In 1883, thirteen people began meeting in a class organized by the Rev. George Holmes on Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way. In 1885 Trinity's worship services were conducted in the Odd Fellows Hall at Addison and Shattuck, our temporary home until our first building was built at Allston and Fulton Way. By 1905 Trinity had over 500 congregants in worship, so Trinity purchased the Presbyterian Church at the corner of Ellsworth and Allston Way, which became home for 24 years.
In the early 1920s, the University of California condemned and purchased Trinity's property, now the site of Edwards Field. The church had previously secured our present location at Dana and Bancroft to fulfill our mission to serve the University community more effectively.
By 1928, the congregation, now much expanded (600+), held its first worship service in the current location. The next 40 years were good years for Trinity: a large congregation, robust programs, and strong civic engagement. This was the heyday of what we now call "American mainline protestant" religion.
By the early 1950s, Trinity's student ministry programs had grown to such an extent that Trinity launched the Wesley Foundation of Berkeley and provided them the site of what is now Wesley House, a student housing facility.
The 1960s and 1970s were tumultuous for Trinity, as they were for the larger culture. Between 1968 and 1972, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church approved and completed a merger to form the United Methodist Church in 1972. By the mid-1970s, Trinity's congregation dwindled enough that the sanctuary building was abandoned, and services moved to the Dana Street Chapel building, where we still worship today.
Over the years we have hosted a number of nonprofits we admire that directly improve the quality of life of our fellow East Bay residents: the Berkeley Free Clinic, Maybeck High School, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, MESA, and SquashDrive.
The Berkeley Free Clinic, which began providing mobile health care service in 1968, came to us looking for a place to set down roots and has been on our campus ever since.
1n 1982, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant was formed by Trinity and a number of ecumenical partners and began offering immigration support and law assistance to refugees from Central America at Trinity. It has expanded its mission to offer support and legal services to refugees from all over the world.
Our friends at the Multicultural Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) connect farming leaders from around the world who want to share knowledge with each other, working to revive community food systems in our region and the rest of the world.
SquashDrive, which began using office, classroom, and meeting space in 2014, offers afterschool enrichment program for underserved Bay Area youth, providing individualized educational support, squash instruction, and character development to middle and high schoolers.
Read more about these folks, and all our neighbors in mission..