History

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Holy Trinity, Churchville claims a long, proud and well-documented history. We are proud of our church, both the small Gothic Revival building, and the community who have built, loved and shared that building during 150 years of serving Our Lord.

 

Just after the Civil War both the economy and the social fabric of Harford County were devastated. Local landowner, Dr. David Harlan was convinced that, in this era of pain and chaos, much could be done towards spiritual healing and increased stability if the Episcopal community in the Churchville area were to have a church building in which to meet locally. Upon his retirement as Medical Director of the Navy of the United States to his farm in Churchville, Harlan donated the land for the church and cemetery. He also financed the building and furnishing of a frame church capable of seating at least 150.

 

Dr. Harlan donated the funds anonymously: to begin with Holy Trinity was known as a mission church of Deer Creek Church.  Monies were placed in the hands of the Rector of Deer Creek, the Reverend Edward A. Colburn.  In 1867 Colburn became the full-time Rector of Holy Trinity, leading the church for 34 years. The first service was held in 1867.

 

Dr. Harlan also funded the building of a rectory, a barn, outbuildings and parish day and boarding schools.

 

In 1877, a few days before Christmas the frame church building burned to the ground. Services proceeded, however, as the congregation decorated the ruins with boughs and berries and salvaged, cleaned and placed the altar and some of the pews. Working together for a shared purpose and common good had become already an entrenched part of the witness and faith of the fellowship, as we believe it still is today.

 

A new stone church was completed within a year. The stone used is still quarried in Churchville on Calvary Road. The building is trimmed with Port Deposit granite and roofed with slate from Cardiff, Harford County. The 13th Century English Gothic style structure is largely unchanged since 1877.

 

Our Parish House was built in 1961. The work, with a major expansion in 1984-85, was accomplished mainly by our parishioners’ own labor.

 

In 2017 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Holy Trinity, Churchville. It was an occasion of grateful reflection and joyous renewal.

 

A more complete church history may be found in the booklet prepared for the 150th celebration evening.