Welcome to the website of Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez, Mississippi. We are a historic, downtown parish and are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, The Episcopal Church, and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
We are a church that has deep roots in the past, yet we strive to live into the future to which God calls us. Our church community finds its strength in worship, which is Christ-centered, traditional, and beautiful. We are an open and inclusive community that strives to respect the dignity of every human being. All are welcome! Wherever you are on your journey of faith, whomever God has created you, you are welcome at Trinity Church. If you're planning a visit or want to know more about who we are at Trinity and the Episcopal Church, we urge you to please peruse the website and visit us.
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church began as the American Colonial branch of the Church of England. It is now an autonomous province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion has spread well beyond its English roots, with about 70-80 million members in countries circling the globe. The word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek word episkopos, which means “overseer” or bishop. We are a branch of Christianity, guided by our bishops, and served by our priests and deacons who support the work and witness of the majority of our ministers, the baptized members of our church.
The Episcopal Church has over 7400 congregations in 109 dioceses plus three regional areas in 16 countries with 2.2 million members. The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, the Virgin Islands, and the Convocation of Churches in Europe.
We are diverse. Episcopalians are black, white, Asian, Latino, Native American, Caribbean, and more. We are young and old, poor and rich, straight and gay. We try to reflect the diversity of the communities in which our congregations are located. Even though we are not there yet, we do strive to be welcoming communities of faith, sharing the love of God with all.
We may be firm in our faith or constantly questioning. We find our unity, not in a common consensus on all matters, but in a common journey toward God through the worship and ministry of our churches. What ties us together is our belief in the love of God, as found in Jesus.
Jesus taught us that God’s deepest hope for us is that we would love God and love our neighbors (Matt. 22:37-40). In Jesus, we have found forgiveness for sins, which are the ways in which we fall short of the mark set by God. We seek to live into that forgiveness we have been given by being open and loving communities of faith. It’s a lofty goal, and when we fall short, we still have the love of God supporting us as we attempt to change to be more Christ like in our words and actions.
We believe first and foremost that we can best come to know God, our creator, through a relationship with his son, Jesus Christ. The clearest statements of what we believe are to be found in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. These 2,000-year-old creeds (short statements of faith) are held to be true by billions of people around the world today. Beyond that, the best place to learn what Episcopalians believe is the Bible, which is the source of our theology, and the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The BCP is not only the guide to our conduct of worship, but it is also articulates our theology.
As a church, we emphasize the mystery of encountering God in worship. Our worship finds its center in the Book of Common Prayer. Created from medieval liturgies at the time of the reformation, our prayer book is filled with the beautiful language of well thought out and oft-prayed prayers that have sustained believers through the centuries.
The principal service on Sunday is Holy Communion, which is offered each week focusing our worship on Christ’s presence in our midst. We follow the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a pattern of readings for each Sunday, which has us reading through much of the Bible in our common worship in a three-year cycle. Preaching and teaching the Word of Scripture are crucial features of Anglicanism, and so The Episcopal Church.
We believe all people are called to be ministers and to serve God, his Church and the community in which they live. The Episcopal Church views the laity as ministers, who represent Christ and His Church, bearing witness to Him wherever they may be, and, according to the gifts given them, carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world, taking their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church. Bishops have the ministry of oversight and serve as chief pastors of the dioceses. Priests offer sacramental ministry within the church, pastoring a given congregation or ministry. Deacons have a servant ministry focused on taking the church to the world and bringing the needs of the world to the church.
What to expect
A Spectrum of Attire You will find some men wearing coat and tie and women wearing dresses or dressy outfits. However, you will also find people with no ties, blue jeans and even shorts at Trinity on a Sunday morning. All are welcome.
A Child-Friendly Congregation Children are, of course, more than welcome to make a joyful noise in our services. However, we do offer childcare at Trinity. The building with the bell tower next to the church is Kuehnle Hall. Entering the front door, just go up the stairs to the second floor. The nursery is the first door on the right and crib to the left as you go down the hall.
An Atmosphere of Reverence As you enter the church, you'll most likely find it to be quiet. Many in our congregation use the time before the service for prayer and reflection and you are invited to do the same.
A Warm Welcome and Hospitality Our main Sunday service is a beautiful, joyful and ancient ritual that might seem a bit foreign to some. Ushers and Greeters will make sure you have a service leaflet to help you through the service. There you will find the order of the service, with readings, service music and page numbers in the prayer book and hymnal.
An Open Table Most all of our Sunday services are celebrations of Holy Communion. You are very welcome to come forward and receive the consecrated bread and wine. It's fine to just receive one of the two. Just cross your arms over your chest if you choose not to receive. If you choose not to receive, the priest will offer you a blessing.
A Community of Fellowship At the end of the service, you'll find folks are much more chatty. A line will form to greet the clergy at the back door. Please come say hello!
Joining The Church
To officially become a member of the Episcopal Church, one must be Confirmed or Received by a Bishop of the Church. The ceremony generally takes place within a Sunday service at a church. The general rule is that if one has been confirmed (received the Sacrament of Confirmation) in another Christian denomination, such as the Roman Catholic or Lutheran Church, then one need only be received into the Episcopal Church by a Bishop. If one has not yet been confirmed, then confirmation by an Episcopal Bishop would also automatically make one a member of the Episcopal Church. One can then join the Episcopal Church Parish of choice. Trinity Church requires that those preparing to be received and/or confirmed take a series of classes in preparation. Persons interested in joining the Episcopal Church at Trinity should contact the Rector.
If you are interested in becoming an Episcopalian and joining Trinity Church, you may contact the Rector here.
Already an Episcopalian?
If one is already an Episcopalian and wishes to transfer his/her membership ("letter") to Trinity Church from another Episcopal church, then he/she should contact the parish office here.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located in downtown Natchez, Mississippi, four blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River. Natchez is the county seat of, and the only incorporated city within, Adams County, Mississippi. Founded in 1716, Natchez is rich in history and prides itself in being the oldest city on the Mississippi River.
Natchez is a very active social town with numerous activities throughout the year. The Natchez Spring Pilgrimage in March and April providing tours of the many antebellum mansions and the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in October are two of the larger events offering local fun and excitement. During May, the Natchez Festival of Music is host to professionally trained singers and musicians performing opera, jazz, and Broadway musicals. Several Mardi Gras krewes sponsor downtown parades in early spring. Other annual or biennial events include the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, the Historic Natchez Conference, the Natchez Food & Wine Festival, the Santa Parade, the Chili Cook-off, and the Natchez Bluff Blues Festival.
An assortment of diverse cultural attractions, from the Melrose mansion and William Johnson House of Natchez National Historical Park, to the museum of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture and Historic Jefferson College, to the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and Emerald Mound located off the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, all provide opportunities to celebrate the uniqueness of Natchez.
Natchez is host to Alcorn State University’s Natchez Campus, home to the university’s nursing school and MBA program. Copiah-Lincoln Community College also operates a Natchez campus providing technical degrees and Associate degrees. The city of Natchez and county of Adams operate one public school system, comprised of eight schools. There are a number of parks in Natchez providing a public golf course, tennis facilities, baseball fields, and walking trails in Duncan Park. There is a semi-private championship golf course and residential development located approximately six miles from the city limits in Adams County. Several baseball and softball fields are located throughout the city for recreational use. These facilities are in full use during the appropriate times of the year. Other community activities include service clubs, Little Theatre, Arts League, and garden clubs, as well as numerous nonprofit historic or charitable organizations. Hunting, fishing, kayaking, biking, and other outdoor recreation opportunities abound in the area. Downtown walking trails have attracted many citizens and visitors to walk along the Mississippi River and city streets.
The congregation of Trinity Episcopal Church was officially founded in 1822. The church building is the oldest in Natchez, and the oldest existing Episcopal church building in Mississippi.
The Episcopal Church was introduced to the Natchez area by missionary The Rev. Adam Cloud, who brought the faith and doctrine of the American Episcopal Church to the “West Florida” frontier in 1790. Fr. Cloud remained in the area until 1793, when he and his family were seized in the middle of the night, and expelled, as a result of complaints made to political and ecclesiastical officials in New Orleans.
Several years later, Episcopal services in Natchez were preformed by The Rev. Adam Boyd in the Natchez Courthouse, beginning in 1798 and ending in 1807 with his death. Fr. Boyd was only the second Episcopal priest known to have been in the Mississippi Territory.
The first services as a parish were held by The Rev. James Pilmore on Sunday, May 10, 1822. Fr. Pilmore had arrived in Natchez through the efforts of Natchez citizen, Dr. Stephen Duncan. The first services were held in the Presbyterian Church due to the kind permission of the Rev. Mr. Weir.
The lot, on which present-day Trinity Church stands, was purchased in April, 1822 for $1500. Construction was begun immediately. The architect for the building was John Munce, and the Master Builder was George Williams. The The first services in the present building, were held in the Spring of 1823. Regular services have been held at Trinity Church ever since.
In 1838, the architectural firm of Breedon & Reynolds was engaged to remodel the building. The decorative dome was removed, the roof line reduced, a portico was added to the front, and stucco was applied to the exterior. The seating capacity was enlarged, and an under-croft was made for Sunday School classes. The work was completed at a cost of $19,664. The church today contains two genuine Tiffany stained glass windows. The first rectory was purchased from William K. Henry for $7,000. It was located in the 800 block of Main Street. A second organ. purchased from Hall & Labash of New York, was installed in 1851. Electricity was first used in the church in 1900. The exterior of the church was restored in 1918, thanks to a generous gift from N. L. Carpenter. In that same year, a new rectory was purchased, located on the corner at 310 South Commerce. The current rectory sits at 308 South Commerce St.
Trinity Church celebrated its bicentennial in 2022.
View the Trinity Church documentary film below.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the regular worship services?
On Sundays there is a 10:30 AM Service of Holy Eucharist with choir.
On third Sundays, there is a Service of Holy Eucharist at 3:00 PM at Christ Church, Church Hill. [and seasonally]
does trinity church provide child care for Sunday services and other events?
Trinity Church provides.
what should i wear to church?
where can i park for church?
what should i do when they pass the plate at church?
where can we sit in church?
how will I know what to do at a church service?
Answer to question 6
what do you offer children, toddlers and babies on Sunday mornings and other times?
do i have to be a member of trinity church to attend services and events?
Really... who's welcome and who's not?
E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E IS WELCOME. REALLY.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT.
COME AS YOU ARE, SINS AND ALL.
why do you shake hands with or wave at each other during the service?
what are those bowls of water near the entrance doors for?
who are your ministers and why are they wearing robes and such?
can visitors take communion?
What kind of adult education / spiritual growth opportunities do you offer?
Who do i call if i am interested in the church or in joining the church?
what kind of outreach is the church involved in?
do i have to be a member of the church to get involved or minister?
can i watch services online?
is there a handicapped entrance / exit at the church and office building?