In the beginning
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
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.
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 1991.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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.