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Trinity United celebrating 195 years of community service, worship

The church that has literally been at the heart of Newmarket for nearly two centuries is holding a gala dinner and dance Friday, May 3

The church that has literally been at the heart of Newmarket for 195 years is celebrating its anniversary this spring.

Trinity United Church is marking 195 years of worship and service to the community with a gala dinner and dance Friday, May 3.

The towering stone sanctuary that stands at the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue has been an integral part of Newmarket since opening its doors in 1880.

“This milestone gives us the opportunity to give thanks and celebrate the ministry of Trinity — 195 years of faithful service to our community,” said Rev. Linda Wheler.

The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres, dinner, a cash bar and silent auction, as well as dancing to live music performed by After Hours Big Band.

A ‘Trinity through the years’ digital picture presentation will be shown during cocktails and dinner.

“So many people in the community have been touched by Trinity over the years and we want to commemorate that amazing history,” said Kelly Bonhomme, event organizer.

Trinity’s roots trace back to Methodism, a movement that grew out of the Church of England in the 1700s, led by brothers John and Charles Wesley. Methodism is centred on helping the poor and following Jesus’ command to serve all humankind.

Methodist preachers began to bring the gospel message to rural areas north of York (Toronto) in the early 19th century, travelling on horseback from settlement to settlement. The Methodist Circuit of Yonge Street first included Newmarket in 1824, holding meetings in local houses.

In 1827, a temporary chapel was built, followed by a permanent church and school on Prospect Avenue in 1840, the present-day location of Alexander Muir Residence.

The congregation grew, and in 1877, the current site at the corner of Main and (at the time) New Street was purchased. In 1879, the front section of the church was built with broad stone steps leading to two front entrances. Trinity held its first service in January 1880, filling the 400-seat church.

One of the first ministers to serve the people of Trinity was Rev. Egerton Ryerson, whose contributions to education were honoured in the naming of Ryerson University.

The historic building has undergone a number of expansions and renovations over the years — including altering the front to just one entrance — to meet the needs of the growing community.

In 1925, Trinity joined with other Methodist congregations and amalgamated with Presbyterians and Congregationalists to become the United Church of Canada.

“There is a long legacy of faithful people, followers of Jesus, who have gathered at Trinity for almost 200 years to worship, learn and serve together,” said Wheler.

Service to the community remains at the heart of the church’s mission. Inn from the Cold and the Newmarket Food Pantry got their start at Trinity. Many community groups and outreach programs operate out of the building, including LAMP (Lunch At My Place), which offers free healthy meals once a week.

Event organizers are reaching out to local businesses for donations for the silent auction. All donors will be recognized in the event program, on the auction table, and on the church website.

The celebration takes place Friday, May 3, from 5:15 to 11:45 p.m at Seton Hall, 17955 Leslie St. For tickets, $60, click here or call the church office at 905-895-4851 or Kelly at 905-955-4604.

Proceeds will support ministries such as LAMP so Trinity can continue to serve the Newmarket community.