Where We Came From
Holy Trinity, Greensboro’s first Episcopal congregation, has been an active parish for more than 150 years. In 1869, a group of lay people met, elected a vestry, and picked the name St. Barnabas. The cornerstone for the church was laid May 31, 1871, at the corner of what is now Friendly Avenue and Greene Street – the current heart of downtown Greensboro.
In 1891, a group left St. Barnabas to form St. Andrews mission, which became a parish in 1893. In May of 1910, the two parishes consolidated as Holy Trinity. In 1919, Holy Trinity bought our current property on Greene Street and Fisher Avenue and in 1922 completed a much-needed parish house. Famed architect Hobart Upjohn designed the three-story building that included an assembly hall and offices. The congregation worshipped in the original sanctuary until 1930, when the parish house assembly hall became today’s All Saints Chapel.
Holy Trinity thrived in the years after World War II, raising money to build the current sanctuary, which was completed in 1950. Clergy and laity worked to lay the foundation for the beautiful worship services we enjoy today and to embellish the interior of the sanctuary with handmade needlepoint kneelers by women of the parish and extensive wood carvings throughout crafted by a parishioner.
Like Greensboro, Holy Trinity grew during the 1950s and 1960s. Rectors worked closely with the capable lay leadership to capitalize on growth and enthusiasm. The current parish house was completed in 1963.
In the 1970s and 1980s, lay leadership strengthened and outreach became a major focus. The first woman was elected to the vestry in 1970. We welcomed our first female priest in the mid-1990s.
In the last 30 years, Holy Trinity continued active outreach programs, several of which grew into non-profit organizations and community resources. The Servant Leadership School, now known as Second Breath Center, has facilitated the spiritual development of parishioners and community members, even hosting national retreats. Holy Trinity’s pilgrimage program grew out of this and welcomes those who want to deepen their faith and view life through a different lens.
Through the years, Holy Trinity has been instrumental in helping start other Episcopal churches in Greensboro. In 1954, 40 Holy Trinity families left to start a mission which became St. Francis. Holy Trinity helped establish All Saints in 1959; St. Barnabas in 1967; and Church of the Holy Spirit in 1983.
In our 100-plus years, we have had 11 Rectors, the last two with tenures of about 23 years each.