2011-04-09 / People

Trinity Episcopal Church Members Remain Active in Winter


Built in 1882, Trinity Episcopal Church on Mackinac Island is a registered Michigan Historic site. The church and the parish hall, on left, were built on Fort Street. Built in 1882, Trinity Episcopal Church on Mackinac Island is a registered Michigan Historic site. The church and the parish hall, on left, were built on Fort Street. Only eight members of Trinity Episcopal Church live on Mackinac Island during the winter, but the tiny, 174-yearold congregation has found ways to continue Sunday services and involve the community in other events. A nondenominational study group meets in the parish hall and a potluck dinner and movie night is held every two weeks.

“We just all pitch in and it works,” said member Joan Slater, who presides over the service and shares duties with Trish Martin. Ms. Martin and Chuck Kleber offer the weekly sermon and Dan Seeley provides music. Marsha Kleber serves as the warden of the vestry, considered president of the church council.

A historic marker at the site notes: “Episcopal services on Mackinac Island date from 1837 when a bishop preached in the Mission Church. For many years the congregation met in the post chapel at Fort Mackinac and in the courthouse. In 1873, a parish was organized and in 1882, this church building was constructed. Its furnishings include an altar of hand-carved walnut and two chancel chairs made by soldiers at the fort.”


Trinity Episcopal Church remains active during the winter with a small congregation that includes (from left) Chuck and Marsha Kleber and Joan Slater. Winter services are held in the parish hall by this old altar, discovered in the basement of the church. Trinity Episcopal Church remains active during the winter with a small congregation that includes (from left) Chuck and Marsha Kleber and Joan Slater. Winter services are held in the parish hall by this old altar, discovered in the basement of the church. Just south of the church is the parish hall, at one time called “Rose Cottage.” The structure predates the church and according to Mackinac State Historic Parks, it likely was built in 1840s or 1850s.

In the winter, the parish hall next door to the church becomes the hub of activities, and an old altar found tucked away on a shelf in the dirt and stone basement of the church several years ago is used for winter services. The altar was refurbished and now sits in the parish, where people place chairs in a half-circle in front of it for the service.

About 20 people come to the potluck dinner and movie held every other Wednesday evening.

Weddings can be performed at the church year-around.

The church is support by the Diocese of Northern Michigan of Marquette. Kevin Thew Fores- ter from the diocese serves the Island church as the ministry developer. He visits the congregation monthly to offer support and guidance.

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