Trinity United Church in Charlottetown, blessed in religious and architectural history and the oldest protestant church in continuous use in Charlottetown, is celebrating its heritage in several ways this month.
“It’s a church rich in history and I’m enthusiastic about it,” says Catherine Dewar, chairwoman of the history and archives committee.
On Sunday, Feb. 11, it was announced to the congregation that church has been recognized as the first United Church in Canada to be recognized under “Honouring our Heritage”, the historic commemorations program of the United Church.
On the same Sunday, during the church service, the history and archives committee of the church unveiled a memorial photo gallery in the narthex of the church. The gallery consists of 11 photos. The earliest is the sketch by Arthur Newbury of Benjamin Chappell’s house built in the late 1700s where Chappell, a disciple of John Wesley, gathered a few people together, forming the first Methodist congregation on P.E.I.
“People were quite surprised to learn how the church developed from this little house,” Dewar says.
The other photos show the subsequent progression of the church buildings to the current building, which was dedicated in 1864, the same year as the Charlottetown Conference.
The historic Clifton church established in 1848, a part of the Trinity Clifton Pastoral charge, is also included in the pictorial collection.
Trinity United church also has in its possession the leather book of Benjamin Chappell dated, in his handwriting, 1799. Recognizing that Chappell is an important figure in the religious and general history of Prince Edward Island, Trinity is donating the artifact to the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation for safe keeping and display from time to time.
In the same spirit, the original sketch done by architect C.B. Chappell, a descendant of Benjamin Chappell, of the second Methodist church (1835-1864) will be placed in the Provincial Archives and Records Office.