City church rings in 150

Trinity Episcopal Church, 844 W. Fourth St., is celebrating its 150th anniversary throughout the year with outdoor services, choir reunions and a special lunch.

During its 10 a.m. service this Sunday, there will be a choir reunion and a visit from Bishop Audrey Scanlan, of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. This will be a time where former members of the choir can come together to sing, said Rev. Ken Wagner-Pizza, pastor of the church since 2008.

The church will hold its fifth annual outdoor service with Christ Episcopal Church at 11 a.m. on May 22 at Way’s Garden.

Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs and the church will provide programs and the components for communion, Wagner-Pizza said. A special collection will be held to help refurbish the garden.

The annual strawberry festival is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on June 12.

On July 2 will be a food sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and tours of the church from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal was consecrated in 1876 and has been a major part in many of its congregants’ lives.

Laurie Maynard, 94, of Williamsport, has been attending the church his entire life and has family history with the church, he said.

His great-grandfather was Judge John Wesley Maynard, who donated a set of nine Westminster chimes to the church in the 19th century, according to the church’s website.

Maynard and his family continued to attend the church throughout the years, he said. He helped with the annual Strawberry Festival and lasagna dinners, taught Sunday school, served on multiple committees and sang in the choir for 73 years.

“I’m proud of my heritage,” he said. ” I love the church and its many functions.”

The family history with the church continues with his great-grandson being the seventh generation in his family to be baptized there, he said.

Bill Nichols Sr., 87, of Williamsport, was married at the church in 1951 and has been a member since 1957. His late wife, Pat, had grown up in the church so when the couple returned to the city they got involved with the choir and taught Sunday school, he said.

Though he has not sang with the choir in seven years, the memories he has singing are some of his fondest, he said. He sang solos during Christmas Eve and Good Friday each year.

Now, as a spectator, he still enjoys the music during Sunday services, he said.

Christy Lassiter, of Montoursville, is a fourth-generation member who has been involved in the church her entire life. She was married in the church, sang in the choir and participated on the search committee for Wagner-Pizza, she said.

Over the decades she has seen the church become less formal and how women were given more privileges, such as singing with the men in the choir, she said. She also has greatly appreciated the clergy and the friends she has made.

She now is a part of the Church Ladies, a women’s group that meets to have dinner, do crafts and works to organize different events, she said. The group is making strawberry tote bags that will be on sale at the strawberry festival.

Growing up in the church she still finds the architecture of the building to be astounding, said Lassiter.

“The beauty of the church is remarkable,” she said. “I am always very proud when I take people in for the first time.”

The pastor will renew wedding vows and celebrate those who were married at the church at both 8 and 10 a.m. services on Sept. 8. There will be wedding cake and a drawing for couples to win a dinner date basket at 11:30 a.m.

The second choir reunion will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 6.

After the service, the congregation is invited to a banquet lunch at the Genetti Hotel, 200 W. Fourth St., where they, members from other Episcopal churches and previous clergy are invited to reflect upon the history of the church, Wagner-Piazza said. There will be a slideshow and video interviews will be presented as well.

A key trinket will be given to each attendee.