Archive for December, 2013

Congregation

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Community garden
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Vacation Bible School 06

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Festival of Lessons and Carols

lessons-and-carols-2007Trinity’s Festival of Lessons and Carols, the second Sunday of Advent, December 4th, 2011, is attended by others from within the community as well as those of the Trinity Memorial family.  It begins at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary and ends with a reception featuring Christmas specialties, hot cider, tea and coffee.  All are invited; all are welcome.
Father Sam Boman with angels Kathryn Anne Holling, Jack Blessen and Claire Elizabeth Holling

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Crete’s Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church Celebrates 140th Anniversary

Crete’s Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church Celebrates 140th Anniversary

Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church of Crete, at 14th and Juniper Streets, celebrated its 140th anniversary on April 14, 2012 with a luncheon at Doane College followed by a service at 2 p.m. conducted by the Right Reverend J. Scott Barker, Bishop of Nebraska.  The service included Baptism, Confirmation and transfer of membership.

Crete’s history, Doane College’s history and Trinity Memorial’s history are inextricably connected.  According to early church documents microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society, the following was written in 1892 by the Rev. Edward S. Cross, Rector:

“The town of Crete was founded during the year 1870.Church services were held in 1871 and 1872 by the Rev. A. T. Whitten, and a service was held in 1872 by Bishop (Robert Harper) Clarkson; the place of worship being a room over a store (since burned) on E.13th St.

“On July 29, 1872, the following Vestry was elected at the Parish meeting: Wardens Henry Code and Alexander Johnston, Vestrymen J. Chowens, James Muncey, and M. J. Whitten.

“At this meeting, the Rev. A. T. Whitten, the first rector of the Parish, presided.  At the same meeting it was resolved to proceed to build the church.  Donors of the Church Building, the two Misses Dater, residing in New York City, had placed at the disposal of the Bishop, the sum of $2,000 for the building of a church; to be given to some parish which would raise $1,000 for a rectory; and the Bishop, partly out of regard to the Rev. A. T. Whitten, who had recently moved to the vicinity of Crete, gave for a church in Crete the benefit of the donation, the church receiving the name of “Trinity Memorial” in commemoration of the parents of the Misses Dater.

“The church was built in the autumn of 1872; the rectory within a few months before that date.”

The author of this part of the history, The Rev. Edward S. Cross, was appointed by the bishop to serve the church in Crete in February, 1892.  He writes, “The Sunday school was fairly flourishing, owing largely to the attendance of Bohemian children who constituted a majority of the school, although in the congregation there were fairly few Bohemians.”

He writes further:

Crete is a town unusually moral, religious, and cultured; and this Parish is one of much respectability of moral character, comparing favorably with very many.  If its churchly goal be unequal to its moral purity, there are various circumstances in its history which largely account for its condition; while its failure to gain any considerable hold on the population of the town is largely accounted for by the overwhelming predominance of the Congregational Church with its college.

The history continues from October 1892 to1947, written by Mrs. Nettie Aksamit.

Trinity Memorial spawned many priests and bishops, including 1897’s James Wise who became Bishop of Kansas, and 1898’s Father Gilman, coming first as a University of Nebraska student, who later became Bishop of China. There was the Rev. Irving P. Johnson, later Bishop of Colorado, also in the 1890s.From 1929 to 1931, Mr. Robert Mason, a Doane student, led services.  Upon graduation he attended seminary in Illinois.The 1940’s saw Doane students William Steinberg and Paul Moss proceeding to seminary after serving as Lay Readers, and in the 1950’s, Rodney Michl, now Assisting Bishop of Philadelphia, led services.  Currently, Doane graduate Chris Sloane, having attended Virginia Theological Seminary, is a priest in St. Louis, Missouri.

Leaders of the church services were always men, many of whom were students and faculty at Doane, including Senior Warden David Smith, until September 1990 when Priest, Anne McConney, began to serve Crete.

Trinity Memorial, on the National Historic Register, soldiered on through floods, blizzards, wars, droughts, hard times and good times, though these are not mentioned.  The late 1940s and early 1950s, after Cal Steele supervised the creation of the basement, saw Shrove Tuesday pancake breakfasts and a healthy mix of parents and youngsters in Sunday School and choir.

In more recent years, Trinity Memorial instituted a Lessons and Carols Service during Advent, and a Community Garden.  The roof has been replaced, the sidewalks were rebuilt, a handicapped ramp was added, and the furnace upgraded.  Doane students have spent countless hours of Community Service time helping with painting, grounds work and inside jobs. A Latino congregation, Iglesia de Jesuchristo shares the church Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Trinity Memorial continues, led by Deacon Christine Grosh, Lay Readers Adrian Harris, Senior Warden Betty Talley and Jody Kerssenbrock for Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist.  Doctor Steve Buhler is in charge of music.  Services are at 10:30 a.m. and all are invited to attend. The web address is www.trinitycretene.org.

 

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Photos and History

This photo of Crete dates from 1874 or 1875. Trinity Memorial is believed to be the church near the left of the picture. The parsonage is directly north (left) of the church. This home has since been moved one lot to the north.

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Count the trees in Crete in 1875!

Crete’s Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church is one of four 1870’s wooden board and batten Gothic churches extant in Nebraska, and is significant as one of the oldest church buildings in the state.

The first Episcopalian services were held in Crete in 1871, just a few months after the town’s founding.A parish was formally organized in 1872, and the Episcopalians resolved that same year to build a church.  Nebraska’s first Episcopal bishop, the Right Reverend R. H. Clarkson, had at his disposal $2,000 donated by two sisters, Kate and Helen Dater of New York City, for the building of a frontier church.  The money was to be given to a parish that would raise $1,000 to build a rectory.Bishop Clarkson selected the fledgling Crete parish as recipient of the donation, and Trinity Memorial Church was built in 1872.  The building received additions in 1889 and 1896.An examination of the floor plan and elevations following the 1896 additions reveals that Trinity Church’s appendages, and perhaps the initial construction, were most probably based on Plates 1, 2 and 3 “Wooden Church” in Richard Upjohn’s important 1852 publication, Upjohn’s Rural Architecture.  The book contained drawings for inexpensive, practical modern wooden church buildings which could be economically built on the frontier.  Upjohn’s work spawned a significant group of quality 19th Century American churches reflecting vernacular versions of the Gothic style imported from England, coupled with the board and batten siding made popular by Upjohn and others.  Trinity Memorial Church features lancet, or pointed-arch windows, two-tiered ornamental buttresses, and a quatrefoil window in the vestibule gable.  The earliest portion of the church is comprised of the first four bays of the nave.To increase seating, a fifth bay was added in 1889, and in 1896 the vestibule, chancel and sacristy were adjoined.  The bays are defined on the side walls by the non-functional buttresses that were not part of the original 1872 construction.

The interior of the church is virtually unaltered; however the walls, floor and ceiling are covered with non-original materials.A photograph, published in an 1889 church newsletter, shows that the ceiling was originally covered with narrow boards laid horizontally, and the walls were covered with thin strips of wood placed diagonally within simulated half-timbered sections.The wide-beaded wainscot, installed in 1896, is still intact along the lower wall under the windows.  An ogee arch – created of reversed curves – was built in 1896 and separates the nave and the chancel.  A rood beam inscribed with a scriptural verse was placed above the choir crossing in 1905.

Trinity Memorial was attended by several of Crete’s early founders, including miller and banker J.R. Johnston, Judge William Morris and hotel owner Henry Code.  Peak membership and substantial parish activity took place in the 1880s and 1890s.*

Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.The National Register is the nation’s list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation.A division of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, the program is administered in Nebraska by the State Historical Society.

Author of this history, minus the asterisk at the end of the penultimate paragraph, is Janet Jeffries Beauvais, Archivist at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.

 

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