Trinity Church Upgrades its Hub

Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of North Chester Road and College Avenue.

Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of North Chester Road and College Avenue.

How many meals must have been served in Parish Hall of Swarthmore’s venerable Trinity Episcopal Church since its 1932 opening, beneath the sanctuary at Chester Road and College Avenue? How many cooks and servers have bustled through Trinity’s kitchen to serve them?

Youth prepare meals in Trinity's kitchen.

Youth prepare meals in Trinity’s kitchen.

All that food and fellowship has taken its toll, congregation member Dick Koelle said recently. “Our kitchen and Parish Hall are tired and have some difficult issues. It’s a much used place.” Koelle is serving as project architect on a renovation of the two rooms, which began this week and will be completed in July. The work is made possible through the bequest of longtime Trinity member Jim Gassaway, and enabled by pro bono contributions of professional services.

The last renovation was at least 35 years ago, Koelle estimated, and it shows. “The overhead lights are in various stages of death; the suspended ceiling tiles are sagging.” But things will soon be looking brighter, as the lights will be swapped for high efficiency fixtures, and ceilings will be replaced in both the kitchen and Parish Hall. Kitchen cabinets will be refinished or replaced; walls repainted throughout, and new seamless resin flooring. In addition, a new furniture storage room will allow for better use of space.

Trinity members convened more recently for a meal in Parish Hall. Photo by Megan Slootmaker.

Trinity members convened more recently for a meal in Parish Hall. Photo by Megan Slootmaker.

The rooms, which serve not only in the parish life of the Trinity members, but also as the location of Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery, and as the site of community meetings and private functions. One objective is to attract more meetings and parties into the hall, which is below the sanctuary at Trinity.

One attractive offering to those outside users will be a new audio/visual system in Parish Hall, incorporating new speakers, amplifier and mixer. AV presentations will be enhanced by the installation of a motorized screen and projector mounted on the ceiling and “enclosed against the threats posed by children in TCDN, which uses the same room,” Koelle said.

Red Cross volunteers served coffee to a full house during a community holiday meal in Trinity’s Parish Hall in 1942 or 1943. Photo courtesy of Putty Willetts.

Red Cross volunteers served coffee to a full house during a community holiday meal in Trinity’s Parish Hall in 1942 or 1943. Photo courtesy of Putty Willetts.

Trinity will welcome visitors at worship and events throughout the warmer months, with the new hub for the congregation and community activity opening in midsummer.

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