The congregation now known as Trinity United Methodist Church began in Evansville in 1825 as a Methodist class, and was the first Methodist organization of any type in Evansville. Since then it has been responsible for having founded almost every Methodist church in the Evansville area.
The founding minister was Robert Parrett, born in England in 1791 and pictured to the right. A licensed preacher of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in England, Parrett and his wife, Martha, came to America in 1816.
Methodist class members were required to commit themselves to a pure lifestyle, which was described in a document called The Discipline. The class selected a leader to visit members once a week and provide guidance as needed.
There were no church buildings in Evansville at that time, the town being quite small. The group met first in Warner Tavern for two years and then moved its meetings to the Vanderburgh County Courthouse at the corner of Main and Third Streets. Later, the class members met in a schoolhouse at Third and Main.
In 1839 the group completed construction on a brick building called the Locust Street Methodist Episcopal Church. It stood next to the alley between Second and Third Streets, on the south side of Locust Street. Around that time the Methodist Society, as it was then called, also took on the responsibility of raising funds to support a full-time minister. The first minister was John S. Bayless. From these beginnings, the church went on to make an incredible social impact in the life of Evansville, decade after decade.
In 1860 trustees acquired a new lot at the corner of Third and Chestnut at a cost of $3,000 and put $85,000 toward a new sanctuary and furnishings. In 1866, despite the shadows of a great Civil War, the current sanctuary was completed and dedicated, and the church’s name was officially changed to Trinity.
As the congregation grew and as newer facilities were needed, new buildings were erected. The balcony was added in 1882, and in 1926 a church house was built near the sanctuary. Through wars and the Great Depression, the church continued its work of reaching out to those in need. Many great men and women served as ministers and in other important roles throughout the life of the church, each focusing its members on the next phase of the church’s life and growth in the community. From the beginnings of Methodism in Evansville, Trinity United Methodist Church has been an important spiritual influence in the life of the city, and it continues to be that today.
Trinity United Methodist Church desires to continue its rich history by making a positive impact on young people in our community. We invite you to help us continue our heritage of cultivating and nurturing the Spirit of Christ in our church family, our community, and the world.
Rev. Albion Fellows was pastor at Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church from 1863 to 1865. He directed an expansion of the church’s sanctuary. His daughter, Albion Fellows Bacon, promoted services and legislation locally and statewide to help the disadvantaged.
Dr. Alfred E. Craig was pastor at Trinity Methodist Church from 1918 to 1928. Dr. Craig directed the construction of Trinity’s current facility.
Dr. Frank Hamilton was pastor at Trinity Methodist Church from 1943 to 1953. His leadership brought high attendance and prosperity to Trinity. Dr. Hamilton’s son, Lee Hamilton, is a former U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 9th District.