On August 17, 1834, six years after the City of Columbus was established, a group met in the home of Dr. Edwin Louis de Graffenried, at the southeast corner of what is now First Avenue and Twelfth Street, and organized an Episcopal church. The founders of the Parish had no rector, no bishop and no building; but they persevered, and in December, 1834, The Georgia General Assembly enacted the articles of the Columbus Episcopal Church; and for the first time, the name “Trinity” appears in the historic record. Trinity was Georgia’s fifth Episcopal Church.

In 1834, the founders of Columbus Episcopal Church also purchased a lot for its church on the west side of First Avenue , directly across from the present Trinity site. Construction of the church was described as sporadic, with delays due to financial considerations as well as the threat of Indian warfare near the frontier town of Columbus. The building was finally completed in 1837, and Trinity’s first “Divine Service” was held on June 4th of that year.

From the time of its founding and until the completion of its first church building, services were held at the deGraffenried house, at the neighboring Presbyterian house of worship, and at the “Female Academy.” The location of the services was a problem, but not as much as was the lack of a permanent minister. Two church leaders quit, frustrated by the “unorganized state of the congregation,” according to Lynn Willoughby’s book, A Power For Good, The History of Trinity Parish; and it was not until 1837 that the Rev. William D. Cairns became Trinity’s first Rector and brought stability to the Parish.

The cornerstone of the present Trinity Episcopal Church was laid in 1890, and Trinity moved into its new building on August 2, 1891. The formal dedication of the church had to await the consecration of a new bishop, so the long-awaited consecration service did not occur until May 22, 1892. It is of interest that only three symbols from the original church have survived the ages and are in the present church: The Hyslop bell, a 900 pound bell given by New York merchant Robert Hyslop in 1837; marble memorial tablets honoring Rectors Cairns and Hawks; and the altar cross, dating to 1879.


The church added a parish house in 1925-26, and it was subsequently expanded in 1965. The most recent and last addition to the Trinity complex was the construction of a parish hall and kitchen in 1991.

Trinity Episcopal Church © 2013