Skip to main content

Trinity Church – Boston

Located in the Back Bay of Boston city, Massachusetts, the Trinity Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese. The fellowship is currently standing at around 3,000 households, which was founded in the year 1733. On every Sunday, four services are offered and the services are offered three times a week on weekdays. This practice is continued from the month of September through June. While continuing to be a Broad Church parish, Trinity is considered as “Low Church.”

The congregation is actively involved in programs in service for children and teenagers, community, pastoral care, and Christian education for all ages. The church is the center to various high-level choirs, including the Trinity Schola, Trinity Choir, Trinity Chamber Choir and Trinity Choristers.

After the old site, which was located on the Summer Street, burned in 1872, in the Great Boston Fire, the present church complex was built under the direction of one of the famous and most fascinating preachers of his time, Rector Phillips Brooks (1835–1893). Henry Hobson Richardson designed the church and parish house and construction started in the year 1872 which continued till the year 1877, when the complex was sanctified.

Trinity Church is the birthplace and an essence of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, which is distinguished by a clay roof, heavy arches, polychromy, rough stone, and a massive tower. Many public buildings across the United States soon adopted this style.

Every year in the month of December, the choirs of Trinity present three iterations of a service of candlelight canticles. These are events are very well-known and “Boston Tradition”. They draw attendees from as far away as Maine and reach approximately to 5,000 people. People wait in long lines to enter the church for the free event, which is a traditional scene in Copley Square. The Trinity Choir can be heard on many commended recordings. Richard Webster is the current Director of Music and Organist.

Four services are offered on Sundays, which include, modified version of Rite I Morning Prayer, which is rarely heard nowadays – it has an extra anthem and a sermon. Wednesday Evensong and Thursday Holy Eucharist with Prayers for Healing comes under the weekday services.

Trinity Church has organized numerous special services over the years, which are mainly due to its central location in Boston, a strong reputation as a parish and a large seating capacity. Interfaith (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) are part of these services that immediately followed the 9/11 attacks, July 2005 London bombings, consecrations of bishops, many prominent funerals, etc.

The Rector is the priest elected to head a self-supporting parish in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The Rectors of Trinity Church had great impact in the social and political sphere, due to the importance of Trinity Church in Boston.

The Rectors of Trinity Church from its founding till today are as follows:
1740–1746, Addington Davenport
1747–1767, William Hooper
1768–1776, William Walter
1779–1804, Samuel Parker
1805–1830, John Sylvester John Gardiner
1831–1832, George Washington Doane
1833–1838, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright
1842–1868, Manton Eastburn
1869–1891, Phillips Brooks
1892–1904, Elijah Winchester Donald
1905–1922, Alexander Mann
1923–1930, Henry Knox Sherrill
1930–1940, Arthur Lee Kinsolving
1940–1942, Oliver James Hart
1942–1972, Theodore Parker Ferris
1974–1981, Thom Williamson Blair
1982–1992, Spencer Morgan Rice
1993–2005, Samuel T. Lloyd III
2006–2011, Anne Berry Bonnyman
Named Priest-in-Charge, 2011–2014; Rector 2014-Present, Samuel T. Lloyd III

Art and architecture
The four arms of the building extends outwards from the central tower standing at a height of 64 m (211 ft) – building’s plan is a refashioned Greek Cross. Situated in Copley Square, in the shadow of the John Hancock Tower, the church has was built in Boston’s Back Bay — originally a mud flat. Trinity has a base of 4500 wooden piles, each of which is driven through 30 feet of gravel fill, clay, and silt — constantly watered by the Back Bay, in case they do not rot if exposed to air.

American artists completed the interior murals that cover over 21,500 square feet (about 2,000 m²). Richardson and Brooks thought that a colorful interior is a necessity for the church and they decided to go to John La Farge (1835–1910) for help. La Farge had never done anything like this on such a big scale, but when he realized its importance he started the work and requested that only his costs should be paid. La Farge’s earned his good reputation after designing the remarkable interior of the church.

At consecration in the year 1877, the windows of the church were clear glass, with only one exception, but in some time major windows were added. Edward Burne-Jones designed four windows, which were further executed by William Morris. John La Farge exceptionally commissioned the other four windows and restructured the window glass with their layering of opalescent glass.

Trinity Church is among the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States” by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and is the only building in Boston and is the only church in the United States that has received such honor. Trinity Church was voted the most important building in the U.S. by the architects, in the year 1885. On December 30th, 1970 the church was designated a National Historic Landmark.