Trinity Parish, New York, concludes 300th anniversary celebration with gala week of events

June 6, 1997

In a highly compressed week of premiere events that included the annual Trinity Institute, visits by Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and a dozen African archbishops, and a gala dinner on Ellis Island, Trinity Parish in New York City in early May culminated a yearlong celebration of its 300th anniversary.

Normally an all-consuming occurrence in itself, the national Trinity Institute drew 400 participants for two days of presentations and discussion on the theme of "Ordered Freedom." Central to the scholarly musings was the question of a paradox: How does the Anglican tradition combine the order represented by St. Augustine with the exuberant freedom personified in the Celtic spirituality of St. Columba?

In addition to those who participated in the institute on site, thousands of others from around the country joined in through 115 downlink sites arranged through the Episcopal Cathedral Teleconferencing Network.

Carey delivered the sermon for the institute's opening Eucharist, May 5, in which the visiting archbishops from Africa's 12 provinces also participated. The prelates were special guests to reflect Trinity's emphasis on support for Africa.

Carey also preached at an Ascension Day service, the anniversary of the consecration in 1846 of Trinity's current Gothic Revival church building. Attendance topped the parish's records, with 900 attending the Eucharist and more than 700 receiving Communion. Carey presented the parish with the gold cross of St. Augustine in honor of the congregation's support of mission throughout the world, and silver cross of St. Augustine to the Rev. Dr. Daniel P. Mathews, Trinity's rector. With the total amount of the grants made by Trinity each year among the greatest of any parish in the world, Carey called the parish's international ministry "breathtaking."

The Trinity choir and orchestra, directed by Dr. Owen Burdick, performed the world premiere of Burdick's Missa via Muri (Mass for Wall Street).

More than a thousand guests attended the concluding dinner on Ellis Island, including recipients of Trinity grants from around the world, press, and members and friends of Trinity. Trinity also sponsored a symposium at the Ford Foundation on church-based community development in New York.

Trinity was established in 1697 by King William III as the first Anglican parish in New York. Some of the property just north of Wall Street that was given to Trinity in 1705--now the heart of Wall Street financial district--still belongs to the parish and provides much of the church's income.

 --based on a report by Maria Dering of Trinity Parish in New York City and a report by Ecumenical News International.

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