Trinity Episcopal to mark 175th anniversary


Amost 175 years to the day after Trinity Episcopal Church was founded in Danville an open house will be held at the church to celebrate its longevity and its vision for the future.

According to the Rev. Robert Kirkpatrick, who has been at the church since 1990, Trinity has continuously held services since 1829, and is the third oldest Episcopal church in Kentucky, after Christ Church in Lexington and Christ Church in Louisville.

"In 1829, it required three parishes to make a diocese, which is why Christ Church in Lexington decided to send a rector to Danville - so there could be an Episcopal diocese," Kirkpatrick explained.

"In 1896, the diocese of Kentucky split in two parts, and Danville was in the Diocese of Lexington, which includes everything east of Danville. Frankfort is in this diocese. We are at the western edge of the Diocese of Lexington."


The church still is located where it was built in the early 19th century.

The Danville parish currently has about 221 baptized members, he said. He characterizes the Episcopalian denomination as being "theologically open."

The denomination has experienced conflict over the last few years, Kirkpatrick noted.

"We are dealing with a major issue right now," he explained. "But we see ourselves as a denomination that gives people the opportunity to think and explore the faith without being restricted by a hard set of rules. We offer people the opportunity to think about their faith, to explore what faith means. We emphasize scripture but also look for contemporary expressions of how our faith bears on the world in which we live."

In the time he has been rector for Trinity, the main change has been an increasing number of young families and children, as well as a stronger Christian education program.

Looking to get more involved in outreach programs

In addition to the Christian formation program's advancement, the church is "looking to become more involved in outreach programs in the community," Kirkpatrick said.

"We want to use our gifts, talents and buildings to be a significant place on Main Street," he said. "We have a commitment to staying on Main Street, at a time when downtown is moving to the bypass. Our hope is that by our staying here, we are helping to sustain and develop the downtown."

The June 6 celebration of the founding of Trinity Episcopal Church will feature a "special hymn written for the day by a man named Carl Daw," Kirkpatrick said. "He is a hymn writer for the Episcopal church."

Bishop Stacy Sauls of the Diocese of Lexington will be in attendance, and confirmations and baptisms will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Following the morning church service will be a picnic at Cambus-Kenneth Farm.

"It was originally owned by Dr. Ephraim McDowell, who was one of the original founding members of church in 1829," Kirkpatrick noted, adding abolitionist James Birney also was an early member of the church.

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