In the beginning
Chapel - 1948
(note gated booths)
The original settlers of Solebury's open farmland were Quakers, and during the
early 1800's the few Episcopalians traveled by horse and wagon to the church in
Buckingham. Then Lizzie and Mary Jones began holding a children's Sunday school
on a local farm, and presently the families gathered in the little stone
schoolhouse at the Solebury crossroads (known as Centre Hill). In 1860, the Rev.
William Griest from Buckingham incorporated this small group as "Trinity
Solebury Chapel". In 1876 ground was broken for their own chapel, and during the
following years, traveling priests and seminary students provided part-time
clerical services. Horse sheds were built about 1900, and the benches in the
church were replaced by gated booths (in use until 1951).
First Fulltime Clergy
New Parish Hall - 1934
During the 1930's, Trinity's Women's Auxiliary raised money through community
suppers, which led to construction of a parish hall and small kitchen. The first
Christmas Bazaar was held in 1946, and it was there that Trinity's famous
Christmas cookies were first introduced. The congregation remained small,
however; not until after World War II did it begin to swell. In 1948 the Rev.
Walter Malone was installed as Trinity's first full-time vicar, and the Rectory
was built for him and his family. The first volume of Bucks Cooks was published
in 1953 as a major fundraiser, leading to expansion of the church chancel. In
1954, the diocese recognized Trinity Episcopal Church as a self-sustaining
parish, and the Rev. G. Crofton Thompson became its first Rector.
Leaving Church - 1955
(Rev. Thompson's back is shown)
Trinity's Day School opened in 1959, and the cemetery was established in 1963.
The Women's Auxiliary (then called the Women of Trinity) was disbanded in 1963.
Two years later, the first woman was appointed to the vestry. Following Mr.
Thompson's sudden death, the Rev. John M. Smart was chosen as Rector in 1968,
and the congregation continued to grow. The Wiley property adjacent to the
church was purchased in 1973, later to become the site of the present church.
Ron Kershner, a professional musician, served as organist and music director
from 1974 until 1994; under his direction, the choir blossomed. In 1978 the Rev.
William H. Wood III became Rector and led the parish for thirteen years, longest
of any of Trinity's clergy. Following his departure in 1991, the Rev. Barbara A.
Kelley served as Interim Rector. The second volume of Bucks Cooks came out in
1984, and the Christmas Bazaar was reorganized as the Christmas House Tour in
Parish Hall - 1997
(destroyed by May 1998 fire)
The Rev. David A. Anderson was called as Rector in 1992. Three years later,
Trinity had its first Assistant Rector, the Rev. John Capellaro, who expanded
the Trinity Youth Group (organized in 1992) and initiated Lobsterfest and
"Mission Philadelphia". Trinity Tidings became the monthly newsletter.
PEACEMEAL, a monthly dinner for families throughout the community faced with
HIV/AIDS, was inaugurated in 1995. The Anderson family moved into their own home
in 1997, and work was begun to transform the Rectory into administrative
offices. The 1990's had brought remarkable development to the area, and the
parish continued to expand.
Recovering from Fire
Reconstruction Starts - 1999
The Rev. David Anderson at ground breaking
In May 1998, the church buildings burned down and the church itself badly
damaged. For two years, services were held in the New Hope/Solebury Elementary
School gymnasium across the road and the school's classrooms used for Church
School. This was a traumatic time for both clergy and parishioners, lightened by
the arrival of Tim Harrell, an accomplished organist, in August and the addition
of the Rev. Susan J. Butler who joined Trinity as Assistant Rector in January.
During the years in the gym, the congregation kept growing as it eagerly watched
the construction of the new church; the first service was held there in June
2000. That fall Trinity Day School moved into its six new classrooms. The old
church was renovated and is now the Chapel for smaller gatherings.
First Service: Pentecost 2000
In 2002 a bell was installed in the new bell tower, and Vacation Bible School
was held for the first time; it is now an annual event. The Rev. Susan Sica
served briefly as Assistant Rector. In May 2003 the parish regretfully parted
with Mr. Anderson and his family as they moved on to Connecticut. In July, the
Rev. Christine Ritter took over as Interim Rector, serving during the search for
a new rector and assisted part-time by the Rev. Virginia Sheay. Church School
enrollment grew to 100 children, and the Day School flourished.
The Pasi Opus 17 Pipe Organ
Installed in 2006
The Rev. Marshall Shelly arrived in time for Holy Week in 2005, and he and his
wife Laura quickly entered into Trinity's many activities. The Rev. Mariclair
Partee became assistant rector, and the Rev. Sheay continued to assist. After
many years of planning and fund raising, the spring of 2006 welcomed a beautiful
new pipe organ, installed in space provided for it when the new church was
built. During the following years, the parish continued supporting a wide
variety of spiritual and community-conscious ministries, including outreach
visits to Kenya and Guatemala, and the Trinity Youth Group looked forward each
summer to its annual work-week, "Mission Philadelphia". In the fall of 2007
Kyle Evans, a longtime member of Trinity, began a year as Missioner in Haiti,
working through its Theological Seminary.
The Rev. Emory Byrum
Staff changes occurred in late 2008 and the beginning of 2009 including the
Rector, The Rev. Marshall K. Shelly and the assistant rector, The Rev. Mariclair
Partee. Those changes resulted in the loss of some of Trinity's active members.
The dedicated Vestry and Wardens led the Church in the selection of its Interim
Rector, The Rev. Dr. Emory Byrum whose ministry began the week after Easter,
2009. Trinity Church continued as a vital Episcopal parish in the Diocese of
Pennsylvania, welcoming all who came within the sphere of its ministries.
The Rev. Richard Lee
The Rev. Richard Lee Vinson became Trinity's new Rector on February 1st, 2012.
He and his wife Ellen were warmly welcomed as they arrived from their former
parish in Hawaii and are looking forward to the Easter Season ahead. The Rev.
Virginia Sheay continues as Priest Associate.