View a presentation of Trinity’s beautiful stained glass windows, given in 2015-2016 as part of the Sunday Forum Bicentennial series on Trinity’s history.
At Trinity, one of the optional 20 minute sessions at Parish Sunday on October 16, 2016 will be a tour of a small exhibit called “The Gothic Church,” One Small Print with Large Impact. The numerous 19thc editions for this print formed a steady backdrop to Trinity’s expanding influence in the New Haven community, the new nation and even Great Britain. The tour discussion will be lead by Peg Chambers, the exhibit’s organizer and Chair of Trinity’s History Ministry.
The 200th anniversary of the consecration of our Gothic church building is coming to a close. This exhibit, which will be installed in the Undercroft for a month beginning on October 16, will leave us with a better sense of the importance of our parish’s role in the adoption of the concept of the separation of church and state and the significance of our architect, Ithiel Town, while also showing the importance of the use of artistic composition in printmaking to the dissemination of au courant ideas and ideals through the 19thc.
Image: W.H. Bartlett, The Gothic Church (New Haven), engraved by T. Turnbull originally published by George Virtue, London, 1839
Trinity Coffee House presents
Goodnight Blue Moon, Opening with The Coracles
Saturday, October 22, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. in the Trinity on the Green Undercroft
Join us for a relaxed evening of fellowship, refreshments and music.
The Coracles – celebrating traditional Irish music with Randy Smith, our own Sherrill Farkas, Keith Henderson, Ken Crowell.
For more information, contact Gloria.firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED – PLEASE SHOW UP AT THE DOOR
To reserve single or multiple places, or become a patron, hit the Register Now! button to the left. You will be sent to a registration page, with the option to donate by check, PayPal, or Credit Card. Reservations: $15 advance, $20 at door for single tickets. We are suggesting patrons donate $100, for which you will receive two reservations and CDs from each band. Children under 16 are free.
If you can’t come to the event, but would still like to donate to Trinity’s programs, hit the Donate Now! button and select the Coffee House fund in our online VANCO PAYMENT SOLUTIONS donation system, an online service dedicated to support churches, which can accept credit card, debit card and eCheck donations. Feel free to donate to any of the other Trinity Funds as well!
New Haven is a busy place. but parking is always just a block away from Trinity. The Crown Street parking garage is a block away. There are 194 metered spaces (6 for handicapped) within one block. After 5pm the 2 hour limit is suspended, and parking after 9pm is free: you pay only $1.50 per hour until 9pm. All meters take credit cards. For more help on parking, click here, or on the parking meter image.
Trinity Episcopal Church
corner of Chapel & Temple Streets,
New Haven, CT
Trinity Coffee House presents
The Asberry Boys – Saturday, October 24, 2015, 7:00 p.m. in Trinity Church on the Green.Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at door.
Join us for a relaxed evening of fellowship, refreshments and music.
The Asberry Boys blend acoustic rock and blues to form a unique genre that highlights the vocal harmonies and exquisite string playing of the band’s members. Jeremiah, James, Jack and Sam Taubl are four brothers and the group’s founding members. They were finalists on America’s Got Talent in 2008 as part of the Taubl Family Band.
Opening – Matt Popp
Trinity’s own Matt Popp will be opening for the Coffee House. Matthew is a singer/songwriter from Orange, CT., who was a Trinity Choir member from 2000-2003, and has been in the men’s choir a total of five years. He will be accompanied by guitarist Jerome Goosman.
Matthew enjoyed many different kinds of music growing up, but country became his passion. In high school he developed a love for songwriting, turning emotions and experiences into music. During college, he started the band “Post No Bills”, and since its formation they have played all across Connecticut. Matthew continues to write music, and plays both with his band and on his own.
A video of Matt’s is here. More information can be found here:
From time to time religiously informed art is exhibited at Trinity Church.
Summer 2017: Works from the CT Prison Arts Program
June 9 – July 26, Tuesday – Friday 11 am – 2 pm, Saturday 9 am – 2 pm.
Community Partners in Action is a non-profit agency created in 1875. It is dedicated to building a better community by providing services that promote accountability, dignity, and restoration for people affected by the criminal justice system.
The Prison Arts Program, initiated in 1978, works with the Department of Corrections to build and maintain a positive and constructive environment in Connecticut’s prisons. While advocating for the value of rigorous, long term endeavors, the program promotes a change in direction, attitude, possibility, and work ethic. It also encourages empathy for all of those living and working in the State’s prisons. The results are often extraordinary.
Please add your thoughts on the concept of “goodness” to the guestbook at the exhibition.
In summer 2016, a selection of artworks by artists in residence over the past few years at OMSC in New Haven was exhibited. Mackenzie Pikaart again provided an outdoor installation.
In the summer of 2014, Trinity hosted two art exhibits, the Clinard and Pikaart Art Exhibits. In 2015, we offered work by Tom Edwards and Mackenzie Pikaart.
Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart – Summer 2016
Flowers of Glass
An outdoor art exhibit by Mackenzie Pikaart. This is a piece about the approximately 10,000 parishioners Trinity on the Green has had over the past 200 years – a myriad of souls remembered on the bicentennial of the consecration of the church.
Overseas Ministry Study Center Artists – Summer 2016
For details of this program, see http://omsc.org/art-at-omsc/art.shtml
Tom Edwards – Summer 2015
Drawings for Contemplation
This year’s summer art exhibit at Trinity featured the Connecticut artist Tom Edwards. His contemplative rendering of nature scenes fits very well into the context of our church on the Green. Both artist and architect, Edwards’ drawings are based on reality but are derived from his imagination.
These two panels are each 54″h x 18″w. When opened, they expose a different image that is 54″h x 72″w, titled
“Tree between Two Houses”
More information about the artist is at
Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart – Summer 2015
A space for dreams
Mackenzie Pikaart had a new installation outside the church steps this summer. See below, under 2014, for more information about the artist.
She says: HOPE is a space for thoughts, kind words, wishes, ideas, and dreams. Please leave your message on a piece of fabric, and then tie it to the iron fencing in the front and rear of the church. Thank you for being part of this community, you are loved.
Susan Clinard – Summer 2014
Susan Clinard is a local New Haven artist whose studio is located in the historic Eli Whitney Barn, a place well known to members of Trinity who belong to Trinity Players, which presented many summer plays there. Inspired by the Barn and Eli Whitney’s wood molds and inventions, Susan is also a spiritual person who “sees with her hands.” The slide show below contrasts the installation in colorful and cluttered but beautifully spiritual Trinity Church with images of the artwork that were taken in a studio. The installation of the the wood figures at waist level above the backs of the pews, gives a feeling of sailing on water and a eye-level perspective that engaged members of the church and visitors alike in a spiritually as well as ascetically startling way. A work by Clinard is mounted permanently in the church Columbarium.
Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart – Summer 2014
Mackenzie Pikaart installed Equal Parts, a piece, that visually highlights a space which seems forgotten, the small “cages” behind iron railings that flank the front steps and tower of Trinity Church. Utilizing neon colors, multiples, and shadow casting objects, this piece portrays the strength in many and the connections made over time.
Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart is a collage, installation, and sculpture artist. Traditionally trained in ceramics at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia PA, where she received her BFA in crafts, concentration in ceramics. Her most recent work focuses on the highlighting of negative space and being conscious of the connections made within the space, and focusing on how we, as the viewer, perceive that space, and what slight or significant changes can be made to activate the negative space. Her installations consist of multiples of the same product, e.g., straws, pin-back buttons, etc. The process and repetitive nature of her work is extremely important to her, and sometimes offers her almost greater satisfaction than the end result.
From the weekly eNews of 2-28-14:
“This Sunday we are planning a poetry Sunday at Trinity. The power of poetry and its winging words may puzzle us at times, may seem rather far-fetched and fantastic to some of us, but they also help us to enter those dimensions of life that are ineffable or that transcend us. In this Sunday’s Gospel of the Transfiguration of Christ we encounter the poetry-like manifestation of Christ, radiating as a window into God, as George Herbert would put it. Like poetry this poetic Gospel passage may also guide our faith and its ineffable parts. In his transfiguration, Jesus certainly affirms that the mystery dimension of God is not to scare us but is like an epiphany moment that hopes to familiarize us with the mystery of God’s love. I hope our first poetry Sunday will allow us to enjoy both the poetry of life and the poetry of faith.
Matthew 17:1-13, the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Christ
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
We look forward to Poetry Sunday becoming an annual event.
Poetry Sunday, April 3, 2016
No Man Is an Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
“It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”
An Act of Faith
In the water I see stars, among the reeds
the mountain of my face,
and across a distance two geese
in the twilight of a lake, like stilettos.
So many touchstones. I lean toward life,
I unbuckle the flowers’ roots,
and know the privilege, know the trees
as vessels of shadow.
And if the sky is gray and anguished gray above a field
before a storm—
and the leaves shake, shake, shake
with a spiritual palsy—
I look over my shoulder unsure: am I observed,
or do I observe?
Let show all things splended,
in their darker nature
splendid also. Lord you know the mask
of my face, how I peer at the world
from under a leaf, from under the squint
of my intelligence
I can’t comprehend or find contradiction
in evidence of past milleniums, the broken
galaxies behind the sun. Certainly all creatures
pause, and gaze benignly
into the air, into the light where birds fly and are gone:
this is the Light I lean toward.
I will never go to Finland,
never see their dark forests fed
by icy streams, never
see reindeer in the wild,
never feel their mossy antlers.
I’ll never sip ice water
from a Russian river, never
tell fairy tales in Icelandic,
that many layered language,
never say “How are you?”
to a bearded Finnish farmer,
or wake up in a Finnish bed
made of ancient northern trees,
covered in a puffy eiderdown quilt,
my nose cold in the chilly dawn
wind blowing air in off the tundra
through the cracks
in a handmade wooden house
like the one where the young woman
(who pulls a sled filled with old clothes
to sell at a flea market) lives.
She’ll take the money
and buy tea to warm her hands
first thing in the morning
before she treks to work in a quarry
fashioning stone crosses
like the one I hold now and rub with my thumb
until the stone shines from without
as much as it shines
Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing
‘My God and King.’
The heav’ns are not too high,
His praise may thither fly:
The earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
‘My God and King.’
The church with psalms must shout
No door can keep them out:
But above all, the heart
Must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
‘My God and King.’
George Herbert (1593-1633)
The people in the prayer shall ministry knit unique prayer shawl with love and care by members of our group.Their mission is to reach out parishioners who are in need of comfort while going through a difficult time such as an illness, surgery, a loss or bereavement. It is our hope that the recipients of these shawls and quilts will feel God’s love and comfort as well as our love and concern. Once each year the knitted shawls are blessed, then distributed to those in need.
The Book Group meets 8 (or more) times a year for discussion and fellowship. The seven books selected in summer for the year include fiction, nonfiction, biography, and others. When possible we offer a choice of two days for discussion of a single book to provide options for our members to participate.
Who are we? We are a random, self-selected gathering of avid readers and conversationalists, with no particular political, social or religious agenda.
All are welcome. Newcomers are especially welcome.
Since the early 1980s the Trinity Book Group has met regularly to talk about a wide variety of books. We meet at each other’s homes about once every six weeks, and read and discuss some seven books each year. In our busy lives, we don’t always get around to reading everything we have assigned to ourselves, but we sincerely try, and we inevitably have fun trying and have memorable discussions.
We are mostly parishioners of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut. Some of us are educators and librarians; others are lawyers, psychologists, social workers, architects, doctors, art historians and scientists …the list of professions is endless, but you definitely don’t have to be a professional to join our group – you only have to be especially interested in the good life of reading and talking – and, on occasion, of also sharing in good food and drink.
What kinds of books do we read? We read bestsellers (The Secret Life of Bees; The Poisonwood Bible; Cold Mountain); we read classics (Dinesen’s Out of Africa); we read detective novels and science fiction; we read biographies and histories; we read about the Bible (Elaine Pagels’ Beyond Belief); we read almost anything that we collectively find interesting.
How do we select the books we read each year? Once a year we meet as a group to propose and evaluate the next year’s selections. After an energetic hour or two of contemplation and debate, we vote on the next year’s list, and come up not only with a selection of books but also with a selection of meeting dates and book group hosts. It’s a somewhat unpredictable process, but we always manage to muddle through in good spirits. After all, what could be more – or less – serious than a book group’s selection of readings?
Nonetheless, each year we are further edified by our book group friends and colleagues. We will have read books that we neither knew about nor anticipated; we will have seen and learned more than we expected; we will have extended ourselves and enjoyed the experience.
All are welcome. Newcomers are especially welcome. Contact Jenny Briggs at 203-624-2488, email: Jenny Briggs, for information and directions.
Book Group Schedule and Selections 2017-2018
Saturday, September 23, 5 pm (Potluck: tapas & desserts)
Venue: Carolyn Gould
Book: Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance
Monday, October 30, 7 pm
Venue: Charlotte Rea
Book: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Monday, December 4, 2 pm
Venue: Deborah Desir
Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Monday, January 8, 7 pm
Venue: Margie and Ed Pikaart
Book: Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Wednesday, March 14, 7 pm
Venue: Maria and Welles Brandriff
Book: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Wednesday, April 25, 7 pm
Venue: Polly Fiddler
Book: The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley
Sunday, June 3, 5 pm (Potluck: tapas & desserts)
Venue: Veronica Soell
Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Wednesday, June 20, 7 pm
Venue: Jenny Briggs
Book Browse (to select books for next year)
Reading Lists 2001-2017
Here is what the Trinity Book Group has read and discussed since 2001
Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud
A Violet Season by Kathy Czepiel
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
Tourmaline by Derek Stroup
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
200 Years on the Green by Neil Olsen
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Journey from the Land of No by Roya Hakakian
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia Macneal
The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk-Kidd
Citizens of London by Lynne Olson
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
Miss Buncle’s Book by D. D. Stevenson
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
East is East by T.C. Boyle
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Down the Santa Fé Trail and into Mexico by Susan Shelby Magoffin
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Cleopatra by Stacey Schiff
The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1860 to the Present by Gail Collins
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Deborah Dean
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman
The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith
A Game of Character by Craig Robinson
The Last Station by Jay Parini
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y K Lee
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Thoreau Night, read one of his 3 books by Henry David Thoreau
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
Suite Francaise by Irene Némirovsky
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky
A Letter to America by David Boren
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Naturalist by Edward O. Wilson
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers
A Year In the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett
A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell
The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Human Stain by Philip Roth
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink,
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong
The Kite-Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Tears of the Giraffe, Alexander McCall Smith
Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels
Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
As I Sat on the Green, ed. Alice Mattison et al
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
The Piano on the Left Bank, Thad Carhart
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Bernard Lewis
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
Prague, Arthur Philip
The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
Mutant Message Down Under, Marlo Morgan
Firehouse, David Halberstam
Jim the Boy, Tony Earley
Lying Awake, Mark Salzman
The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
Death in Holy Orders, P. D. James
Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand
Quartet in Autumn, Barbara Pym
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill
A Month in the Country, J. L. Carr
My Garden Book, Jamaica Kincaid
Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Plainsong, Kent Haruf
Nicene Noir Script
Click on the image below to download a MS WORD version of Nicene Noir, a play by Neil Olsen, presented as a Trinity Players dinner theater on July 9, 2016, or download as a PDF file.
In 1975, as part of a revitalization of Trinity Church, and an exciting reinvestigation of its liturgy and service traditions, Trinity Players was reformed to present liturgical or sermon dramas in the chancel (and sometimes the nave) of the church under the direction of the Rev. Robert Sandine, minister of the arts, presenting original plays by various parishioner authors, including Neil C. Olsen, Carol Edwards, Susan Bingham, and Laura Patrie. The group was co-founded with a community theater group, The Something Players; Trinity Players and Something Players jointly presented The Lark at Trinity in 1992. Since 1975, Trinity Players has presented from one to four short plays each year at Trinity Church and other local churches as part of its mission to spread the gospel in mimetic form. In 1979 (see picture) it presented Noyes Fludde on the Green. In 2002 it presented the Anniversary Play Golden Arches Golden Pipes. In 2007 it presented Nicene Nior during the Festival of Arts and Ideas — a play which was presented in 2015 in Tucson at Grace St. Paul’s, and again at Trinity as a dinner theater in 2016. In 2008 we began reading plays on a ad hoc basis, including Shakespeare. In 2010 a very popular “dinner theater” began the tradition of offering a Christmas play reading along with dinner in the church undercroft.
Trinity Players welcomes everyone to join and participate.
Our aim is to present the gospel message in dramatic form, continuing a tradition of liturgical drama that began in the tenth century while enriching the worship experience within the traditional service. Three or four times a year, the Trinity Players presents a liturgically integrated chancel Drama or Opera in place of the usual sermon. The work is inspired either by a scriptural passage or adapted from a classic Christian work of drama or literature. The dramas are frequently presented at other local churches upon invitation, as well as for local church festivals and public events, including “mission” performances on the noisy but vital New Haven Green. Some of the works are so popular that they have been performed more than once over the 42 years (so far) of liturgical drama at Trinity.
Our Opening Prayer
Trinity players opens each rehearsal and performance with a prayer. One of its long time members, Ed Getlein, wrote a prayer in verse which is read before the opening performance.
ED GETLEIN’s POEM for the TRINITY PLAYERS
Oh Lord, be with us now, we pray,
In lines we speak and parts we play;
May all our mimes and speeches be
A help to all who hear and see.
If through us some small light may shine
Upon things plain and things Divine,
We only ask, when the curtain descends,
Be with us when our music ends.
Drama has been a part of Trinity Players for a long time. In 1922 Trinity’s Girls’ Friendly Society organized a Passing Show at the Schubert Theater with 250 local people performing songs and dances; it included a group of Dutch children in wooden shoes, and according to the New Haven Evening Register of June 8, 1922, a “group of little girls in kilts who march like a Highland Regiment, all performed as a benefit for a home for ‘business girls’.”
When the Trinity Parish House was built in 1925 it included three four-room apartments, a gymnasium, kitchen, dining room, offices, and a really beautiful auditorium that seated 416; it was sold to Yale in 1980 and is now the Whitney Humanities Center. In addition to showing movies, the auditorium became the home of the first incarnation of Trinity Players. Growing out of the Youth Group and the Supper Club about the same time as the parish house was built in the mid-twenties, it put on regular performances of community theater. In the mid-thirties, along with the Trinity Young Men’s Club, it mounted an antiwar play called The Grail, by Albert Mark Foster, which stirred up a bit of local controversy at the time. This was actually written by Foster Furculowe, an athlete, lawyer, actor, playwright, and Trinity Church member. It and others of his plays were performed at local theaters as well as in the parish house. Under his original name, John Foster Furcolo, he ran for office and was elected representative to the 2nd Congressional District in Massachusetts, and then elected and re-elected Governor of Massachusetts, serving from 1957 to 1961. After leaving office he was indicted on charges of bribery, but perhaps his skills as an actor served him well, for he beat the rap and the indictment was dismissed.
In the following years Trinity organizations continued to use the parish house for theater; during the time Lawson Willard was rector (1940-1970), they mounted a production of a play by the rectors’ neighbor and friend Thornton Wilder; we think the author of the most performed play of modern times attended and approved our offering of Our Town. Members of our Players group also found back behind the clock in the rear of the Church an ancient (circa 1920’s) carbon arch spot, indicating some dramas were performed in church (at least the annual and venerable Christmas Pageant). But as drama in New Haven and Yale grew in professionalism, the need for community theaters correspondingly declined, and no records of performances exist between the fifties and the seventies.
In 1975 the modern Trinity Players was founded by the Rev. Robert Sandine and the Rev. Phil Weihe. The new idea was to present theater integrated into the liturgy by replacing the usual scripture-based sermon with a scripture-based “sermon drama.” In addition to presenting sermon dramas integrated into the liturgy, and the occasional full length evening chancel drama, it sponsored the more secular productions of The Something Players, a community theater group that performed in the Trinity Parish House, the Trinity Church Nave, Eli Whitney’s Barn, and in the “black box” theater in the basement of The Church of the Redeemer after 1980 when the Trinity Parish House was sold to Yale. Trinity Players also typically takes their Sermon Drama on the road, performing each play twice at Trinity services, and typically two more times at other local churches, sometimes as far afield as Philadelphia. On two occasions it has competed with the traffic and bustle of the Green, and performed on the church apron just as its medieval predecessors must have done. It has also performed twice at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
Very soon after founding Trinity Players, Trinity Church helped found the community-based theater group The Something Players as an outreach program to the larger New Haven Community. The community theater quickly took on a life of its own, and has performed many plays, with a mission that takes it beyond the typical community theater offering, including Oedipus Rex, As you Like It, The Lady’s Not for Burning by Christoper Fry, and a number of original plays.
Lay Ministry through Drama: Why We Do What We Do
St Francis is reputed to have said, “Preach the Gospel every day, and if necessary, use words.” From our indissoluble baptismal initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into the Church, we are commanded to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” Our international Christian religion, and the Anglican Communion in particular, though founded on the Word made English, is also founded on the Word made flesh. And proclaiming “by word and example” is pretty much a definition of drama. Or as 1 Corinthians 4:9 puts it (with a slightly unusual translation), “we have become a theater to the world, to angels and to all humanity.” With drama, our lay people may preach the word to the people of the world, the words of a hidden God to the unconverted, the fallen off, and to the faithful, and obey the baptismal covenant’s injunction to “do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ.” Drama is one way those without, and sometimes even with, the gifts of vocation, preaching, singing, or wealth, may also preach the gospel, using action, scenery, lights, spectacle, and sometimes even using words.
The mansion of religious drama has many rooms, and many types of plays. There are liturgical dramas added to the existing service: these are known as tropes, and have been around ever since Bishop Ethelwold of Winchester scripted Quem Quaertas in 970 AD. These are sometimes called Lesson Dramas or Epistle Dramas, and Trinity, in addition to those below, annually performs a children’s Christmas pageant and on Palm Sunday an end-of-service trope describing the trial and death of Jesus. Chancel dramas are simply any drama performed in a chancel, and may be short or full length. Sermon dramas, unlike tropes, replace the sermon, with the same pedagogical intent of illuminating the scripture reading for the congregation.
Sermon Drama Performances
This is a partial list of some of the plays we have presented over the last 30+ years. Note that some of the sermon dramas were presented two or more times. Other churches have presented some of the more popular plays as well.
- Quem Quaeritis (performed twice)
- Good News Tonight– words by Ivan Vasey, music by Philip and Sarah Wieh
- When the Angels Cried: Abraham and Isaac –adapted from the Legend of the Jews by Robert Sandine
- Scenes from Marriage– adapted from the works of various playwrights – by Robert Sandine
- Visitatio Sepulcher– from the Latin liturgical service
- Christ in the Concrete City– by Philip Turner (performed twice)
- Our Town, Act III– by Thornton Wilder
- Let Man Live– by Par Lagerkvist
- Grab and Grace– by Charles Williams (performed twice)
- A Conversation Between Mary and the Angel Gabriel– words and music by Susan Bingham
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat– by Rice and Webber, Sign of Jonah – by E. Rutenbern
- The Grand Inquisitor– by Neil Olsen from Dostoevsky (performed three times)
- Woman at Jacob’s Well– words and music by Susan Bingham
- Noah’s Flood– Anonymous, modernized from the Coventry Pageant Play – by Neil Olsen
- The Beginning– by Arnold Thomas
- The Raising of Lazarus– words and music by Susan Bingham
- Return from Babel– by Neil Olsen (performed three times)
- On the Road to Emmaus– words and music by Susan Bingham (performed twice)
- The Babel Trilogy– by Neil Olsen (performed twice)
- The Awakening– words by Neil Olsen, music by Susan Bingham (performed twice)
- Simeon– words and music by Susan Bingham
- The Potting Shed– adapted from Graham Greene’s play by Neil Olsen
- The Sacrifice of Isaac– words and music by Susan Bingham
- The Rose Fire– based on The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald by Neil Olsen
- Ruth– words and music by Susan Bingham
- Not for Death– by Neil Olsen
- Golden Arches Golden Pipes: The First Hundred Years of Trinity Church– a history pageant by Neil Olsen, presented in 2002 and 2016 as Anniversary plays.
- Oh that Lazarus (performed twice), a fundraiser play by Neil Olsen
- Holiday from Hell– adapted from C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce by Neil Olsen (performed twice)
- The Scallion – by Neil Olsen
- The Second Shepherd’s Play– by the Wakefield Master from the Wakefield Mystery Play Cycle, modernized and cut to sermon length by Neil Olsen (performed twice)
- When the Angels Cried: the Story of Abraham and Isaac from the Legends of the Jews – by Neil Olsen (performed three times)
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Jericho– by Tom Long, of Friends of the Groom
- Fragments from The Balance– a play about Harry Croswell, by Neil Olsen
- 12 Hours of Daylight– by Laura Patrie
- Jacob, medieval mystery play
- This Must be Paradise– adapted from the York Cycle Creation Plays
- The King Post– adapted from “The Boy with the Cart” by Christopher Fry
- Nicene Noir, by Neil Olsen, (performed three times)
- Everyman’s Isle – a religious parody of reality tv shows based on The Summoning of Everyman by Neil Olsen
Trinity was founded as a parish in 1723. Its first wooden church was built in 1752–53. The second Gothic stone church, built in 1814–1816—with its carefully maintained and inspiring Gothic revival exterior and interior—is a landmark structure on the New Haven Green at the corner of Temple and Chapel Streets.
Trinity offers compelling preaching, diverse worship styles, and absorbing programs for adults, teens, and younger children.
Trinity’s multiple opportunities for fellowship and outreach are typified by its Chapel on The Green, a weekly Sunday afternoon outdoor service of worship, food and fellowship, open year-round to all and conducted in collaboration with other New Haven area churches.
The church’s strong music program is centered in its choirs: the Choir of Men and Boys, founded 1885 and one of only two such choirs in Connecticut; the Choir of Men and Girls, founded in 2003; and the Trinity Parish Choir, a mixed adult choir that sings a variety of sacred choral pieces.