On the Move
The original site of Trinity Collinsville was near the intersection of Maple Avenue and River Road, main roads through town. As Collinsville is in a river valley, the topography is very hilly. The original property was a thin strip of level land at the foot of a steep hill that offered no viable opportunity for expansion as the parish’s membership grew.
There was no parking lot at the original site; cars parked on one side of the narrow Maple Ave. during Sunday services. The properties that were used for Sunday School and the Parish Hall were not necessarily adjacent and there were no sidewalks, so children had to migrate to the Sunday School via the road. Parishioners felt this situation was untenable enough that they embarked on a fundraising campaign to move the church to its current site on River Road, 1 1/2 miles from the original site. This idea was not originally supported by the diocese, but the task was completed in August 1965.
Trinity Tomorrow Today
Trinity Tomorrow Today was a capital capaign whose goal was to add much-needed space to the church, make a more fitting main entrance to the church, and to add an elevator to make the space wheelchair-accessible. Planning began in 1988, construction commenced in 1990 and was finished in 1991.
The addition included a new narthex, choir vesting room, rooms for the Canton Food Bank and Bethany Pastoral Counseling Services, additonal church school rooms, an additional restroom, staff offices, and an office machine room.
Bishop Clarence Coleridge dedicates Trinity’s new facilities on January 13, 1991.
To the left, the building ended at the end of the current parish hall. In the middle, the entrance was unassuming.
At the top of the stairs, the offices were to the left and the sanctuary to the right.
The old memorial room.
Rev. Simeone digs the first spadeful on July 8, 1990 and site preparations begin.
Missing the middle!
New main entrance and narthex taking shape.
Classroom addition progress. Each new addition adds a peak to the roofline.
The new main entrance doors are hung and stained, painting of new church colors in progress.
Restoring the Steeple
Clergy of Trinity
You might assume a rector’s position to be one of longevity. However, the narrative of a church leader holding their community through a decade or more is a rare occurance, at least in Trinity Collinsville’s history. The profession proves to be as transient as any other occupation, as this record of our past rectors illustrates.
Those who served Trinity for more than 5 years are in bold. The number of that group who served Trinity for more than 10 years? Exactly 3. Some details about each are provided, where available. This list was developed from multiple church records.
Clergy of Trinity – an Historical Record
1854: Rev. J.H. Betts (of Pine Meadow) and Rev. Samuel Benedict (a tutor at Trinity College) conducted the first Episcopal services in this village in a storeroom on January 29, 1854. Three people were present at the service. Rev. Benedict continued to officiate for one year, making use ofthe Collins Company Hall.
1854-1870: Missionary priests from the older, surrounding parishes of Farmington and New Hartford (among others) sustain the Episcopal presence in Collinsville.
1870-1873: Rev. E. R. Brown of Christ Church, Unionville, organized the Mission with two communicants. The Trinity Episcopal Society was formed in 1870 with 9 members.
1873-1874: Rev. H. A. Dows, 48 communicants
1874-1875: Lay Reader (unnamed)
1875-1876: Geo F Breed. May 3, 1875, Trinity Collinsville was incorporated under state law. The Parish was received into the Diocese on June 8, 1875 and the corner stone of the Church laid on November 11, 1875. The Church was built by gifts from the Congregation on the lot on Maple Avenue, the gift of Mr. John E. Wheelock, Mr. Robert W. Hill being the architect. The first service in the Church was held May 14, 1876 at 3 p.m., at which time 8 persons were confirmed.
1876-1882: William B. Coleman
1883-1884: N. H. Burnham
1884: Ralph H. Bowles
1884-1885: J. A. Ticknor. The church was consecrated by Bishop Williams, the last debt of $1000 having been liquidated, as no Episcopal Church can be consecrated until it is free from debt. Rev. Ticknor was ordained to the priesthood during his time here.
1885-1887: Samuel Hall. The baptismal font was dedicated during his time here. The interior of the church was decorated.
1887-1888: Rev. George Buck
1888-1894: Rev. J. E. Heald
1894-1896: K. Huske. New carpet was laid, a hymnboard installed, and new vases and an altar bookrest were also installed. The pews were fixed and varnished.
1896-1902: W. T. Cavell. A quote: “United in thought, word and deed were all the people during this period. I enter this fact so that it may go down in the Hallways of Time as my testimony thereof.”
1902-1903: R. L. Nichols
February 25, 1905: Rt. Rev. Chauncy Bunce Brewster, Bishop of CT, blessed the new Rectory, erected on Thayer Avenue and made possible by a bequest of $3603.76 from Miss Helena Rowens Case. Up to this time from the small beginning in 1885 the sum of $900 had been gathered, through gifts of Parishioners and friends.
1903-1906: F. P. Swezey During his term the church was repaired and redecorated, including a new roof, hardwood floor, and new chamber for the organ.
1906-1909: D. D. Waugh
1909-1911: JohnW. Burras
1912-1914: Frederick E. Buck. In 1913 he accepted a bequest from the Robinson Estate of the Robinson family home, which was situated near the church and was used as a rectory.
1915-1918: Louis T. Belden. Services became irregular over these years, with supply priests filling in. Rev. Louis Belden appeared often.
1918-1924: Rev. Harry A. Perkins, resigned Easter time, period of irregularity for 1 year.
1925-1928: Rev. Lee Maltbie Dean
1928-1937: W. H. Mayers came from the Diocese of South Carolina to be Rector. He was also Instructor of Greek at the Taft School in Watertown. During his stay, extensive repairs were made at the Church and Rectory. Stained glass windows were releaded. Between 1930-1937, the Rector served both Trinity and Saint John’s in Pine Meadow.
1937: W. L. Greenwood
1937-1940: Rev. Frederic R. Murray came as Deacon in charge. He was ordained while with Trinity and the church showed “splendid growth.”
1940-1943: Rev. Earl Daniels. During his time here the church’s debt was liquidated and the mortgage note burned. New memorial lamps were hung in the church and the interior was repainted.
1942: H. Belham (conflicting record)
1943-1944: Rev. Raymond E. Finehout, left to go to the Diocese of Vermont in December 1944.
1945-1952: Rev. William Stocks arrived from the Diocese of Toronto. Achievements during his time with Trinity included the painting of the exterior of the church and installation of a new oil burning heater at a cost of $1300. The church cellar was retiled and the 75th anniversary of the parish was observed. Since 1945, 29 new families were added to the Parish. The Church School increased to over 60 pupils and teachers, making apparent the need for more space. A goal was made to build a new parish house.
1952: R. L. Harding
1952-1955: Rev. William Glazier
1955-1958: Rev. Roger Tiffany began his ministry at Trinity at the age of 26. He left for Ohio in mid-1958.
1958-1969: Rev. John D. Lee, Ph.D. became Trinity’s Rector at the age of 49 and stayed for 11 years. During his time with the parish the church was moved. He left in 1969 for California.
1969-1978: Rev. Stephen Parker was the rector during Trinity Collinsville’s centennial celebration, which was one year before the U.S. bicentennial.
1978: Rev. Robert Back, Interim
1978-1996: Rev. R. Simeone was rector during the Trinity Tomorrow Today campaign that provided extensive renovations and and addition to the church. He left to become rector of St. John’s in Gloucester, MA.
1997-1998: D. Owen, Interim
1998-2000: Leon Mozeliak, left to become Rector at St. Thaddeus in Aiken, South Carolina.
2000-2004: Marian Stinson, Priest-in-Charge, increased our faith and commitment to outreach by convincing the parish to give away all of the proceeds of the Quality Street Fair. Prior to that, it was a fundraiser to help meet Trinity’s annual budget.
2004-2019: The Rev. Linda M. Spiers became Trinity Collinsville’s shepherd in 2004. She fostered a thriving church community. You can read more about her on our history timeline.
2019-2021: The Rev. Carrie Combs’ efforts were severely hampered by the arrival of the COVID pandemic. She kept the proverbial ship afloat during a very tough time.
2021-present: Lay Readers/Worship Leaders with help from supply priests, particularly Rev. Salin Low, formerly of St. John’s Episcopal in New Hartford, CT.
A Few Former Rectors
Rev. Stephen Parker
Rev. Richard Simeone
Rev. Leon Mozeliak
Rev. Marian Stinson
Rev. Linda Spiers
Exerpt from Centennial Vignettes: 1875 – 1975, researched and prepared by Eleanor Tallmadge
More about the Old Organ
Exerpt from Centennial Vignettes: 1875 – 1975, researched and prepared by Eleanor Tallmadge
First Parish House, Robinson House, and the Ladies’ Guild
A booklet entitled Centennial Vignettes: 1875 – 1975 was researched and prepared by parishioner Eleanor Tallmadge, who clearly had a gift for painting a colorful picture of the parish’s life. Her descriptions here and above impart her love for and familiarity with Trinity Collinsville.