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Coordinates: 41°14.383′N 77°1.128′W / 41.239717°N 77.0188°W / 41.239717; -77.0188

Trinity Episcopal Church (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)

Trinity Episcopal Church is an historic church located in north-central Pennsylvania, specifically Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Built in 1875 and consecrated in February 1876, it is the largest of the Episcopal churches in the city. It has been the subject of a book.[1][2] Preservation Williamsport includes the church on its first trolley tour stop.[3][4] Of particular note is the "Maynard Chime" [5][6]

The church was founded and funded by inventor and robber baron Peter Herdic.[6] Trinity Church is currently the Pro-Cathedral of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania whose Bishop is The Right Reverend Nathan D. Baxter. The current rector of Trinity Parish and provost of the pro-cathedral is The Reverend Canon Kenneth E. Wagner-Pizza.


History of Trinity

Trinity is a prize example of 19th century ecclesiastical gothic architecture that would not have been possible without the financial backing and vision of two illustrious Williamsport residents, Peter Herdic and Eber Culver.

Peter Herdic was an entrepreneur and Williamsport mayor in the 1860’s and 1870’s. Eber Culver designed and oversaw the construction of the 218-foot spire and Fred G. Thorn designed the floor plans for the church.

The cornerstone for the church was laid on Saturday, July 15, 1871. The stone that embraces Trinity’s face was quarried from Bald Eagle Mountain. Peter Herdic underwrote the cost of the construction, and donated the organ and tower clock at a cost to him of $80,000.

In 1884, Judge Maynard donated land for the Rectory to be erected. Later, in 1875, Peter Herdic donated the clock and Judge Maynard donated the nine-bell chime. The chimes mechanism was designed by the Howard Clock Company to sound the “Cambridge Quarters” (or more commonly known as the “Westminister” chime). According to church records, this was the FIRST tower clock in the United States to sound this chime sequence originally heard in the Tower Clock of the Palace of Westminster in London. The chime clavier was first played on Christmas Eve, 1875. The 9-bell chime combined weight is 8,500 pounds, with the largest bell weighing 2,300 pounds.

An excerpt from the Parish Dial, March, 1875: "The beautiful instrument, which it contains is from the manufactory of E. Howard & Co, Boston. Several years ago Prof. Lyman, of the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale College, was requested by the city of New Haven to examine the various tower clocks made in this country, and to recommend the instrument which seemed to him the best time keeper. The result of this examination was the purchase of a Howard clock by the city of New Haven, which is now in the tower of the Town Hall and keeps accurate time. The clock in Trinity Church tower is similar to the New Haven instrument, and is warranted, after proper regulation, not to vary over two seconds a week. Extra machinery has been added to the Trinity clock by means of which it strikes the famous Cambridge Quarters. The music for the first quarter consists of four notes, for the second quarter of eight, for the third of twelve, and for the fourth of sixteen. The notes played were arranged by William Crotch from an air of Handel's and were first applied to St. Mary's Cambridge, England in 1794. They are also struck by the clock in the tower of Westminster Palace, and by the Cathedral clock in Toronto, Canada. To Trinity Church belongs the credit of introducing them into the United States. Five of the bells of the Maynard Chime are used in playing these strains, the hour being struck on the great tenor bell."

The Parish Hall and Chapel was built around 1914 from money donated by the estate of Amanda Howard.

On Sunday, February 13, 1977, an arsonist set fire to a pile of hymnals and prayer books in the church chapel. This was the second fire he had set this evening. The other fire that was set took place at Pine Street United Methodist Church, which unfortunately was not saved from the destruction of flames. It was fortunate for Trinity, however that a neighbor smelled smoke and saw the flames flickering through the chapel windows and called the fire department, who responded quickly, dousing the fire and containing the damage to the chapel area. The heat from the fire melted the chapel organ pipes.

A history of the church "Trinity Episcopal Church - An Historical Portrait" (LC Control No.: 9106682) was written in 1991 by Douglas Seth Gordon. It is out-of-print but an online copy is available from the church website.

The restoration and repointing of the stonework that adorns the face of the church was completed in 2000.

The baptistery mural, "The Angels Appearing to the Shepherds" (1929)(designed by John Wesley Little and completed by S.R. Hartman after Little's death) was restored by Michele W. Mapstone in 2009.

Music at Trinity

Music is a valued part of Trinity’s heritage. The organ in the main church was built and installed by Austin Organs, Incorporated. It contains 2,031 pipes constituting three manual divisions and pedals arranged in 35 ranks and 2 extensions.

Sunday worship schedule

Worship services begin at 8:00 AM in the Chapel and 10:00 AM in the Main Church (Summer Hours - 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM). Telephone: (570) 322-0126 The church is located at 844 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701

Community outreach

In addition to church services, it is home to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings,[7][8] lectures,[9] and other ministries.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  2. ^ Antiq Book website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Preservation Williamsport official website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  4. ^ dave Caldwell, "Williamsport, Pa.: Home of True Small Ball," New York Times, July 20, 2007, found atNew York Times website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  5. ^ [ Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA) official website]. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Trinity Episcopal Church official website history page. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  7. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous Of Greater Williamsport, PA official website history page. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  8. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous Of Harrisburg website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "A Listening Heart: Meditation on the Way of the Cross, Twelfth Station" for Good Friday at Trinity Episcopal Church, Williamsport PA, 4/14/2006. Found at Lycoming College website page for Robin J. DeWitt Knauth, Department of Religion. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  10. ^ Eric Long, "Have church, will travel: Interim pastors fill unique role in a transitional ministry," Sun Gazette, May 17, 2008, found at Sun Gazette website. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Education for Ministry, see Salem College website Outstanding Alumnae Awards 2008 page on Nancy Walker Marchal '58. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  12. ^ Campus ministry, see Lycoming College website Welcome to Williamsport, PA page. Retrieved September 29, 2008.

External links



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