One hundred and ninety-one years ago, Trinity Church was built on Pleasant Street, the result of hard work and careful planning on the part of the Episcopal Society of Saco incorporated on March 22, 1827. By April the Society had purchased the Pleasant Street property, in May a building contract was signed, the foundation walls were completed in June, and the first service was held in October- all for the cost of $4,496.53. The church was consecrated as Trinity Episcopal Church by Bishop Alexander V. Griswold on November 20, 1827. Today it is the oldest original church building in Saco and the third oldest in the Diocese of Maine.
Over the years, the interior of the church changed many times.Three-decker pulpits were built and removed, two stairways led to a singers’ gallery, a stove was placed in the rear center of the church for warmth, a chancel window was created, originally round, clear glass replaced by stained glass, an organ was added, and the church bell became Saco’s fire alarm.
Between 1869 and 1934 Trinity extended beyond its walls establishing three missions: Christ Church, Biddeford, St. John’s-by-the-Sea, Old Orchard Beach, and St. Stephen-the-Martyr, Waterboro.
Throughout the decades Trinity Church has struggled with finances, a succession of thirty-one ministers in thirty-four years, heating methods, and parking. Because the Pleasant Street location was becoming too crowded, the congregation decided to purchase a Victorian house on Cleveland Street with enough land to build a new church, and architectural renderings were made for a modern structure. Still, many members wanted to keep the old building. After considering many options, it was decided that Trinity Church would be relocated.The church was divided into three sections with the two major structures weighing 40,000 pounds each. Workers rode atop each section to lift tree branches and warn of any impending obstacles.
Moving day was December 4, 1959 and it proved to be very cold, so the women of the parish served hot coffee to the workers, volunteers, and curious bystanders. Church services were held in the Victorian house next door while the church was being renovated. There was much interior work to be done. The old pews were re-assembled and anchored to the cement floor. Each pane of glass in the windows was removed, cleaned and puttied back in place. The old pipe organ was dismantled and sold, and the choir returned to the singer’s gallery. The first services were not held until the following Easter. Slowly, additional buildings were added. A new parish house was built behind the church in 1969 and six years later, a new foyer and lounge connected the church to the parish house. The old Victorian rectory was sold in 1984.
Today, one hundred and ninety-one years later Trinity Episcopal Church, Saco continues its mission to provide a welcoming, spiritual home for all. Our outreach extends to the organizations that use church facilities-AA, Al-Anon, York County Senior College, Southern Maine Agency on Aging, American Red Cross, Girl Scouts, Pray Yin Yoga, and Voices in Harmony. We support the Saco Food Pantry and Seeds of Hope. Our Pastoral Care Committee brings Communion and comfort to those in need. We look forward to what the next one hundred and ninety-one years will bring!