Church History - Chapter 4
Anniversaries, Renovations, Expansions
In 1988, the congregation held its 225th Anniversary with a year long celebration. One memorable event was held on May 22nd when the 225th Anniversary of the first Confirmation Class, confirmed on May 22, 1763 was celebrated. Bishop Harold S. Weiss delivered the sermon. The Rev. Lynn Rothrock, assistant to the Bishop, was lector. The Rev. Dr. Harvey M. Weitzel, assisted by Bishop Weiss confirmed the 1988 class. Attending the service was the Confirmation Class of 1938 in honor of their 50th anniversary. Another memorable event was the Colonial Service held on October 2nd, when the Pastor and Congregation were in colonial dress. Oh Yes! Pastor Weitzel arrived on horseback at both the 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. services.
During the past 83 years a number of major renovations and repairs were made to the church. In 1992, a capital fund raising was conducted to make repairs to the stained glass windows, new roofing, electrical work and adding dryvit to the exterior walls. This work was finished in 1993. However, the appearance of the interior of the church is generally the same as it was after the major renovation of 1917.
In 1995, the congregation approved a motion to move forward with the planning of a new Fellowship Wing and a new fund raising campaign was launched in 1996. Ground was broken on the first. Sunday in October, 1997 with a joyous celebration. Construction began the next morning and by Christmas Eve the studding for the walls was being erected. The new Fellowship Wing was completed in September, 1998 and the dedication and dinner took place on Sunday, September 27, 1998 at 4:00 p.m. The Reverend Dr. Harvey M. Weitzel, Pastor, was assisted by Reverend Cheryl F. Meinschein, Associate of the Bishop, and by Reverend David R. Strobel, Bishop of Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, who delivered the sermon.
Pastor Weitzel’s pastorate concluded in 2004. The congregation called The Rev. David Newhart to be our interim pastor, a role he held for nearly 3 years. Towards the end of his happy tenure, the congregation called The Rev. Dr. Christian Eichorn to be its next pastor. He was installed on Sunday, March 18, 2007, at 4:00 p.m. The Rev. David Strobel, Bishop (and one of Pastor Eichorn’s childhood pastors) presided. During Pastor Eichorn’s tenure, the parsonage was sold, as was the triangular parking lot across the street from the church. Proceeds from those sales were combined with those raised by Trinity’s Mortgage Reduction Committee to retire the mortgage from the church’s fellowship wing several years early, on December 1, 2010. The church observed its 250th Anniversary in 2013 in grand style, including a series of historical talks by parishioner and parish historian, Jim Briggs, in January and February; a birthday celebration with cake and some German language in the service in February; a Celebration Service on June 2nd, which included the Mainstreet Brass and preaching by Bishop Samuel Zeiser and a banquet at the Northampton Community Center; and a candlelit Gala Christmas Concert by the Baltimore Consort in December.
In June of 2016, repairs were undertaken on the Church’s steeple, including an ambitious re-shingling-by-crane project. Beginning in the autumn of 2017, the church began a complete renovation of the Sanctuary and Sunday School Wing. During the renovation, which lasted until June of 2018, the congregation worshipped and held all events in the Fellowship Wing. The project’s architect was Gary Wagner, and Robert J. Doerr served as contractor. The Sanctuary was rededicated on September 9, 2018, during which the congregation also blessed the gift of a Young Chang grand piano for use in the Sanctuary. Pastor Eichorn’s tenure drew to a close at the beginning of 2020, and the congregation celebrated the grace of his time with us with a beautiful farewell service and luncheon on February 23rd. Soon after, the congregation called the Rev. Jennifer Hall to be our part-time Transitional Pastor, a role she held for eighteen months. Her tenure spanned the COVID-19 Pandemic, during which the congregation pivoted to online worship, facilitated by council member and videography expert, Kristian Golick. During COVID, the congregation gathered for worship outdoors, including a memorable Christmas Lessons and Carols service at the bandshell on December 27, 2020, and later gathered indoors again, with significant safety protocols observed, and acquired equipment which enables us to livestream our services weekly. Pastor Hall resigned from her role in October of 2021, and the Rev. Otto Dreydoppel, a longtime friend of the congregation and Moravian pastor, began a preaching residency at Trinity, including memorable worship on Christmas Eve of 2021. On December 19, 2021, the congregation elected its next Pastor, the Rev. Spencer Steele, and he began his pastorate on February 22nd. Bishop Christopher deForest preached at Pastor Spencer’s festvie installation service on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022, which was followed by a luau-themed dinner, a nod to Pastor Spencer’s Pacific Islander heritage.