November 9, 2021

Circle City Steeples Sneak Peak- Trinity Episcopal

Trinity Episcopal

Quick facts

Date built: 1951

Style: Norman Gothic Revival

Construction materials: stone

Architect: Wilbur Shook of McGuire & Shook

Location: 33rd & Meridian streets

Current use: Trinity Episcopal

Trinity Protestant Episcopal was established in 1919 for the faithful who had moved northward from the city’s crowded and polluted core. There had been earlier attempts to establish an Episcopal congregation in the Mapleton-Fall Creek, but a critical mass was reached in the neighborhood and services were first held in an old Baptist church on the current lot; local attorney Aquilla Jones was instrumental in the organization of the parish, then called Church of the Advent. As the area became more populated and the congregation grew, Trinity required a new, larger building to accommodate and adopted a new name. Since the current church was built, Trinity has continued to expand its programming and neighborhood ministries to better serve the area, which was the epicenter of White Flight. As the needs changed, so has Trinity’s ministry. The parish currently is home to the Mid-North Food Pantry, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, and Trinity Haven, a shelter for LGBT+ youth at risk of homelessness.

Trinity’s current building is a marvel of Norman Gothic architecture and the only example of the style in Indianapolis. Modeled after three rural English parish churches, the edifice is laid out with an east-facing altar. Visitors enter through the tower of rusticated stone, which also features pointed Gothic windows and louvers to allow the bells to peal clearly. Inside the sanctuary, ancient English Christian motifs fill the space and the interior roof of the belltower depicts the coat of arms of the Clowes family, congregants of English extraction and major benefactors to the building fund. The nave consists of two columns of pews and square stone tiles provide seating for the congregation, with an additional row of pews in the northern aisle. The walls are adorned with shields depicting symbols of the twelve Apostles and clear glass to allow soft natural light to fill the sanctuary. At the crossing stand an eagle lectern and pulpit that matches the red and green paint of the ceiling supports. Separating the chancel from the nave is an intricate rood screen covered with a delicate floral pattern. The chancel is home to a quire, which provides seating to the choir during services. Furthest east is a simple altar set against the wall and surmounted with a mosaic of two peacocks representing Christ’s resurrection. Trinity stands as a monument to the endurance of belief and architectural styles through the millennia and, as the founders intended, has served to distinguish itself from the surrounding neighborhood as a beacon of the Gospel in modern Indianapolis.