Dear God, guide us at Trinity Episcopal Church to be an inclusive and caring Christ-centered community nurtured by our worship and tradition. We ask you to strengthen and guide us as we live out our mission to welcome and celebrate the diversity of all people through spiritual education, growth in faith and service in Christ’s Name. Amen.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, we invite you to make a deeper connection with God at Trinity Episcopal Church. Experience the Spirit of love and acceptance as we share our gifts in this Christ-centered community.
There are many opportunities for worship, education, service and fellowship within a Christian community at Trinity. Here are a few tips to help you find your way around.
Parking: You may find parking in the small church lot, but it may be full when you arrive. Please, park in the parking garage directly across Allegheny Avenue. Parking is free in the garage on Sunday.
Hearing devices are available as you enter the church. Please, ask one of the hosts for a hearing device to use during the worship service.
Children are always welcome in worship. Some parents have found the Children’s Worship Bulletins, a coloring sheet based on the Gospel of the day, helpful in keeping children occupied during the worship service.
Weekdays — The Office is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you would like to speak with the parish administrator, please call or visit during these hours. All of the staff have voice mail at the office and you may leave a message for them if they are not available when you call.
History of Trinity
At Trinity Episcopal Church the pleasant,historic environment of old Towsontown still thrives at 120 Allegheny Avenue, in the middle of bustling, high rise, modern Towson, the seat of Baltimore County, Maryland.
The congregation of Trinity stands upon a long history of traditional worship plus community sharing, in continuity. Trinity Church began in 1839 as a small group of Episcopalians meeting in the Epsom Chapel, a Methodist church that was located amid what is today the Towson Center parking garage. Because the Epsom Chapel was not preserved while Towson grew from town to metropolis, Trinity is the oldest church edifice in the Towson area.
The original church, which constitutes the nave of the present building, was dedicated on Ascension Day, May 20, 1860. The church was designed by noted architect Norris Starkweather in a conservative Romanesque style. It is constructed of limestone donated by John Ridgely of Hampton. All additions and other church buildings are made of stone from the same quarry in Texas, Maryland. The nave is centered on a direct north-south line with the cross corridor of the original Court House.The chancel and the baptistery in the west transept were added in 1892. The present sanctuary was built in 1926. The Moller organ, built in 1939, was enhanced in 1978. The Lee Chapel in the east transept was added in 1960 on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the church.
Trinity Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass was often expressed as “painting with light.” Trinity is proud of its windows, especially the four “Tiffany” windows. In the 19th century, there was the emergence of a talented artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose father was a renowned jeweler. Louis invented what became known as “Favrile Glass” which was iridescent and freely shaped, combined with bronze like alloys and very popular in the late 19th century, 1880-1915. It is less brusque than the cut-outs of the earlier times, and shows more texture of the glass.
Tiffany created the reception room glass curtain at the White House at the behest of President Chester Arthur. It was pretty garish for our tastes., and was removed by Theodore Roosevelt. Tiffany also decorated the chapel for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and the screen at the high altar at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In 1911 he created a huge glass curtain for the Palacio des Belles Artes in Mexico City, which still exists and is” formidable” .
The Chancel window, the “Roberts Window” was dedicated to the memory of our fourth rector, William Christian Roberts in 1972. It depicts the Last Supper, and is shaped to conform to the dimensions of the chancel. In the mid- ’60’s the congregation was offered the option of contributing to the window or to the Stickle-Roberts fund for the Virginia Theological Seminary. It seems that both projects were adequately funded.
Probably the disciples would have been on couches or cushions during this repast;, not around a horseshoe shaped table, but the space available dictated this window’s composition. Da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan shows one long table which is probably not accurate,either. The wine and the bread in this first Eucharist replaced the blood and meat which were a part of the sacrifices in the Temple, and thereby challenged the ritual practices of the the hierarchy of the priests and the establishment of the Israelite ritual practices.
In the far left corner, Judas is cowering with his bag of silver. Also note that Judas’ robe is the same color as the chancel walls and ceiling. Was this intended? We can also see that of the whole company, only Judas has no halo. In fact Jesus has a halo with a cross imprinted on it. Further, if you look around the church, you will see that Jesus usually has a cross in his halo , even when depicted as a child.
According to the book: “Reading Judas”,by Elaine Pagels and Karen King, the thirty pieces of silver (Matthew) first showed up in the Book of Zechariah , and was considered the price of a slave. Zechariah rebelled at being considered a slave and threw the money back at the temple. He was later assassinated. “Reading Judas” implies that Judas was instructed by Jesus to do what he did to further the will of God. Therefore when John’s gospel quotes Jesus as telling Judas to “do quickly what you are going to do” , he knew that Judas would follow his instructions. Mark says that the priests offered Judas money; Matthew says that Judas solicited money and Luke brings in Satan as the instigator of the whole betrayal episode.
When all the disciples flee after Jesus is taken, it echoes Zechariah: “Israel strikes the shepherd and the flock will be scattered.” There is more to Zechariah. He recounts a prophesy that ” your king shall be riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and a colt.” Matthew repeats this , which implies Jesus riding on two animals.
Turning our attention to the Lee Chapel, which dates from 1960; The two windows on the east wall are by Tiffany, and you can see how much softer their tone is as opposed to the brightness and intensity of most of the other, more modern windows. All four of our Tiffany windows date from the 1890’s, and feature Gothic cathedral-like canopies at the top.
The window on the left is dedicated to Thomas Hambleton, who lived from 1829-1906. He was the grandfather of the late T. Edward Hambleton, who was a major figure in the American theater. This window depicts the parable in Matthew 13, of the sower of seeds which could fall on any of four surfaces: In the path, where they would be quickly picked up by the birds; on rocky ground, where they would not take root and grow; amongst the weeds, where they would be lost in the weedy growth and lastly, on fertile ground, where the desired growth could flourish . The point is that the word of God must have a willing and able recipient in order to become of significance.
The second window, also by Tiffany, was dedicated to Charles Markell and Charlotte Amelia Trail; he was noted as having been a vestryman 1872-1878, so must have lived in the late 19th century. He was very involved in the leading philanthropic and reformatory institutions of the city. He was Director of the Baltimore Trust and Guarantee Company, the National Bank of Commerce and the Home Fire Insurance Company. He was also a well-known philanthropist and was associated in an official capacity with the Reform League, Board of Trade, Charity Organization Society, Young Men’s Christian Association, Maryland Bible Society, House of Reformation, Boys’ Home and the Friendly Inn. He was also a vestryman of St. Peter’s Protestant Episcopal Church. It is fairly romantic, featuring angels and cherubim, but not bearing a message or alluding to a Biblical passage.
These two windows were originally installed in the wall where the arch leading to the Lee Chapel now stands. When the construction of the Lee Chapel was imminent, it was discovered that this wall was so rotten that when a pen-knife was pushed into the wall, it went completely into it. Time for construction! The newest window in the church is over the outer door to the Lee Chapel, and depicts Jesus in a welcoming posture. This was dedicated to Harry G. Campbell, Jr. who was one of the movers and shakers in the community. The Campbell family was a major contributor to the construction of Trinity’s buildings, especially in the furnishing of stone materials from the Campbell quarries in Cockeysville.
The first Tiffany window on this side of the nave is dedicated to Virginia McIntosh, who died in 1896, and was the grandmother of J. Rieman McIntosh, of whom we shall hear more later. This window depicts the resurrection of Jairus ‘ daughter by Jesus, as recounted in Mark 5: 22-41 and Luke 8:41-54. Not depicted here, but also a part of the same passages, was the story of the woman who had a hemorrhage , and pressed close to Jesus so that she might touch his robe and be healed.
There are other resurrections in Biblical history, aside from the most significant one! Elijah and Elisha come to mind, as well as Lazarus. The writers of the Gospels were anxious to portray Jesus as the culmination of the prophesies concerning the Messiah. Alternately, historians were anxious to conform to the prophesies. So we have prophecy creeping into history and vice versa. In addition, there seem to be hints of borrowing traditions of contemporary cultures.
In this way, we recognize the shepherd analogies, the visits of the Magi, the vital circumstance that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, in Judah. Alternatively, it appears that there is a Bethlehem in Galilee, not far from the village of Nazareth. Is it possible that this is the Gospel writers had a desire to validate the messianic origin that the Messiah should be born in Bethlehem, David’s home? Is it reasonable to assume that Joseph would embark on a five day journey to Bethlehem in Judea with a pregnant wife about to deliver?
Turning to the predominately blue windows, J. Rieman McIntosh, who authored a volume ” History of Trinity Church 1860-1960″, was a vestryman from 1940-1970 and Senior Warden from 1971 to 1977. In 1956 he inaugurated a project to replace the existing nondescript windows which were composed of diamond-shaped panes in alternating pale blue and pale yellow.
Mr McIntosh and a group he organized selected the window themes and contracted for their construction. He bought the triple Nativity windows as a memorial to his parents, David G. McIntosh, vestryman 1902-1940, and Charlotte Rieman McIntosh ( died 1967). Mr. McIntosh paid for all the windows to be installed, with the stipulation that anyone wishing to dedicate a window, could do so, making a gift to the Trinity Endowment Fund, which was founded in 1960. In effect, the expenses associated with these windows was a gift by Mr. McIntosh to the Endowment Fund.
The upper portion of the one next window depicts the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth after the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel has given Mary the news that she will bear a son. This window is dedicated to David Stewart Ridgeley , 1884-1978. Matthew’s is the first gospel to use the term: “virgin” in describing Mary, but the Aramaic and Greek words for “maiden” were “almah” and “parthenos” . The word “virgo” first appeared in the Latin translations, beginning in the second century.
The Bible has a number of annunciations, beginning with Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who gave birth to Isaac, Then Hannah, the mother of Samuel, was advised that she would bear a son, whom she later dedicated to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. She had been so intense in her prayer for a son, that the priest, Eli, accused her of being drunk. Husbands were also recipients of these messages: Zechariah in the case of John the Baptist, and according to the non-canonical book of the Proto-Gospel of James, Joachim and Anna, the parents of Mary had a similar experience. Anna had been barren, like the other women who later became mothers, and was advised by Gabriel that she would become a mother.
The lower part of this window shows Mary and Joseph arriving at the inn in Bethlehem, and being relegated to the stable.
The next window is dedicated to H. Courtenay Jenifer , vestryman 1938-1965 and his wife, Ilma A. Jenifer , who died in 1975. It depicts the seer Simeon, who had been advised by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah. When Jesus was presented to him in the Temple, he praised God and intoned the words of the “Nunc Dimittis”: ” Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word….” The lower part of this window depicts the Holy Family journeying on the flight to Egypt, since a pyramid appears in the background.
The triple Nativity windows, as mentioned above, were dedicated to the elder McIntoshes, David Gregg McIntosh (1877-1940) and his wife Charlotte Lowe Reiman (1880-1967) and depict the classic Christmas themes The one of the left shows the shepherds being dazzled by the heavenly host; the center window depicts the scene in the stable, and the one on the right shows the Magi in all their finery. There have been some revisionists commenting on the Nativity circumstances, in that the story bears a resemblance to the mythology associated with the Zoroastrian beliefs in about 2000 BCE. The sun-god, Ahura Mazda, had a son, Mithra, come to Earth to do battle for the forces of light, and this birth was celebrated to coincide with the winter solstice, and was prevalent as a festival tribute to the Sun-god Sol Invictus, which was nothing more than a Roman adaptation of the Mithraic legend, and also involved shepherds and a cave where the birth took place. Some modern scholars believe that the Magi might have been Zoroastrian priests.
The Zoroastrian religion survived with the Persians, and is still prevalent in Iran today. It is not unreasonable to suppose that these stories had some influence on the later Gospel writers, especially Luke, in fleshing out the mysteries and magic of the Christian tradition. There is also some hint of Egyptian mythology creeping into the birth narrative, concerning Osiris, Isis and the son, Horus.
The next window, dedicated to Grace May Taber Campbell, (1889-1968) wife of Harry Guy Campbell, illustrates the boyhood of Jesus; confounding the sages in the Temple, Another portion of this window shows Jesus in his father’s carpenter shop. This period of Jesus’ life is described in some fanciful detail in the non-canonical Infancy Gospel of Thomas, wherein Jesus mischievously confounds and torments some of his playmates and elders, sometimes harming and then healing them with his miraculous powers. He even corrects a measuring error of Joseph by making a too-short piece of wood into the correct length. There are no written confirmations of these happenings, other than this Infancy Gospel, which has never been accepted as authentic.
Now we get to a particular occasion: This window, with its nautical theme, is dedicated to H. Guy Campbell, 1861-1967, and depicts Jesus calling Andrew and Peter from their vocations as fishermen: Matthew 4:18; calling them to be fishers of people; just after that, he saw James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John; they left their boats to follow him. The lower portion of this window depicts the baptism of Jesus by John. There is a misspelling in this window.
Crossing the nave, we come to a window, dedicated to Holly Ruth Stahl, the daughter of Robert and Ruth Stahl. She died at an early age, only 7 years old, This window includes the Sermon on the Mount, and also the entreaty to “suffer the little children to come unto me” phraseology of Luke 18: 15 “These are the kingdom of God..” This passage is particularly fitting to commemorate the passing of a child.
The next window dedicated to John Howard Gunther (1872-1956) and his wife, Elizabeth Wheeler Gunther (1872-1950_recounts the story of the prodigal son, in the upper section . The prodigal son somehow got his father to give him an early inheritance, which he promptly wasted in riotous living, until he was reduced to living with pigs (which were an abomination to the Jews). He regained his senses and went back to his father, seeking some sort off rehabilitation. The story is full of sibling rivalry on the part of his faithful brother, but the father worked it out by assuring this brother that he was still the favored son, but that the wayward brother deserved some chance at reconciliation, and a fatted calf feast as a minimum.
Also featured in the lower portion of this window is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were considered as outcasts by the Jews, although they were sort of cousins. They had moved into the middle part of Palestine, between Judea and Galilee following the collapse of the Kingdom of Israel, and were considered squatters. They did not adhere to Temple worship in Jerusalem, relegating whatever allegiance they had for the monotheistic religion to the site at Shiloh.Therefore it was highly irregular to ascribe any noble acts to any of them, but Jesus did so in his parable.
The next window is the window dedicated to the aforementioned J. Rieman McIntosh and depicts the crucifixion and final words of Jesus. The lower part shows the entombment in the sepulchre.
Next is the central window, dedicated to Lily Elizabeth Keech. She was the daughter of William S. Keech, who was one of the original vestrymen in 1860, serving until 1900. Part of this included 13 years as Senior Warden. The window is dedicated to his daughter, who never married and was a devoted teacher in the Sunday School until her death in 1896. The window was offered by her fellow workers, and the upper portion is of the Ascension; the lower part illustrates Jesus’ exhortation to “Feed my sheep”. The Keech family is also recognized in the brass enclosure of Trinity’s pulpit.
The window on the right is dedicated to Wendell DeWitt Allen, 1893-1973, with the words: “Abide with us… .the day is far spent.” The lower portion is a rendition of the Last Supper. The upper part of the next window depicts Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gesthemane with the words found in Matthew 26 and Luke 22: “…remove this cup from me, yet, not my will but yours be done.” The lower portion shows Paul (Saul) receiving the vision on the road to Damascus.
This window is dedicated to William Purlington Cole (1889-1957), for whom the Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, College Park is named. Next to Mr. Cole’s window is one with the upper portion depicting the Resurrection, as the Nicene Creed puts it: “… on the third day, according to the Scriptures”. This window is dedicated to the Coles” son, Captain William Purlington Cole, Jr., U.S. Army, ( 1919-1944) who was killed in France during World War II. The lower portion shows Pontius Pilate washing his hands in absolution of Jesus condemnation.
The fourth Tiffany window in our collection is dedicated to Arabella Hambleton, 1829-1893, wife of Thomas Hambleton, previously honored by the first window in the Lee Chapel. The phrase “Lead, Kindly Light..” comes from Hymn 430: “Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom..” in the 1940 Hymnal. It does not appear in the 1982 Hymnal, unfortunately.
The only window conveying a message from the Old Testament appears in the former Baptistery, now part of the columbarium installation. It is dedicated to Ralph Parr, by his wife, Sonia Parr, and recites part of the 23rd Psalm” The Lord is my shepherd..etc.” This window would normally be part of a triple window, but the other two parts were not completed and the exterior glass for the center part is a false facade.
If we draw our attention to the end of the nave, the balcony bisects two windows on either side of the Transfiguration window. The one on the left, as we face the rear wall, has two distinct themes, both dedicated to Elizabeth Collings Dunning (1870-1966). The upper portion illustrates the wedding at Cana, where, according to John 2, Mary instructs the servants “whatsoever he saith unto you, do it”. And so we have Jesus’ first miracle, despite what the Infancy Gospel of Thomas has said. A servant is pouring out the water into the jugs, and what appears to be the bridal couple is seated in the background.
The lower half of this window shows St. Michael as the archangel vanquishing Satan who has taken the form of a dragon. This is a favorite medieval depiction, which characteristically shows him with a sword, banner, spear, and very prominent wings, dispatching a snake or dragon. Michael is one of the four archangels recognized in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. They are Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael. Michael is reputed to be the Good Angel of Death, and is the patron saint of warriors, sailors, knights, and chivalry in general. He is also an advocate of Israel, is named in Scripture (Daniel and Revelation) and sometimes anonymously, but understood to have appeared to Joshua, Moses, Abraham, and Balaam. Certain Hebraic writings imply that he was one of the three angels visiting Lot, and that he was the angel with the flaming sword who evicted Adam and Eve.
On this occasion, legend has it that there was a fight between Michael and Satan over the possession of the body of Moses, in which Satan was vanquished even though he had taken the form of a dragon.
The window on the right of the Transfiguration window has the upper part showing the paralytic in Capernaum being lowered into Jesus’ presence through the roof to the ultimate encounter resulting in his being able to take up his bed and walk, with his sins forgiven. The lower portion is a version of the Annunciation. This entire window is dedicated to a remarkable woman, Margaretta Sophia Ridgeley, who, despite being born in 1869 to the Ridgeleys of Hampton, chose to turn away from a life of comfort and security , and went to Liberia in 1904. There. she founded the “House of Bethany”, a school for native girls at Cape Mount (now Robertsport). She brought Christian civilization to the superstitious natives and was probably the first white woman to reach and remain in one of the darkest parts of Africa. She retired in 1932, returning to Maryland and lived until 1949. The Liberian government bestowed on her the title: ‘Lady Margaretta, Knight of the Order of Humane Redemption”.
The magnificent Transfiguration window is dedicated to the memory of David Gregg McIntosh (1836-1916) and his wife, Virginia Johnson Pegram (1843-1920), grandparents of the aforementioned J. Reiman McIntosh.
Two Old Testament prophets, Moses and Elijah appear in this presentation, flanking Jesus at the occasion of the Transfiguration, which is recounted in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah the Prophets. Curled up on the ground are Peter, James and John. This window is notable in that it actually calls out the names of the persons depicted. The other windows seem to assume that the viewer is familiar with the scenes and doesn’t need identification. In the Moses presentation, we can see in the background a mountain and water gushing from it in response to Moses striking it with his rod, Elijah’s identity is further verified by the wheel of the chariot which took him to heaven and the cloak he let fall to his heir, Elisha.
So far as we can tell, all the windows except the Tiffany windows and the one over the altar were executed by the same studio. The one over the altar was designed by a German firm, and it has been pointed out that the faces are decidedly Teutonic in aspect.
The office of Dr. James Henry Jarrett was moved to the Trinity property in March of 1978. The links below contain historical information on Dr. Jarrett, the building and photos of the move from its original location at the corner of Washington and Allegheny Avenues.
This small frame structure was built at the turn of the 20th century to be used as a doctor’s office. Its exterior appearance speaks strongly of the Queen Anne style with an arrangement of beveled clapboards, fishscale shingles and a gambrel roof. The interior with its tiny waiting room and examination room says much about space requirements in an earlier period of Towson’s history. The waiting room was finished with tongue-and-groove paneling on the ceiling and walls and was heated by a fireplace with a marbled slate mantel.
Dr. Jarrett’s Office was one of several Queen Anne period buildings that once occupied the corners of the Washington and Allegheny Avenue intersection.. They have all been either altered or demolished. In March, 1975 this building was moved to its present site in order to save it from the fate of its neighbors.