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MAINE: After 100 years in service, Trinity Episcopal Church reinventing into community center

MAINE: After 100 years in service, Trinity Episcopal Church reinventing into community center
"Our church is not dying, our church is changing."

February 1, 2023

LEWISTON, Maine -- The congregation of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lewiston is reinventing the building into a community center called, Trinity Commons.

The church has been a place of worship for more than 100 years. Since the covid-19 pandemic, the number of parishioners has plummeted. Fifteen active parishioners are left in the congregation. Senior warden at Trinity Episcopal Church, Klara Tammany, says, "Our worst nightmare would be that we can't afford it anymore as a small congregation, and it is either converted to a high-end restaurant or torn down and made into condos."

Trinity Commons will be a space accessible to the city and the surrounding neighborhood in Lewiston. It will be used for things like theater, dance, and film. Mass will still be held on a weekly basis with Trinity Episcopal Church parishioners. Tammany says the congregation may grow as a result of the expansion.

The bishop of the episcopal diocese, Rt. Rev. Thomas Brown says Trinity Episcopal Church will be a resource for the entire community. Brown says, "Instead of moving immediately to closure, we try always to think about what could be redeveloped here that would allow us to live into our faith that death and resurrection is the cycle of what we profess week in and week out." Bridging the Gap in Augusta and Seeds of Hope in Biddeford are two examples of episcopal churches that have already been reinvented into community spaces. Brown says, "Our church is not dying, our church is changing."

Tammany says the renovations to Trinity Episcopal Church will roll out in 3 phases. The first phase will be to remove the pews, carpet and bring the building up to code. Parishioners and volunteers with the Maine Prison Re-Entry Network will finish that work in February. The next phase is to repair the basement of the church and partner with a non-profit that will benefit the community. The third phase will be to add on to the building, with new bathrooms. The entire project is expected to take 2 to 3 years to complete.

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