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Trinity Episcopal Church celebrates 100 years
Special service looking back to the past to be held Wednesday
Betty Akins with Bishop
Betty Akins, a longtime church member who served as the "Acolyte Mother" for more than 25 years, is shown with Bishop Henry Louttit, left, who served as a priest at Trinity beginning in 1965, and an unidentified third man. - photo by SPECIAL PHOTO
For the past few months, the congregation of Trinity Episcopal Church – a forward-looking group – has been looking back at its first 100 years.
    On Wednesday, June 6, at 6 p.m., the community is invited to the church, located at the Bypass and Country Club Roads, for a brief service, a reception, and a chance to hear former Trinity priests--including Bishop Henry Louttit--and longtime members share memories of the congregation.
    In addition to regular Sunday worship at 8:30 and 10:45 a.m., Trinity Episcopal has, over the years, opened its doors to the community. Today a homeowners association and AARP Driver’s Education programs meet there, and the church sponsors yoga classes Mondays at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The Humane Society and the Lions Club hold fundraisers at the church, and Trinity’s Benefit Concert Series raises funds to support a variety of local non-profit organizations. The church holds an annual dinner and auction to support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Beginning (1907)
    Statesboro’s Episcopal congregation began as a mission in 1907, when the Reverend J. Herbert Woodward came here to baptize a baby girl, Susan Elizabeth George, into the Episcopal faith. Woodward held occasional services until 1909, and he was succeeded by a series of traveling priests.
    Through World War II, two Georgia Teachers College faculty members, Thomas B. Stroup and Ronald J. Neil, kept the mission going by holding morning prayer services at the college. In 1945 a retired clergyman, came to serve communion once a month, but Professor Neil continued to read on other Sundays.

Trinity Church at Northside Drive and Lee Streets (1953-1965)
    In 1952 the Bishop gave $2,500 to build a church, and. Ronald Neil and his wife gave the ground for the building. The church was consecrated on Trinity Sunday in 1953, and the name Trinity Episcopal Church was officially adopted.
    In 1954 the Reverend Robert E.H. Peeples--better known as “Father Bob” to his congregation--became vicar. The first Canterbury Club in Georgia was organized for college students, and the church acquired a rectory on Groover Street. Enlarged with a parish hall and Sunday School rooms, by 1957 the church included 29 communing members. In April 1964 the growing church decided to sell the Lee Street property, and planning for a new building began.

Trinity Church on Chandler (1965-2000)
    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 (KJV)
    The next Trinity Episcopal Church was built on Chandler Street adjacent to the Georgia Southern College and consecrated on September 19, 1965. The In-as-much School for underprivileged children was developed in 1968 by a group of the community’s concerned citizens.
    The school provided a hearty breakfast, kindergarten, snacks, dental care, and medical care for more than 25 children each year. The school was also supported by proceeds from “The Bargain Box,” a thrift store organized by the Episcopal Church Women. The In-as-much School ended in1976, when kindergarten became part of the public school system.
    In the 1970s Trinity members presented “Wonderful Wednesdays,” a summer evening activities program for children ages three to 16, and the “Trinity Players,” presented several musicals. The Rev. William Connor Noble, who served from 1970 to 1972, worked with the Methodist chaplain at Georgia Southern to produce a radio show for college students.
    In February 1990 Trinity Mission became Trinity Parish, having achieved its financial independence.

Trinity Church on the Bypass (2000-present)
    Bishop Henry Louttit, a former Trinity priest, and Rev. Ronald Davidson broke ground for Trinity’s long-anticipated building at the Bypass and Country Club Road in 1999, and the new church was consecrated Nov. 1, 2000. The Rev. Joan M. Kilian joined Trinity as rector in 2002.
    Trinity encourages the education of new clergy, and has supported Frank Sullivan Logue and Lonnie Lacey through ordination. Lacey was ordained in 2006 and serves Trinity as assistant rector and chaplain at Georgia Southern. Another Trinity Seminarian, Wallace Marsh, is attending seminary at Yale University and will be ordained this year.

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