Growing and Going Chapter 7

Trinity Church – Growing and Going

Chapter 7 – 1991 to 1998

Early in 1991 saw the arrival of Captain Roger Murphy of Church Army at Saint Bartholomews Church, Roby. His posting with Church Army had come to an end and he was looking for a new post. The project at Trinity was about to start and Roger had the ideal qualities needed to head up such a project. Reverend Pearson wrote to Bishop David Sheppard saying that Roby Parish had a very needy situation on their doorstep and a very gifted evangelist in Roger Murphy. Bishop David wrote back offering to fund Roger Murphy for half time at Trinity and half time across the Diocese as an Evangelist. On 15th June 1991 he was appointed Community Evangelist at Trinity Anglican Methodist Church (half time) to work with Rev. Pearson (Anglican) and Rev. Creamer (Methodist). Twelve adults and as many children left Roby and headed for Trinity on 22nd June 1991, their mission to plant new life and vigour alongside the faithful Methodist members.

Signing the sharing agreement

Memorable occasions in the early days include working parties to clear rubbish outside the church (which was likened to the war zone of West Beirut), extinguishing bonfires on the church steps before meetings, bricks and air pellets through windows during worship and numerous stolen cars / smashed windows and scratched paintwork. Trinity folk also endured services without heat, light and water, the theft of anything that wasn’t screwed down and physical and verbal abuse day and night.

On the joyous side Roger prayed for church growth and within the year we welcomed the birth of three baby boys, Michael, Luke and Andrew, not exactly what Roger had in mind. We celebrated the signing of the Covenant, the great support of various churches and the joy of seeing God answer our prayers in the raising of over a Quarter of a Million Pounds to pay for a new multipurpose extension to the building.

Architects, Comtechsa, oversaw the building project and 24 hour a day security, this necessary after an attempt to steal the new fencing on the evening it was delivered. Local children were organised to break in to the old building and pass out the fence railings through a hole in the door, their reward was 50 pence per railing. The alarm was raised and Trinity folk spent the night transferring the railings across Huyton to a garage for storage. When erected the railings had to be welded together!

Building work beginning on the church

Amidst all the building and planning the church grew. Mums and Tots was very successful, a weekly second hand clothes sale proved very popular and the local councillor held his surgery on the doorstep of the church, in between painting over the graffiti on the door seven times, links with the local community began.

Preparation for the work of ‘The Church’ included an audit of the local people and facilities done in 1991. The findings were separated into three groups
1) Groups operating in and around the area
2) Community Survey
3) Congregational Survey
The audit made very clear that there was great need for work amongst the young and the elderly. From these findings grew the Luncheon club for the elderly on Mondays and Fridays and the After Schools Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Within the church changes were becoming noticeable. Annie Colbert was a long time member of Trinity and had originally been doubtful as to the success of a merger with the Anglicans. However, at the church Annual General Meeting in 1993 she stood to have her say. At only four feet ten inches tall and almost ninety years of age she praised the work of the church and apologised to God and congregation for her negative thoughts of the past few years, a remarkable act of courage.

On 24th March 1993 Trinity prepared a great celebration for the visit of several very special guests. Trinity welcomed Rev. Dr. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool, Michael Henshall, Bishop of Warrington, Gerald Tedcastle, Circuit Superintendent, and many other visiting clergy. Afterwards the Archbishop wrote “I found it thrilling to be able to see such a vibrant work growing in such a difficult area”.

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey visiting Trinity during the building work

Photographs taken confirm the unfinished building and the Bishops arriving on the wrong side of the building site, unable to get in. They eventually found the entrance and together with several dignitaries ‘walked the plank’ into Trinity to the sound of “Oh when the saints go marching in”. Trinity church was likened to the QE2 (a recent visitor to the River Mersey), being “turned about” with the help of many small tug boats.

At the end of 1993 we said ‘goodbye’ to Roger and welcomed Captain Kelvin Bolton of Church Army as our community evangelist, the position being funded jointly by the Anglicans and Methodists. The building was finished and the potential endless. Many groups were already hard at work, Mums and Tots, luncheon club, after schools club (over 50 children aged 8 to 11), Thursday drop in and Bible Study groups. Kelvin was keen to reach out into the community with the Good News of Jesus in such a way that they would accept Him for themselves and their lives be changed forever. We also welcomed a new Methodist Minister, Rev. David Nellist.

The work of the Scouting movement at Trinity was recognised in the awards made to several leaders including ‘The Silver Acorn’ to Harold Campbell and the ‘Gwendore trophy’ for outstanding service to Eric Roberts.

The work grew, education programmes with Knowsley Community College setting up Learning in Neighbourhood Centres and the After Schools club created opportunities to make lasting relationships with the local community. Sadly this did not reflect in the numbers coming to faith. People came and went, but the vision of Trinity remained the same.

God has called Trinity Church………
“To uphold Jesus as Lord, united in worship and in our prayers. We are to develop our relationship with God through prayer and study.
That through our relationships of honesty and openness we may provide a place where people can discover and share together and feel valued.
In order to reach out into our community with the Good News, of healing, of acceptance and of valuing others.
That we may also be prepared in our mission to address real issues and problems which affect not only our community but also the wider world.
We believe that in fulfilling this vision we may see the Kingdom of God being extended in every way
“Trinity’s Growing and Going in Christ’s Love”

Kelvin recalls the difficulties of making one church from two denominations. Ecumenical work looks good on paper but in practice can stretch the resources of ‘grace’ amongst the people. Labels are easy to apply, “that’s Anglican” or “that’s Methodist”, but difficult to lose. Every church encounters problems when looking at the idea of change and new worship style versus traditional. Trinity also had a generation gap to cope with.

God was faithful throughout and the people learned to give and take with great courage. Change is a risky business, on one occasion the church council took a risk, allowing a children’s party to be held in church for a family unconnected to the fellowship, it backfired and left Trinity with the bill for repairs. The church council, disappointed, took a big breath and resolved to carry on.

In September 1996 Trinity said goodbye to Kelvin as he left to commence training for Anglican ordination.

Early in 1997 saw the appointment of Captain Philip Clark of Church Army to the post. From early on in the project the fellowship was aware that what Trinity needed was a Minister of our own. Not an Anglican or a Methodist but a ‘Trinity Person’. In 1998, after much work by Rev. Pearson and Rev. Nellist, Philip Clark was appointed as the minister at Trinity with a five year contract that gives the church a much greater feeling of security. A new era had begun, we retain close links with our two ordained Ministers but Philip has overall responsibility for the people of Trinity.

In the summer of 1998 Trinity celebrated the life of its most artistically talented member, Mrs Beryl Triggle. Having overcome eye cancer as a child, resulting in the removal of one eye, she went on to write Christian poetry for many years, having a poem published just months before here death from long term heart disease. It is thanks to Beryl that Trinity is so beautifully decorated with applique banners which she designed and made over the past ten years with such love. Her banners and poetry are a lasting tribute to her love of the Lord Jesus.

Trinity, by Beryl Triggle, 1942 to 1998
She was battle scarred and weary,
How she’d suffered in the fight,
As she limped along the skyline,
She looked a tragic sight.
Her crew were slowly fading,
But still prepared to serve,
With the Captain at the helm,
They wouldn’t lose their nerve.
Then their prayers were quietly answered,
They were joined by friendly crew,
And the weary vessel rested,
While new breath within her grew.
Then repairs were undertaken,
And she sparkled in the sun,
She set sail for harbour,
When all the work was done.
Her ensigns flying proudly,
As she sailed into sight,
Came the mighty Trinity!
Like a phoenix taking flight.