TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SWARTHMORE, PA PARISH PROFILE FALL, 2016
Trinity Episcopal Church 301 N. Chester Rd, Swarthmore, PA 19081 www.trinity-swarthmore.org Chair of the Search Committee Joseph Caruso email@example.com Diocesan Deployment Officer Canon Jill Mathis firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAR POTENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are reading this, it may be that you are discerning God’s call for your life. We also have been in a process of discernment, listening to our Trinity Church community through observation, conversation, and a parish survey. In this Parish Profile, you will find an articulation of our discernment: the Rector we seek, and the blessings and challenges we are eager to share with that person; a description of who we are as a faith community; the story of how we serve God’s people; and context to help you understand us better. In these pages, you will find our hopes as well as our concerns as we face a future at a crossroads. If you discern that you may be the one who writes the next chapter of our story with us, we look forward to meeting you. We are praying for you already! Yours in faith, The Profile Committee: Bella Englebach (chair), Jean Arnold, Amy Caruso, Sharon Graham, Ann Kane, Rev. Bill North, Dorrie Rawley, Rev. Patricia Oglesby
Table of Contents Section 1: Summary of the Call Section 2: Who we Are Section 3: How we Serve: Our Ministries Section 4: Context
P. 2 P. 7 P. 12 P. 18
SECTION 1: SUMMARY OF THE CALL THE RECTOR WE SEEK:
Is committed to personal growth in Christ, demonstrating leadership in prayer life, and study of scripture. Can navigate the challenges of a church that is too large to be a pastoral church, and which has struggled to make the transition to a program church; a church that may need to continue as a “transitional size” church. Thrives and succeeds in times of change; eager to engage with a changing Church in a changing world. Is experienced in developing lay leaders, especially for evangelism, new member ministry, membership retention, and stewardship. Can develop the spiritual life of people of all ages, with sound preaching, teaching, and theology, with special attention to families with young children. Is a talented and creative liturgist, guiding meaningful, lively and reverent worship, and encouraging the continuation and expansion of our music program beyond the 11 a.m. service.
"You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor." (BCP p. 531)
“I don't think we've responded to the Presiding Bishop’s call to take our church to where people are.”
SECTION 1: SUMMARY OF THE CALL MISSION OF TRINITY CHURCH proposed by the Welcoming and Affirming Committee, and adopted by the Vestry in August, 2016
The mission of Trinity Church is to be a vital Christian community, affirming the gifts of all God's people: women and men, young and old, of every race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and disability. We are called by God to support each other at every stage of our faith journey as we pray, worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace, and love. By these means we seek to restore all to unity with God and each other in Christ.
SECTION 1: SUMMARY OF THE CALL BLESSINGS The Trinity Community is the recipient of many blessings. We believe that strengthening our core foundation will enable us to move into the future with hopefulness and joy as we continue to do God’s work. There is much enthusiasm among parishioners for moving ahead, and we are eager to find the person who will share our enthusiasm. COMMUNITY Trinity sees itself as a strong community of members. Over one-third of members surveyed cited the people of Trinity as our biggest strength. Whether it be the “fellowship”, the “care for others”, the “inclusiveness and openness” of members, or the “sense of family”, Trinity clearly prides itself on its openness and welcoming spirit for all. LEADERSHIP Trinity’s community spirit has been further blessed and enhanced with strong leadership throughout the years. Our two ministers have collaborated closely and have been supported by an active and engaged laity. Survey respondents note the “wonder leaders among our lay people”, the “cooperation…and enthusiasm among leadership” and the “committed clergy.” MUSIC Trinity is recognized as having one of the most high-quality music ministries in our area. Our choir enlivens the 11 a.m. service and holiday services. The choir also hosts several musical engagements for the community throughout the year. Many congregants recognized this special gift, simply stating “Music” as a key strength. COMMITTED CORE Trinity has a core of dedicated and energized volunteers who devote countless hours each week to making great things happen—both through our many programs at church and in the community. Trinity currently sponsors more than 40 ministries and social groups, most of which are led by the laity. When surveyed, Trinity members constantly remarked on our members and their “commitment to service”, “dedication”, “loyalty,” and “commitment to succeed”. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5
“It is my church, and I love my church” 4
SECTION 1: SUMMARY OF THE CALL CHALLENGES We recognize that we face challenges to thrive in the 21st century. Trinity is struggling to maintain its place in the Episcopal community and the community at large. The Trinity membership is looking to call a committed pastor who can help us navigate the following key challenges. MEMBERSHIP Like many Episcopal churches, Trinity’s membership is aging, and we have had decreased attendance over the last several years. In our profile survey, attracting and retaining members, especially young members, was by far the biggest concern voiced by our membership. Our membership base needs strengthening for our long-term survival. STEWARDSHIP As Trinity’s membership has dwindled, so has its budget. Our savings are still healthy; however, we have found reason to draw down on them over the past few years to cover expenses. Our financial support base is in need of strengthening, and our members recognize it, making it the second-highest concern expressed, behind membership. Our next rector will need to engage the parish in a significant process of education around stewardship in order to allow for future growth and long-term sustainability. ENGAGEMENT Trinity is blessed with a vibrant diversity of ministries for its congregation and the community. There is a committed core of individuals who initiate and sustain these ministries. A broader array of members must be engaged in the ministries in order to ensure their continued existence. We risk members who carry the weight of our many ministries “burning out”. CONGREGATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Trinity has three services from September through June. Each service has dedicated members and fellowship; however, it is challenging to bring worshippers of all three services together to share experiences. While 68% of survey respondents say that they do frequently or occasionally attend other services, there is a lingering sense that Trinity can improve the interaction of the services. About half the survey respondents (53%) feel it is important for all parishioners to know each other. This sense of wanting to know each other is at odds with the stated desire of most respondents to the survey to grow our membership, which would make it progressively harder for all parishioners to know each other. The ongoing debate as to whether we would be able to move to becoming a program church (both in size and administrative policies) from our current pastoral/transitional state is also highlighted by 90% of survey respondents agreeing that they want to know the rector personally, and 50% stating that it is important to them that the rector makes home visits. In a program church, these expectations might not be met. But strive first for the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 “Membership is a big problem. The new rector needs to be very active in encouraging members to invite new members” 5
SECTION 1: SUMMARY OF THE CALL HOW WE ARE CHANGING As we have moved through our interim period, we have not stood still. We are discovering new ways to serve. A new Sunday School program (Kid’s Club) will be launched in the fall of 2016, enlivening and re-engaging our children and youth. The Welcoming and Affirming Committee has been working on how to better welcome LGBTQ people. College students at Swarthmore College have created “Swatties in Service” after they experienced faith-based community service at Trinity. Stephen Ministry is expanding pastoral care beyond our traditional clergy-driven model. We are exploring how to best use our neighboring vacant home, Trinity House. We are revitalizing New Member Ministry. Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19
OUR HOPES: TRINITY MEMBERS WERE ASKED TO WRITE DOWN THEIR HOPES FOR TRINITY:
A listing of these expressions of hope has been shared with the vestry. 6
SECTION 2: WHO WE ARE
SECTION 2: WHO WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF TRINITY CHURCH The members of Trinity come from a variety of religious backgrounds, but are bound together through our common prayer and commitment, to loving and serving both our members and our neighbors in the community. The following demographic information is derived from our Summer 2016 Parish Survey which had responses from 130 of 245 Trinity members. Our membership skews towards a senior population. To extrapolate from our survey results, over 60% of our membership is of the Baby Boomer and Greatest Generations, with less than 10% of adult membership under the age of 32. There are approximately 100 youth and children in our community. Our membership is committed to Trinity, with over 60% of members having attended Trinity for over 10 years. As with many churches of our age, Trinity has struggled to add new members to its rolls, with fewer than 20% of respondents claiming Trinity membership of 5 years or less. Trinity membership is mostly comprised of families from Delaware County, with 95% of members traveling 10 miles or less to come to services. While 50% of the survey respondents are life-long Episcopalians, 20% bring to us a Roman Catholic background, 14% claim other mainline denominations, and 8% describe their religious background as “it’s complicated.”. Trinity’s Parochial Report reflects the following data: 2015 Active Baptized Members Communicants in Good Standing Youth in Good Standing Other Active Average Sunday Attendance Easter Sunday Attendance
-38.60% -93.56% -15.91%
SECTION 2: WHO WE ARE STAFF In addition to the Rector, the current paid staff of Trinity Church includes one part-time Associate clergy and three laypeople. We are also seeking a part-time youth minister/musician. The Rev. Joyce Tompkins has been an Associate priest at Trinity for more than fifteen years. Her position involves sharing preaching and liturgical responsibilities with the rector on a weekly basis. She also provides planning and leadership of all middle school and high school youth activities, as well as providing support for our lay leadership in initiating our new Church School programming. This includes the planning of summer trips which alternate between domestic mission work and a pilgrimage to the Iona community in Scotland. She assists the rector with overall parish planning and provides pastoral coverage as needed. Joyce is our bridge to the students at Swarthmore College where she serves as Protestant campus chaplain with support from Trinity and the Diocese. Tina Hogan is our newest staff person. She was hired in the summer of 2015 to fill a newly created, combined full-time position of Office Administrator and Book-keeper. She manages the production of the weekly worship bulletins, deals with all telephone and written correspondence, sends frequent e-mails to ensure good parish communications, and is our office receptionist. She also works closely with the parish treasurer to produce payroll, manage bill payments, make deposits, and provide reports for the Vestry and Finance Committees. Greg Piscorik has been the parishâ€™s part-time sexton for more than twenty years. He has overall responsibility for maintaining the cleanliness of the building interiors as well as the condition of the grounds. In consultation with both the rector and the office administrator, he sets up and takes down the requisite tables and chairs for meetings. His position is funded for about 24 hours per week. Jim Smith first came to Trinity as the Director of Music in 1990. During his tenure, the adult choir has developed a reputation for excellence throughout the diocese and has provided special musical offerings that are well received by the local community. His position is funded for a little less than half time, and he is expected to work with the rector and office administrator during the week to prepare for the Sunday liturgies. Our part-time youth minister/musician, Nathan Hill, works about five hours a week to provide instrumental music for the 9:15 a.m. service, help our families to learn more contemporary hymns/songs, and help to integrate this music ministry with the Church School programming.
SECTION 2: WHO WE ARE WORSHIP SERVICES Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8-9 Christians are welcome to participate fully in worship and to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. From September to May, we worship on Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:15 a.m., and 11 a.m. and celebrate the Eucharist at each service. In the summer months, and for special occasions, the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services are combined into a 10 a.m. service. Children are welcome at all services, and activity bags are available in the rear of the church. There is ample room at the rear of the church for young children and their parents to stand and play when sitting in the pews becomes a challenge! There is a Eucharist on Wednesday mornings at 9:30, with a small, but faithful, following. This service includes prayers for healing. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents indicate that they choose the service they attend primary based on liturgical and musical style. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they attend. Our survey also indicates that most respondents will occasionally attend a different service and are open to occasional services such as Daily Office, weekend evening services, Taizé, and celebrations of Feast Days. We have had good community and college response to services organized for a particular prayer concern, such an interfaith vigil that was held in response to the Orlando shootings. An annual Advent choral event is also well-attended by the community. The 8 a.m. Rite I said service lasts approximately 45 minutes. Afterwards, attendees meet for coffee and light breakfast in the Parish Hall. The 9:15 service is more oriented to families with children and youth, although not all attendees have children. Music includes the Lift Every Voice and Sing (LEVAS) Hymnal, music from the Taizé and “Worship (is a strength). For that alone, I would Iona communities, and guitar and other musical keep going to Trinity.” instruments. This service features a Family of the Week, who assist with ushering, offering and readings. In addition to a general Rite II format, the congregation is very receptive to alternative liturgies, including A New Zealand Prayer Book, Enriching our Worship, The Iona Prayers and the occasional special liturgies posted on the national Church website. During the Communion, congregants come to the front of the church and gather around the altar, and the bread and wine are distributed to the gathered group. Vested acolytes and verger are joined by chalice bearers who sit in the congregation until the Offertory.
The 11 a.m. choral Eucharist is a Rite II liturgy which includes sung settings of the congregational texts, and offertory and communion music sung by the choir. Chanting of the Eucharistic Prayer is optional at the discretion of the priest. Afterwards, participants enjoy coffee and refreshments at “Take Ten,” hosted by members of the congregation. Swarthmore College students often join the congregation at 11 a.m. In the summer, the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services are combined. The summer 10 a.m. service often features different liturgies, such as the use of A New Zealand Prayer Book, and is followed by “Lemonade “We have a liberal, inclusive theology and liturgy.” on the Lawn,” hosted by various families. Throughout the year, Trinity celebrates with variations on the traditional services, including worship and a picnic in nearby Little Crum Creek Park, Confirmation, Rite 13, Blessing of the Animals, All Saints and All Souls observances, the Christmas Pageant, Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, and Holy Week services.
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES We serve God’s people and the world in over forty ministries and “The church has a core of committed people who have social groups. Eighty-four percent of a long history with the parish.” the respondents to the church survey are currently involved in one or more ministries, worship, general program, communal program ministries, and outreach ministries. Of those people not currently involved, the majority would like to be personally contacted to join a particular ministry. Other reasons listed for not being involved were lack of familiarity with all the ministries, involvement with family and friends, lack of time, and interest in other aspects of Trinity. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit – 1 Cor 12:4
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES WORSHIP AND PASTORAL CARE Our life together is renewed through our worship. Members of the Trinity community participate as Families of the Week, in Choir, as Lectors and Intercessors, Acolytes, Chalice Bearers, Ushers, Vergers, and Altar Guild. Eighty-three percent of the church survey respondents rated the worship ministries as strong to very strong, while 94% rated the choir and music program, in particular, as a major asset to Trinity church worship. Ministries related to pastoral care include Lay Eucharistic Visitors, Stephen Ministry, the Healing Prayer team, Flower Delivery, and the Pastoral Care team. The Healing and Pastoral ministries are, likewise, viewed as strong or very strong (78 % of survey respondents). The choir, with volunteer members and paid section leaders, sings during the academic year, and includes singers from the parish, community, and local colleges. The musical offerings span the centuries, from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Trinity has a small but dedicated group of acolytes from 4th grade through to adults who serve at both the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services, and occasionally at 8 a.m. The Altar Guild prepares the sanctuary all services. Their duties involve organizing flowers, ensuring the correct liturgical colors are placed, and the church and altar are properly set up for worship. The Lectors read the Scripture for the day while Intercessors lead the congregation in the prayers. The duties of the Verger include supporting the clergy in planning services, and assigning and training Chalice Bearers, Acolytes, and Intercessors. Trinity Church currently has a Verger and a Junior Verger.
“As a choir member, I have found a musical home at Trinity. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the liturgy through music.”
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES GENERAL PROGRAMS These ministries are an important component in the larger community of Trinity Church. Some of the ministries in this category include the Vestry, and Vestry committees including Buildings and Grounds, Communications, and Finance Committees, and the Diocesan Delegates. Communications include the “Constant Chronicle,” an email update, issued frequently, the Trinity private Facebook group, our website, a public Facebook page, and hard copy and email communications from the office. One area of primary concern at Trinity is membership, attracting and incorporating new members and keeping current members. Almost half of the survey respondents rate the effectiveness of this ministry as poor to very poor. A New Member Ministry Committee has recently been developed to address this issue. SOCIAL PROGRAMS These ministries promote fellowship among members. The Thrift Shop, Men’s and Women’s Breakfast Groups, the Monday Women’s group, and the Book Group are examples. A frequent comment among group members is the sense of community and family within each of the respective ministries. All of these ministries are loyally attended and considered highly effective by church members. The Thrift Shop, in operation since 1976, sells donated goods, and donates the profits to many outreach agencies Fellowship activities are greatly appreciated and well-attended. We like to eat and enjoy each other’s company! Favorite events include the Pasta Dinner in the Fall, the Pancake Supper on Shrove Tuesday (attended by many members of the community), and the late-spring “Moveable Feast,” a progressive dinner. .
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES OUTREACH Our outreach ministries provide services and goods to local and nearby communities. Church members feel their specific talents are being used in response to Christ by serving others. Through these services, members accomplish a mission, while at the same time have support and fellowship. The ministries attract a number of members and are considered to be both an important and very effective part of Trinity life. Chester Eastside Ministries provides after school programs and other programs in the city of Chester. Members of Trinity volunteer in various capacities. St. Mary’s Food Cupboard provides food for the poor in Chester. We have a long time partnership with St. Mary’s Church (one of the smallest churches in the Diocese, whose Priest-in-Charge is a former Trinity member) and collect food weekly for the Food Cupboard. Participating with Family Promise (IHN), we provide dinner and overnight shelter in the Parish Hall for families experiencing homelessness (approximately one week every two to three months.) Episcopal Place is a senior living facility in Chester. Church members serve meals weekly to residents. Heartstrings members knit and crochet for hospitals and the Seamen’s Institute. The Youth Group provides meals for the Connect Shelter in Darby. Parishioners provide meals to church members in time of need. Trinity youth travel to mission sites across the US. The most recent trip was to the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina. ADULT FORMATION MINISTRIES An Adult Forum is offered every week between the 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday services from September to May. A wide range of topics on social issues, the Bible, theology and spirituality are presented by various speakers. In addition, there is a strong core of Trinity members who have completed Education for Ministry (EFM). Two are currently enrolled. Weeknight Lenten adult education events (movies) feature popcorn and deep discussion. The Parish Survey indicates a desire among some members for regular Bible Study and also the opportunity to challenge and engage younger parents in adult formation.
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES CHILDREN AND YOUTH FORMATION MINISTRIES Trinity provides nursery care for newborns through young preschoolers on Sunday mornings, for special occasion services, and feast days. The nursery is staffed by paid adults. Over the last five years, the Sunday School program used the Sparks Bible Curriculum; classes were typically taught by a pair of volunteer parents. Program attendance has declined, with many students attending irregularly. Parents cite their busy schedules as the primary reason for children not attending Sunday School regularly. Others state their children are not interested. To address these challenges, Trinity is revitalizing the Sunday School program this Fall, 2016. Kid's Club, held between the 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, is a new approach to religious education, a progressive and project-oriented program using a hands-on approach stressing the concepts of Acceptance, Gratitude and Service. All projects and activities are age-appropriate, but also provide opportunities to include intergenerational and/or overlap age lessons and activities. Lessons and themes are built around the Church calendar and include Sunday service participation, art, music and performance activities and community service projects. The program uses the Youth Room, as well as other spaces not traditionally thought of for youth purposes. Kid’s Club includes preschool activities based on a Creative Dramatics approach to Bible stories. Preschool club members participate in larger Club projects when appropriate.
But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Luke 18:16
SECTION 3: HOW WE SERVE – OUR MINISTRIES YOUTH GROUP The Trinity youth group program serves approximately 35 young people in grades 6 through 12 and includes several components. Trinity youth are highly engaged in the monthly Sunday morning feeding ministry. Families take turns organizing the meals, shopping, supervising the youth in the kitchen, and delivering the meals to the Connect Shelter in Upper Darby. This past summer, 16 youth and 4 adults went on a summer mission trip – the most Trinity has ever sent! These key events are supplemented by a monthly Sunday late afternoon meeting for high school and middle school students that revolves around fellowship and service. Attendance varies but there is a core of approximately 10 youth who attend regularly. Annually, middle-schoolers participate in a Rite 13 class from late winter through spring which culminates in the Rite 13 liturgy in June. In 2016, the class had seven students. Every other year (next is 2017) we send the oldest students on a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland. These older high schoolers spend an entire year preparing for this spiritual journey in which they explore their own spirituality in the context of Celtic Christianity. They continue to meet as a group regularly following the trip. In recent years, youth have prepared for Confirmation after the pilgrimage, although the pilgrimage is not required for Confirmation. Occasionally, our Trinity youth are offered a weekend retreat experience during the year. In the fall of 2016, we are restarting a Sunday morning discussion group for high schoolers.
“Having a great youth program at Trinity including a mission trip and pilgrimage was incredibly important in my own spiritual growth and development.”
SECTION 4: CONTEXT STEWARDSHIP AND FINANCE Since 1999, Trinity’s pledging units have decreased from 199 to 110 in 2016, reflecting a national trend in church attendance. Over these 17 years, a dedicated cadre of members have steadily increased the amount they have pledged. The average pledge has increased from $1600 in 1999 to $2,760 in 2016 (not adjusted for inflation). This increase in average giving has enabled Trinity to stay solvent, if not always in budget surplus. The numbers below reflect this decline in pledging units, but growth in average pledge: Pledge Units Average Pledge
The following pie charts of Trinity’s 2016 Budget, with its anticipated deficit of $42,000, are representative of Trinity’s recent financial history. Pledged and unpledged contributions account for almost 80% of total income. Also significant is $52,000 of rental income from TCDN, an independent child daycare center we have partnered with over 45 years. Clergy and staff salary and benefits are Trinity’s major expense at 60% of total budgetary requirements. Administration and facility management at $120,000 is also significant. With aging buildings to maintain, re-investment in our buildings, in a time of budget pressure, has been a continuing issue. Trinity’s Balance Sheet carries no debt. We have $980,000 in investments in the Consolidated Fund of the Church Foundation and The Reinvestment Fund Inc. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:31
Sources of income
$43,000, 10% $1,000, 0%
$52,000 12% contributions building income investment income misc.
Expenditures $21,000, 4%
SECTION 4: CONTEXT FACILITIES Trinity owns three buildings: The Church, The Rectory and a single family house directly behind the church (Trinity House). CHURCH The Church building includes the sanctuary and a two-story wing which houses the church offices, choir room, and the Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery (TCDN, a private preschool) which rents space from the church. Nestled against the sanctuary is the stone wall enclosed Memorial Garden, a place for meditation and for the cremated remains of the deceased.
The parish hall lies under the sanctuary, and is our largest meeting space, used for many parish events. It has two outside doorways with stairs and a light commercial kitchen. Part of the lower level is also used for the Thrift Shop. RECTORY: The Rectory, 305 College Avenue, is a three story, five-bedroom 1920 home, beside the Church on College Avenue, with a large covered front porch.
At the far end of the block is Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School (known as SRS), one of three elementary schools for grades K-5, in the Wallingford Swarthmore School District (WSSD.)
TRINITY HOUSE Formerly the ABC (A Better Chance House), 307 N Chester Rd, is a three-story house, on a 20,000 square foot lot, currently unoccupied. The prior use of the house was a home for female high school students participating in “A Better Chance”. The program was combined with another similar one and moved to a different church’s building in Swarthmore. A special committee has been formed to explore future uses for the house. The backyard playground is used by the Trinity Sunday School and the TCDN students. USE OF SPACE Many factors go into the use of the church space beyond the three worship services: a choir, TCDN, Christian Education (Children, Youth and Adult), vestry and other committees, periodic overnight housing for people experiencing homelessness, and, of course, fellowship. With many ministries, there is often lack of useful and separate space for groups to use, especially on Sundays. In some cases, schedule changes have been made to accommodate the lack of adequate meeting space. Alternate meeting spaces are often used or considered: outdoors, rectory, Swarthmore College, Pendle Hill Retreat Center, etc. We believe that we will continue to be challenged by space issues. Currently, the Parish Hall and kitchen are being evaluated for upgrades and repairs using funds from a bequest. The current estimated completion time for these renovations is summer 2017.
SECTION 4: CONTEXT LOCAL AREA Swarthmore is a quiet, tree-lined borough, just 30 minutes by train from Center City Philadelphia, with all the world class opportunities it offers: historical, cultural, educational, and commercial. The borough attracts people interested in our Blue-Ribbon awards winning schools and sense of community, as well as retirees attracted by a slower paced life style. The community of about 6,000 includes folks with high average incomes, and educational levels (80% have college degrees or higher). Many residents commute to Philadelphia by train or to the nearby suburbs for employment or higher education. Trinity Church is across the street from the Swarthmore College, six times ranked the top liberal arts college in the U.S. It was recently rated as one of the most beautiful campuses as well. A five-minute walk from the church and Rectory, the center of town (The Ville) has about four blocks of shops and a weekend Famer’s Market. A new Inn at Swarthmore and a new Central Park update this commercial area which prides itself on its small town ambience. Just outside the borough limits, lie numerous commercial strips and malls. Swarthmore is home to a Friends Meeting, a Presbyterian Church, a Methodist Church and the Wesley AME Church. Thriving Roman Catholic and Jewish congregations are nearby. Local clergy and faith leaders participate in the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium (SWIM). The Diocese of Pennsylvania, the second oldest in the country, has 135 worshipping congregations. Media, the nearby county seat, has a bustling main street lined with shops and restaurants. The City of Chester, the poorest city in Pennsylvania, is just three miles from Trinity. Many Trinity parishioners come from adjacent parts of Delaware County, some of which are middle-income neighborhoods, while others are large-acreage pastoral settings. Thirty-three percent of survey respondents travel less than a mile to get to church, while an additional 52% live outside Swarthmore, traveling 2 to 5 miles to get to church. He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke10:27
SECTION 4: CONTEXT HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS In 1894, Trinity is founded in a predominately Quaker town, when 12 Episcopalians begin meeting in homes. In 1949, lay-led Bible study begins at Trinity, and continues until Education for Ministry (EFM) is begun in 1986. In the 1950’s, peak church growth results in building the Education Wing for class rooms and offices. In 1957, Trinity sponsors a refugee family from Hungary. In 1962, Trinity sponsors a refugee family from Cuba. In 1970, the first black priest serves at Trinity. In 1972, Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery (TCDN) is founded. In 1975, the church sponsors a refugee family from Vietnam. In 1976, the Thrift Shop is founded, engaging many parishioners and assisting many needy people in the area. In 1979, the first woman priest serves at Trinity. In 1979, a Casavant pipe organ is installed to support Trinity’s well established and highly regarded music program. In 1979, Trinity sponsors a refugee family from Laos. In the late 1980’s, folk songs and guitars appear at a weekly family service, attracting families with children. In 1994, Trinity celebrates its Centennial. In 2014, the first same-sex marriage is celebrated at Trinity.
SECTION 4: CONTEXT WEB LINKS OF INTEREST Trinity Episcopal Church, Swarthmore PA: www.trinity-swarthmore.org Trinity Church can be found on Facebook by searching Trinity-Church-Swarthmore Trinity Choirs can be found on Facebook by searching Trinity-Episcopal-Church-SwarthmorePA-Choirs Swarthmore Borough: www.swarthmorepa.org Philadelphia Inquirer article about life in Swarthmore: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/town-bytown/20131110_Town_By_Town__Timeless_Charms.html TCDN: tcdn.org Destination Delco: http://destinationdelco.blogspot.com/ Swarthmore College: www.swarthmore.edu The Swarthmorean: http://www.swarthmorean.com/ Wallingford-Swarthmore School District: http://www.wssd.org/ Diocese of Pennsylvania: www.diopa.org