Looks like it belongs in the English countryside, but the historic Holy Trinity Church in Covina is exactly where it should be, thriving in today’s Southern California.
In 1910 the current church building was constructed on the basis of plans Fr. Alfred Fletcher sketched country churches during a visit to England. The priest sent his sketches to Arthur Benton, architect of the Mission Inn in Riverside and the San Gabriel Valley Mission Playhouse. The result is a Gothic carpenter church, said Fr. Steve De Muth, pastor and rector. Its striking exterior is matched by a dark wood interior, with vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.
The building is a church that houses around 120 members who are engaged in traditional worship and progressive values.
“Our doors are open to all who are in need of God’s love and restoration,” said De Muth, 57. “We continue to learn to take advantage of the many blessings we have received and share them with the wider community. “
Everyone is welcome to attend her annual Advent lessons and song service at 4:00 p.m. on December 19 at 100 N. Third Ave., Covina.
The parish choir and guest musicians will present music by Mealor, Howells, Lauridsen and Poston as well as Advent antiphons and traditional songs. The service ends with a Christmas painting featuring children from the Diocese and from Holy Trinity Church. The Men’s Club hosts a free after-service spaghetti dinner.
Harry Thomas, 70, from La Verne, made Holy Trinity his church five years ago.
“The church is the people, and Holy Trinity is like a big family,” he said. “People come together and work for the overall benefit. Holy Trinity seems to be what churches should be: a warm and welcoming place in community and doing what churches should be doing everywhere. It gives us great pride to be the oldest church in Covina and to have such a beautiful building.
There is something so special to adore about this space, said Teresa Lear, 66, of West Covina.
“There are times when I have this tangible feeling that the walls, ceilings and wooden benches have absorbed and hold back the prayers and pleas of so many devotees over the years that it feels like a place really. blessed and holy. “
De Muth, who first served at Holy Trinity in 2013, is an energetic and hardworking leader who is known to sing his sermons, with music being a way to experience the divine.
“I am blessed,” he said. “I can share some of the ups and downs of life with people, accompany them, listen to their stories, and ask for God’s blessing on them. I love that our church reflects the demographics of the larger community. We are richly diverse, multicultural and multilingual.
A spiritual force in the community, Holy Trinity celebrates special days to bless everyone from first responders to veterans and allies, to pets. They join their Spanish-speaking brothers in cultural celebrations such as La Posada, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 and Dia de los Muertos.
Holy Trinity also cares for the hungry and homeless, in partnership with ACTION Food Pantry, a multi-faith food bank in Covina. Members volunteer at community events such as the Covina Wine March and most recently the Covina Christmas Parade.
Irene Parker, from Covina, said the church is small enough to get to know people easily and large enough to have interesting and diverse programs.
Lear said De Muth, who lives in Covina with her husband Francisco and three chihuahuas, is leading by example. Among other commitments, he sits on the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless, the Covina Valley Compassion Council and Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity. It is a walking encyclopedia of Christian history and leads lively discussions about books.
“Fr. Steve remains to me a living example of what a good relationship with God can be,” said Lear. “It gives me hope that I can do it too.”
Kathy Slimak, 74, from Covina, joined Holy Trinity in 1962, when she was 12. She said De Muth makes everyone he meets feel special.
“He’s a big-hearted kid, and he’s able to laugh at himself and with others,” Slimak said. “He gives spiritual guidance and education to everyone. I am proud to belong to the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity and will remain a member all my life.
Nancy Pennell (“I’m north of 70”) lives in West Covina and grew up in Covina.
“To me, the church is not only architecturally beautiful, but has a spiritual presence that draws me in an intimate sense of reverence,” said Pennell. “The most important part of the church are its members; welcoming and tolerant people.
Anne Michaelson’s parents helped found St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in West Covina in the early 1950s. The West Covina resident attended St. Martha’s until it closed in 2013. At Holy Trinity, Michaelson supports the church’s music ministry, sits on its board, or sacristy, and helps inaugurate Sundays.
“I like the openness and welcome of our congregation,” she said. “I love music, the organ, the choir, all that! We’re small, so we know everyone, but we have enough people to raise awareness in our community. Bro. Steve emphasizes not only belief, but the action of God’s love. Inclusiveness and love for Christ is an integral part of him.
Dorinda Linder of Chino Hills began attending church services at Holy Trinity Church in the mid to late 1960s.
“The physical aspect of the church enriches my faith. How not to enter this church and not feel the presence of God in his house? Every time I walk into Holy Trinity Church I know in my soul that God is with me.
The pandemic continues to challenge the church.
“About 40 percent of our people still worship with us online or have developed habits that don’t include Sunday morning worship,” De Muth said.
It helps those who are not technically savvy and those who have suffered loss and are in mourning.
“I have buried members of the church and the wider community, given the last rites via Facetime on tablets to those who have passed away at the San Dimas hospital, and I continue to do my best to support the professionals in the hospital. overworked and underpaid health. “
This year, De Muth added another historic element to the church, a red and blue stone cart that church members used over 100 years ago to dig stones from the riverbed. He had learned that the Holy Trinity congregation had also helped transport stones to build the first iteration of the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, now on Workman Avenue.
“The memory of our generosity and helpfulness was over 100 years old when I heard of it,” said De Muth. “I only knew that we had hauled the stones for our church and our steeple in a horse cart from the bed of the San Gabriel River, but now I had the whole story. For me, the stone cart is a symbol of our two greatest loves, our love for God and our love for our neighbor. These are the two greatest commandments and a particularly fitting symbol in these times of division and incivility. “
For more information call 626-967-3939 or email Holytrinitycovina@yahoo.com. HolyTrinityCovina.com