Bethlehem Press

Sunday, September 24, 2017
Press photo by Al ReckerAt the closing service of Trinity United Church of Christ, Coplay, Aug. 6, Pastor Roni Caciolo shakes hands with Grace Balliet, who served as church secretary. Church elders in the photo, from left, are Alice Geider, Jim Ebert, Ruth Thomson, Pat Kern, Dale Donovan and Carol Schleder. Press photo by Al ReckerAt the closing service of Trinity United Church of Christ, Coplay, Aug. 6, Pastor Roni Caciolo shakes hands with Grace Balliet, who served as church secretary. Church elders in the photo, from left, are Alice Geider, Jim Ebert, Ruth Thomson, Pat Kern, Dale Donovan and Carol Schleder.

Congregation gathers to share Trinity memories

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

The final service at Trinity United Church of Christ, Coplay, Aug. 6 had the congregation in the pews for two hours, much longer than usual.

Emotions swept over the families present. Men and women clung to every Scripture read and each hymn sung. They were in no hurry to leave, realizing it was the final chapter in the church’s 146 years of serving its members and the community.

On leaving the church for the final time, there were many teary-eyed persons; voices crackling were met with warm embraces on the realization Trinity UCC has closed its doors forever.

There was a gathering that followed in the fellowship hall for light refreshments and conversation.

The congregation has seen the end coming for quite some time. A dwindling membership and mounting bills made it difficult to keep the church afloat.

Interim Pastor Roni Caciolo, who has held the reins for the last two years, said everything possible was done to avoid the closing.

“We were having 15, 17 in church on Sundays lately,” she said.

On Sunday, there was a surge in attendance. Sixty-three people were present.

Organized in 1871 with 35 members, Trinity UCC had more than 400 members in 1969.

Jim Ebert, Trinity UCC elder, said, “It’s truly a sad day for Trinity and Coplay.”

“This church will be missed. I will miss the music and the people,” Dale Donovan, another elder, added.

“I hope another church family will buy Trinity,” elder Ruth Thomson said, “and people can worship in it again.”