Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Ok, Lisa's challenge is to show off "our worship space." Even though a lot of people make fun of "Kirksville winter," I wanted to put a winter pic of Trinity out there so the trees did not obscure the view of the church.

Trinity Episcopal Church was established in 1871 as a remote outpost mission church in the Diocese of Missouri, and still enjoys "mission status" for a variety of reasons related to size, geography, and serving the Truman State University community. The early vicars literally covered a circuit almost to the Iowa line. I spent some time in the diocesan archives in St. Louis a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed some of the journals of the early vicars. One described walking eight miles after hitching a ride on the train, carrying his vestments and prayer books, and very tersely noted, "Froze north ear." (I like to tease our vicar that I have had similar experiences shoveling the church walk.)

The original building was a "board and batten" church located 180 degrees from the orientation of the present building, which was built in 1917. Architect Irwin Dunbar, who was also a parishioner, designed the buiding in a blend of Tudor and Craftsman styles. It was the sentiment of the diocese at the time to build churches that looked like "English churches." The roof is red tile. It sits on the corner of Harrison and Mulanix streets in Kirksville.

Dunbar also designed the home parish of my childhood, Zion Lutheran Church, of Macon, MO. I have to admit the first time I walked into Trinity, I had an eerie sense of "being home." I found out later on the two buildings had the same architect!

I wish I had a better, more well lit picture for you, but my puny digital camera can only do so much. The interior is dark walnut and the ceiling has the "upside down boat" look that a lot of older churches have. The pews are original, and I refinished the pews in the summer of 2007 as a "summer project." Another parishioner and I refinished the chancel floor in fall 2007. (Ever try to get up 90 years of wax buildup from thousands of candles? It's a real thrill.) The altar, rail, pulpit, and lectern were replaced in the 1980's.

I don't have a picture of the organ, but it is tucked away just right of the chancel. It's a small pipe organ that originally was at KMOX radio station in St. Louis, purchased in the 1950's. We do like to claim that we have "The best little church organ in Kirksville." It's not huge worship space; but it works for us since we're not a big congregation.

Our worship style is best described as "Fairly contemplative Anglo-Catholic", and music is a HUGE part of the congregational style. Probably 1/4 to 1/3 of the parishioners on a given Sunday are in the choir. Little church, big music. This is in large part due to our very energetic choir director. Roughly 75% of the congregation either attends or works at Truman State University. I shudder to think of the total years of education in one Sunday service!

If you visited, I think the first thing you would notice is that it's pretty quiet prior to services. Our vicar's style is very contemplative and he builds a lot of "pregnant pauses" in the liturgy. Expect a longer than usual pause after the homily, and a few short pauses "between gears" and in the Eucharistic prayer. I'll be honest, I "grew into" these pauses. I originally found them a little unnerving, but as time went on, I have come to appreciate them greatly, and really miss them when I attend other Episcopal churches now. I really like the combination of Big Music/Big Quiet.

Staying for coffee hour is an integral part of the experience. We may appear at first glance to be the "frozen chosen" upstairs, but downstairs, we're fairly noisy! Although we start at 10 a.m. on Sundays, and are usually out by 11:10, coffee hour frequently lasts till well past noon.

Feel free to visit our church web page here.

Soooo...Lisa has me beat on pictures, but at least I accepted her challenge!


Thanks for doing this, Maria. It's wonderful to see you church and to hear you talk about the liturgy there.

I don't know the architect of our church building, but we too have a ceiling with that "upside down boat look that a lot of older churches have."

Our parish, too, has long observed quiet in the nave before the service. We do not have the kind of "holy silences" that you describe during the service, but I think our rector is moving slowly, carefully in that direction.

Thanks for sharing these photos. I like having a mental image of where you worship!



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I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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