help each other out. _/\_

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate. After I read your post, I left you a little note mentioning this. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this is not huge, but I want to think that big things start with small things. That’s why I chose to let this story take over my Doors post this week. I’m very glad I did.

      And yes, cookies solve everything.

      Like

  7. That’s a lovely church, Dan. I’m especially fond of the font on the plaque. Such beautiful detailing on that. But I have to admit something: While I see that door design on a lot of church doors, it’s always kind of bothered me. Maybe I’m being too nit-picky, but doesn’t it look like an upside down cross at first glance? Which I suppose we could attribute in a positive manner to St. Peter, but… I don’t know. When I think upside down cross, I don’t think of Peter. I think of something that’s ANTI-Christian. :-/ So I don’t really like the upside down-look motif and wish they’d add another horizontal detail further up on those doors, creating six panels instead of four, and doing away with that look. Such a beautiful door, I hate how that illusion can ruin it for me a bit. :(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wendy. That’s an interesting perspective. I never really thought of it, because these shapes have always had the desired effect of causing me to look upward. I’m going to give credence to your concern, but I’m going to try to forget it (no offense intended) cause there’s a lot of doors like this around me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A brick church with red, arched doors? Gee, where have I seen THAT before? O_o Kidding, Dan! This is a nice one, and well worth photographing, with a nice history. Hmmm, you write, “The name on the sign is Holy Trinity. The name on the plaque is St. Mary’s.” I’m thinking now there must be a church out there with a SIGN that says St. Mary’s, and a PLAQUE that reads Holy Trinity. Perhaps you could get them to swap signs and right an ancient wrong. I feel better already …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. I suppose every town of any size has a St. Mary’s and a Holy Trinity, not to mention a First Methodist/Presbyterian/etc. There must be an abundance of signs and plaques. I’m glad the signs were different, since that’s what sent me off on a research mission that led me to a story with a happy ending – who doesn’t need that ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubt. Hope you know I really did like these doors quite a bit. I’ve mentioned before how much I like the look of brick in these old buildings, especially churches. There are some church doors in Philadelphia I think you’d like — St. Leo’s, for example, which was my father’s hometown parish. Man, I’d really enjoy seeing you feature that someday, or any of the other churches up there. The place is loaded with great history.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have walked around Philadelphia on several occasions while there on business. I don’t know if I’ll get back for business, but I think I’ll get back at some point. It’s a pretty short train ride and a fun city.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. That’s how I felt when I was reading the history. It was like: “hey, these people put aside their differences and accomplished something better than any of them had on their own…”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. As an adult I haven’t been involved with that many churches – but there is one nearby that is very involved with the community as a whole – hosting brownie and cup scout events, a single parenting group, AA, etc. I think they’re a lovely example of openness.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the title: reason to hope – just needed to hear that!
    What do they call this style here in the USA (I’ve noticed that sometimes they give different names here than in Europe) I would say early Gothic, but the horizontal lines are renaissance-like? Don’t have to research it, but may be you know:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked this. I’ve seen both ‘gothic’ and ‘renaissance gothic’ used along with other styles. A lot of times, I find buildings here that started out one way, but ended up another because of funding or because someone else took over the project.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice post. Lovely churches. One reason I left mainstream religious organizations was having gone through a nasty church split when I was a preteen and the subsequent dissolution of the one we “followed”. Churches are made up of people and people will be people. This is an inspirational turn however. I am happy for their respective congregations.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post Dan…the photos are great and you captured the architecture well….but your real message is the bright spot…I have served on session (raised Presbyterian) in a large church, mid sized church and small church…all have their dynamics to work through, but the small church had so much more self interest issues to work through….trying to preserve what they were use to and not thinking about reaching out to grow and change. I am amazed that these congregations could get over themselves enough to reach out to each other and do what we are meant to do…reach out and embrace each other…perfect analogy for todays current environment!!

    Like

    1. here’s what I wrote, in case you are like me and have no idea how to read the share…..this is a wonderful post by someone who reminds me a lot of my father (not the age, but the wisdom of tools and seeing the worthiness of everything). Three different denominations coming together….. if only we all could do the same. Also, I just love Dan’s take on the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great photos as always, Dan. What I prefer above them, though, is your last sentence.
    Not that many years ago, these people were able to focus on what they had in common, and the ways in which they could help each other, and they were successful.
    So, so agree with you!

    Liked by 1 person

Add your thoughts. Start or join the discussion. Sadly, links require moderation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: