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Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith
You are welcome here
Sundays 10:00 am Holy Eucharist
12 Step Programs noon - 1:00 pm Mon. through Thursdays
Bishop's Committee meeting 2ndTuesday 5:30 pm
ECW First Wednesday of the month 5:30 pm
Daughters of the King 3rd Sun. before church 9:15 am
Welcome to Trinity Episcopal Church
Who are we?
Trinity Episcopal Church, Jacksonville, was founded in 1907. It is a part of the Diocese of Texas, an autonomous region of the Episcopal Church of the USA; which itself is a member of the worldwide Anglican community. As such it can trace its origin right back to the days of the Apostles.
Our Mission Statement -
"To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our works, prayers, and gifts" This is in response to Our Lord's great Commission: "Therefore go and make desciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"
We are are a small church, average Sunday attendance is about 35, and we feel more like a family than a congregation. Our unofficial life vision is that beautiful welcome: Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith - You are welcome here.
Grace and peace be with you, the Rev. Rob Godwin
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Rented pews were a major source of income in Anglican churches for most of our history since the declaration of independence from universal papal jurisdiction. Families paid a sum annually - or even in perpetuity - for ownership of their own pews and benches in a parish church, forcing those with no leases to sit in designated spaces often far from heat and easy sermon-hearing. Pews could be conveyed as property in wills and divorces, gained or lost as the fortunes of a family waxed or waned. The inventories of rented pews are a fascinating source of social data in the places where they survive, as they do, for example, at St Mary's, Hamilton Village in Philadelphia.
The movement to have 'free sittings' was a major if now nearly forgotten social reform of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The support of a parish church by voluntary offerings or pledges is a still-new development in our common life. Its emergence - supported by membership organisations on both sides of the Atlantic, buoyed by novels*, sermons, pamphlets and speeches—was meant to help the Church to reach the masses, to disentangle true religion from the squirearchy, and to help ecclesiastical structures resemble the kingdom of heaven. Almost nobody remembers it today, though centenarians and nonagenarians were born in a world where it was a normal dimension of churchgoing and church-belonging.
The conversational exchange on the far northern banks of the Mississippi sent us down a rabbit hole of trying to find out when the last pews were rented by Anglican worshipers.
Having consulted the excellent 2011 dissertation on Anglican pew-renting practices, we were surprised by how long the practice persisted in the Global Northern Anglosphere.
In the United States, Trinity Church, Wall Street rented pews until 1 May 1919. St James, Madison Avenue rented pews until November of 1957. Grace Church on Broadway, St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, and (mirabile dictu) the Church of the Transfiguration held out until 1961.
In Great Britain, Christopher Howse finds rented pews at Shropshire's Much Wenlock, in the Diocese of Hereford, as recently as 1970. On Sark in the Channel Islands, the parish church was still charging an annual 2p for pew rental in 2008, though it is unclear if this practice obtains still. A glance at the informative parish website, with a chart of free and assigned sittings, gives the sense that it may still be practiced.
The Free and Open Churches Movement, with its urgency and sincerity about a perceived social wrong, puts us in mind to ask what the forgetting of its significance may have to say about church life today and in the future.
Will today's urgencies seem implausible and obvious a hundred years from now? What clarities of hindsight can help us understand that there will always be things about which Anglicans can push in organised ways for the greater good of the world around us? What are today's rented pews, and how do they keep us from being more like the
Blessed city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above.