Universal York

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Trinity Church a Landmark on East King Street in York

Trinity United Methodist Church, 241 East King St.
I’ve been following the stories on the proposed demolition of Trinity United Methodist Church on East King St. because of my admiration of historic architecture and because of the church’s place in local history and the community. I am very familiar with site, since I spent many years on the staff of York County Heritage Trust just across the alley from Trinity, and still park nearby as a YCHT volunteer.
There have been some developments in the past couple of days. According to news stories a meeting has been proposed between church representatives and city officials to discuss the fate of the building. On the other hand, church leaders have just issued a statement that they do not have the money to fix the trusses and roof, and that Trinity will be merging with another UM congregation. I personally hope at least the front section, the sanctuary with the beautiful stained glass windows, can somehow be saved. It is a real landmark building in the neighborhood.
Below is a brief history of the early years of Trinity’s congregation, mostly taken from Prowell’s 1907 History of York County.

Trinity’s Sunday School Building with Murals
Trinity was formed as an Evangelical Association congregation in 1871. (Evangelical churches later merged with the United Brethren to become Evangelical United Brethren. A later merger of that denomination with the Methodist Episcopal denomination formed the present day United Methodist Church.) The 57 initial members were led by Rev. U.F. Swengel and the chapel on East King St. was dedicated in October 1871. A parsonage was built around 1879.
This was a period of religious revivalism. Membership quickly increased and the church was enlarged in 1884. A new church, on the same site, was dedicated January 24, 1897. The church was enlarged to a seating capacity of 700 in 1906, and the Sunday School building, which could seat 1,260, was also erected about that time to accommodate the 650 members of Trinity’s Sunday School.
(Photos courtesy of Historic York, Inc.)
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