By Howard and Joan Anyan, c. 2004.
The roots of Trinity United Church date back to the early 1800’s when Methodist Circuit Riders or Saddle Bag Preachers held home meetings in the area. In 1830, a Community Hall was built on the south side of King Street near the Vanstone Creek. This was used by all denominations for a church but it was also used for a school. The first Methodist Church was built on Chapel Street, on the west side of the creek, which was to be known as Westmount.
In 1839, after a parcel of land was acquired on the corner of Church and Division Streets, a new church was erected. It was to be known as Wesleyan Methodist Church. By 1870 the congregation had grown and a new larger church was built on the same location. The union of the Methodist churches took place in 1884 – Primitive Methodist, Bible Christian, Episcopal Methodist, and Canada Methodist, including Wesleyan Methodist. The church was renamed Church Street Methodist. New additions were added in 1890 to Church Street Methodist to accommodate the growing membership. These additions made the church building as it is today, with a wrap-around balcony, choir loft and church school facilities. Theatre style chairs were installed at a cost of $1.87 each. This was a volume purchase so the special price was a deduction of three cents for each chair. These were replaced in 1966 when new carpet and oak pews were installed.
In 1925 the Methodist Churches, Congregational Churches and Presbyterian Churches in Canada voted to become one church, The United Church of Canada. What was called Wesleyan Methodist Church, later Church Street Methodist, became TRINITY UNITED CHURCH.
The year 1954 saw renovations to the Sunday School Hall. This changed the open concept area to a two floor plan with a kitchen and parlour on the first floor and classrooms and church offices on the second floor.
A new three manual Casavant organ was installed in 1957 to replace the original Legg organ. On October 27, 1957, this new organ was dedicated in memory of all who gave their lives in World Wars 1 and 2. Over the last 50 years many additions and enhancements have been made to this wonderful musical instrument.
In 1988, an engraved stone was placed in the west outside wall of the church. Behind this stone was placed a sealed time capsule containing historical information of the church and community.
In 1993, the addition of a large recreation hall was added to the existing church. The lower level was built with a kitchenette and church school facilities with an exit onto a sunken garden patio. Above a section of the new addition, another kitchenette was added as well as a circular window allowing much sunlight to brighten the room and house the church’s resource centre. A new completely equipped kitchen was added where the old and new building meet. With a grant from the government, an elevator was installed to make Trinity a handicapped-accessible facility.
Storage areas were needed where chairs, tables, decorating needs, and freezers, to name a few, could be located and yet easily retrieved when needed. 2004 saw plans in place. The building began with completion in a year.
Trinity United Church has continued to be an intricate part of the history of Bowmanville for over 180 years.