Our History

All the information on this page was taken from a booklet that was prepared as a permanent record of the building of the new Trinity following the fire.  A copy of this booklet can be obtained by contacting the church office.

It was decided in 1836 that a church should be built in Clearfield.  Although the exact date of completion is uncertain, it was recorded that the Quarterly Conference was held in the newly completed structure on October 5, 1839.  The church, referred to as the “Meeting House,” was located on Cherry Street in the present CNB Bank parking lot.  There was no regular custodian.  All wood cutting, sweeping, lighting and snuffing of candles was voluntary work.  There were two entrances.  The door near the alley was for the men, and the other side was for the women.  The men and women always sat separately in all the services; a custom adhered to until about 1858.  In later years it was used as a duplex apartment and in the 1920s and 1930s as a meat market.  1
At the Quarterly Conference held on June 5, 1867, it was “Resolved that the trustees of the church at Clearfield be authorized to proceed to the erection of the church at once.”  The building of a new church lasted through 1867 and 1868 with the dedication date being set for November 15, 1868.  The total interior of the church was not officially completed until December 31, 1870.  2
By 1902, the Trinity congregation had increased considerably.  It was then that there was much talk of building a new, larger, more modern church.  After revising plans, much bidding, and rebidding, Ruben H. Thompson was awarded the bid for $46,000.  The trustees bought the new corner lot from A. R. Powell for $11,500 on April 18, 1904.  The third floor of the Opera House was secured and rented for services.  The old church was torn down and excavation of the new church began in April 1904.  3
In 1906, the new Trinity was completed.  The new sanctuary was slightly larger than the current sanctuary with 136 pews and enough seating for 650 people.  A large Möller pipe organ was in the same location as the current organ; it cost $4,000.  This is a low figure compared to the current Austin organ which cost $55,000 in 1972.  The beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows were purchased at the conclusion of the World’s Fair Exposition held at St. Louis in 1905.  During an insurance appraisal of the church in 1955, the stained glass windows were valued at $65,000, which was $19,000 more than the original bid price of $46,000 for the whole building in 1904.  The total cost of the 1904-06 church was $78,181.In 1927 the Lee Trinity Parish Hall Building was started.  The cornerstone was laid October 23, 1927 and was dedicated April 15, 1928.  The Parish House cost $63,972 to complete.  4
At 2 a.m. on December 21, 1968 a passerby saw a horrifying red glow coming from inside Trinity’s walls.  The whole sky over downtown Clearfield was boiling up with smoke.  Trinity was engulfed in such an inferno that no amount of water or manpower could save her.  At the height of the raging fire, with the bell tower acting as a natural flue, the heat of the flames touched off the mechanism of the tower chimes.  For a brief, eerie farewell, the chimes rang out, “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.”  The firemen were able to put out the fire, and the Parish House and parsonage were saved with minimum damage.  5
Saturday afternoon, December 22, members of the church brought buckets and mops, and with a big assist from the local Army Reserve Engineers, the Parish House was thoroughly cleaned.  It was many days after the fire before the smoldering mass could be extensively examined, and many weeks before the debris could be removed.  Due to the bitter cold weather and the immense amount of water poured onto the fire, the charred ruins became frozen and remained frozen until the next spring.Before the flames died down, members of Trinity were planning their new church.  The beautiful stone walls remained although some were badly damaged, and the tower was still standing–a pillar of strength against the winter sky.  6 7


Monday, December 23, 1968 was the beginning of many meetings.  At that time it was decided to use the Parish House for church services and Sunday School.  Church life went on for over three years in the cramped quarters.Countless hours were spent with committees and sub-committees who researched, planned, and selected everything that would go into the building and equipping of the new Trinity United Methodist Church.March 5, 1972 was “Banner Day.”  Our church had reached completion!The sanctuary and narthex are serene and elegant.  The education building is appealing in its brightness and design.  The lovely little chapel is quiet and inviting.  The always-handsome exterior stands with its magnificent faceted glass windows and beautiful stonework. Its indestructible tower, topped by a splendid silver spire reaching to heaven, is illuminated at night—a real beacon of hope to all who see it.  The chimes ring out once more with beautiful hymns and joyous sound.  8910