Her members call her “Akron’s Gothic Treasure.”
“Just like Stan Hywet is known as ‘Akron’s Tudor Masterpiece,’ we hope that the community will come to know Holy Trinity for its distinctive architecture, stained-glass windows and history,” said John Stefanik, who chairs the church’s Renaissance Committee. “We want people to appreciate the architecture and the history and, at the same time, we want them to be aware of our commitment to make a difference in the community.”
Rendered in the Late Gothic Revival style (influenced by the cathedrals of France), Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has stood on the same foundation at 50 N. Prospect for 100 years.
On Saturday, the congregation will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the laying of the church cornerstone. The 3 p.m. service will include a rededication of the cornerstone and remarks by Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, leader of the Northeast Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
The commemoration, scheduled on the exact day — June 22 — of the laying of the cornerstone in 1913, will incorporate some of the same music and scriptures that were shared a century ago. It also will include a send-off of church youth and chaperones leaving for a mission trip in Queens, N.Y.; a fellowship dinner; self-guided tours of the sanctuary; video and photo exhibits and a display of items found in the 100-year-old time capsule buried inside the cornerstone.
Among those items are a Lutheran book of worship, a promotional brochure for the city of Akron, copies of the Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Press and Akron Times and a small New Testament Bible dated 1838.
“This little Bible is really fascinating because it makes you wonder what the story is behind it. Did it come to the church with someone? Why did the people during that time decide to put it in the time capsule? We don’t know the story behind the Bible, but we know it was included for a reason,” said the Rev. Eileen Woyen, Trinity’s associate pastor. “It’s just a neat thing to be able to see some of the things that were important to this congregation 100 years ago.”
Holy Trinity traces its roots to June 1866 and counts Akron notables John F. Seiberling, Charles Miller and J.H. Hower as founding members.
The church, incorporated in 1882, originally was located on South Prospect Street, near Mill Street. It relocated to its current site in 1913, two years after the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. purchased the South Prospect property to expand its freight yard.
Cleveland architect John W.C. Corbusier designed the North Prospect Street building. The church’s facade has a recessed portal and rose window between octagonal towers topped with spires. Its floor plan is shaped like a cross, and it features a soaring vaulted ceiling and the high, stained-glass cathedral windows of the French-Gothic Revival.
The sanctuary was refurbished in 2006 as part of a five-year, $2 million renovation of the church building. In addition to the sanctuary makeover, the project included the replacement of the slate roof, the redesign and improvement of public access to the building and the construction of a memorial garden.
The 26 iron chandeliers, which date to 1914, are the work of Samuel Yellin, the master metalsmith from Philadelphia who was commissioned for the ironwork at Stan Hywet Hall.
Trinity’s original pipe organ was a gift of the Seiberling family in 1914. Its present organ, built by Berghaus Organ Co. of Bellwood, Ill., in 1983, is used by world-renowned musicians who play during Trinity’s popular organ recital series. The series typically attracts thousands of people.
In addition to offering the free music series, Holy Trinity’s congregation is involved in several outreach and service-based programs, including Family Promise, Open M, St. Bernard’s hot-meal programs and Good Neighbors of Akron. Through the initiatives, the congregation helps provide shelter, meals, clothing and employment assistance to those in need.
Holy Trinity’s mission statement is “to bring Jesus to the people through love and the word of God.” It offers Sunday worship services at 8:30 and 11 a.m.; Sunday School begins at 9:45 a.m.
“While we have a rich history and want to celebrate our past, we also want to celebrate the fact that we are moving into the future as a faith community that wants to make a positive difference in our neighborhood and city,” said Sandy DeLuca, chairman of the Centennial Cornerstone Celebration committee.
For more information about the church or to reserve a spot for the dinner, call 330-376-5154 or visit www.trinity akron.org.
Colette Jenkins can be reached at 330-996-3731 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She can be followed at https://twitter.com/ColetteMJenkins.