The History of Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford
According to a the first record of vestry minutes which can be located, taken from a book dated April 11, 1890 to April 18, 1908:
On May 4, 1872, eight families founded Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford, New Jersey as a parish in the Diocese of New Jersey. The first Episcopal service was held in Cranford at the home of Mr. James A. Bogart on Miln Street, and the second service was held at the home of Mr. John M. Atwater on North Avenue in October of 1872.
After that, services were conducted by priests from neighboring churches, rather irregularly, at the homes of different members of the congregation, which then numbered about 14. After a few months of these occasional services, the old public schoolhouse was secured, and there for several months services were conducted every Sunday morning by clergymen from Elizabeth, Fanwood, Linden and other neighboring towns.
[Note: In 1875, funds were raised to build the first church building at its present location, on land donated by the Atwater family. Bonds were sold to Cranford residents to help finance the building.]
The first service held in the new completed church was in the Fall of 1875 and the sermon was preached by “that excellent man”, the late Rev. Dr. Langford, rector of St. John’s Church, Elizabeth. [And the basis for our present connection with that parish. - Ed.]
The bonds and all other obligations of the church having been paid off, the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. John Scarborough, D.D., our Bishop, on October 16, 1881.
The full summary can be found by clicking here. In 1890, the Rev. John Edgecumbe was called as the first Rector of Trinity Cranford. The tenure of Mr. Edgecumbe (as the rectors were then called) ended after an amazing span of 27 years. The church building was later enlarged in 1922.
A Major Renovation
In 2007, the church began a Capital Campaign to address a major structural problem in the church building because the structure was declared unsafe and unsound. With trust in God, prayer, and diligence, almost 2 million dollars was raised to correct a major structural problem with the building’s foundation and roofing.
Over 3 years, despite the economic challenges, the parish continued to step out in faith, and discerned to move forward with cash on hand to begin construction, employing those in the Cranford community hard hit, like many communities, by unemployment.
Renovation was completed in December 2010, and the congregation returned to its historic sanctuary on the fifth of that month, the Second Sunday in Advent.
Previous Rectors of Trinity Church
- First rector called to the parish was the Rev. E. M. Reilly about 1879.
- J. H. Young
- W.C. Roberts became rector in September 1880 and remained until April 9, 1882
- W. Heakes who took charge October 22, 1882 and remained until January 10, 1887
- Floyd E. West took charge in September 1887 and remained until January 7, 1889
- Then a man by the name of Jennings was called on May 12, 1889; he left on April 8, 1890
- John Edgecumbe was called in July of 1890. He remained until Christmas of 1917. Rev. Edgecumbe died a few days before Christmas in the chancel, while performing his priestly offices
- Kenneth A. Martin was called in early 1918-1927
- Roscoe T. Foust was called in 1927 and stayed until 1933
- Frank Magill Sherlock was rector from 1933—1946
- Frank V. H. Carthy served from 1946 –1956
- Robert Bizzaro served from 1957—1972
- Vicent King Pettit served from 1972-1982 (he later became Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey)
- Archie Palmer served from 1982-1984
- Samuel Purdy served from 1985 to Easter 1993
- Craig R. Wylie served from May of 1995 to 2002
- The Rev. Patricia Eustis served from 2004 to 2007
- The Rev. Dr. Gina Walsh-Minor was called as Priest-in-Charge in 2008 and elected the 18th Rector in 2009. Her tenure ended at the end of September 2015.