Our history is very important to the Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill community. We believe that by remembering our history, and honoring those parishioners who have gone before us, we create a sense of family and belonging that is passed down from generation to generation.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our forefathers and foremothers. Our church was ordered, by catalogue, and built lovingly by their hands. You can feel their pride and spirit as soon as you enter the door.
Celebrating Our History
The Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill Timeline
Episcopal services in the village of Rocky Hill were first recorded in 1840. Services were held in private homes by directors of Trinity Church Princeton. In 1853, Henry McFarlane came to the area and became a prime figure in the Episcopal cause. Regular services were begun at his house in November 1862. The first baptism of John Henry McFarlane and first funeral (of the same John) were held in 1853. The first wedding was celebrated in 1856.
The church was built from plans ordered by mail and is often referred to as a "mail-order" church. The land was donated by Henry McFarlane and the church was built by his nephew Harry Stone of New York.
Descriptions of mail-order church plans can be found in historic texts. The following description of such a plan they have applied to Trinity Church:
"This design is one that must prove satisfactory to the most cultivated taste; while it is not a feature, the production of which, involves any unnecessary expense. The simple bell-turret which surmounts the building, though adding very little to the total cost, at once serves to indicate the character of the structure, and bestows upon it much beauty.
"Such a structure would be appropriate for almost any site; but to have its proper effort, should be surrounded with trees, and stand at some considerable distance from the public road; the approach to the entrance being by a neatly kept graveled walk, which should lead to the building, not a stiff, straight line, but a simple and easy curve."
The church was constructed of wood and intended to provide "a hundred sittings". An incoming fashion at the time, board and batten siding, give a sense of height to walls and went well with pointed-arch Gothic windows.
On October 25,1865 preliminary organization was effected under Laws of State. On November 29,1865 the parish was permanently organized by election of two wardens and five vestrymen. The wardens were Harry McFarlane, Sr. and Benjamin Jackson Jr. The vestrymen were Edward B. Gulick, Abram Voorhees, Percy Weston, William McFarlane, and Isaac Bulman. The Reverend William Andrews (pictured below) was the Rector.
In 1901, contributions from the community provided funds to build a Parish Hall for plays, dances, and athletics and Sunday School classes.
During Trinity's first eighty years, services were conducted by priests and lay readers from Trinity Church Princeton or chaplains of the Saint Paul Society at Princeton University. These contributors included Reverend Colton (left) and Mr. Pray (right).
Also contributing to the early years of Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill were from top left clockwise: John A. Ely Jr. John H. B. Phillips, Lot Hamlin, and Henry A, McNulty
In 1943, Robert Smyth, a lay reader from Trinity Church, Princeton, who was studying for the priesthood, was asked to become part-time vicar of Trinity Rocky Hill. Reverend Smyth was ordained in1945, and in 1946 he became Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill's first vicar. Rev. Smyth served as vicar until his retirement in 1970. During his tenure of the church congregation grew from 12 to 100, and a new kitchen dining area was added to the Parish Hall in 1962.
Over the years, Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill has been blessed with many Vicars who have led us through all the stages of our lives. They have been with us as we welcomed new life with baptisms, committed to the our faith in communions and confirmations, found love in marriages, and celebrated the lives of our loved ones in funerals. We spend ordinary Sundays together, and created holiday memories and traditions together. We are grateful to have them share in the history of Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill and in our own individual histories.
Reverend George A. Armstrong 1971-1972
Reverend Dr. Graham H. Ogden 1973-1974
Reverend Samuel Ishibashi 1975-1988
Reverend Canon E. Rugby Auer 1989-1996
Reverend Dr. Shawn Armington 1996-2002
Reverend Janet H. Johnson 2002-2006
Reverend Dr. Paul S Rimassa 2006 - 2016. Reverend Rimassa earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master in Pastoral Counseling from LaSalle University and a Master in Divinity from Seton Hall University. He was received into the Episcopal Church in 2005 by Bishop George Councell and was named Vicar at Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill in 2006.
Reverend Dr. Johan Johnson 2017-2019
Reverend Dr. Jacob David 2020 - Current. To learn more about Fr. Jacob please visit our Aboutsection.
We Would Love TO HAVE YOU WORSHIP WITH US and Be a Part of our community! In the spirit of Jesus Christ, Trinity Episcopal Church Rocky Hill extends a warm welcome to all persons regardless of age, race, ethnicity, economic or marital status, gender or sexual orientation.
One Park Avenue P.O. Box 265 Rocky Hill, NJ 08553