The first Episcopal services were conducted in Covington on May 8, 1842.
These services were conducted by Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith, the
first Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky. The tiny congregation
met in a small frame building at the corner of 5th and Madison Avenue.
At a meeting held on November 24, 1842, the congregation voted to establish
a parish under the name of Trinity Church. At the same meeting the following
gentlemen were appointed to the vestry: John K. McNickle, Charles A.
Withers, George M. Southgate, John W. Stevenson, J.W. Venavle, J.L.
Newby, Jackson Sparrow, J.W. Clayton and Thomas Bird. The new congregation
was accepted by the diocese on May 11, 1843.
first pastor of Trinity was the Reverend Green Moore. Under Reverend
Moore’s guidance, the vestry purchased a lot on Madison Avenue
as a site for a new church building. The cornerstone for the new building
was set into place on June 24, 1843 and the first services were conducted
in the structure on June 30, 1844. In the spring of 1844, Reverend Moore
also began to care for the Church of St. Paul in neighboring Newport,
the late 1850s, the congregation had outgrown their original structure
on Madison Avenue. In 1859, additional lots adjoining the church property
were purchased and plans for a new brick church were drawn. The new
edifice went up quickly and was consecrated by Bishop Smith on March
Trinity expanded its mission in 1869 by establishing two mission congregations.
One of these missions was located in Milldale (present day Latonia neighborhood).
A mission chapel was erected in the community on a lot donated by Mr.
George W. Jones. The chapel was ready for occupancy on February 13,
1870. Trinity Church also allocated $400 for Mission work in the neighboring
City of Ludlow in 1869. The mission was called the Chapel of the Redeemer.
Services were held in private residences, and later in the First Baptist
Church, which was rented for that purpose.
The facilities of Trinity Church continued to be improved. In 1886,
architect Louis A. Picket began designing an addition to the church
building. This guild hall was completed in November 1886. Picket also
designed a new façade for the church on the Madison Avenue side
of the building. On Thanksgiving Day 1888 the new façade, featuring
a 103’ bell tower with 10 chimes and a round baptistry, was dedicated.
The bells ranged in size from one ton to 200 lbs with the four largest
dedicated to the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The bell
tower was a gift of John W. Baker and the baptistry a gift of Howell
In 1890, the vestry of Trinity purchased a lot at the corner of 18th
and Scott Streets in Covington for the creation of a new mission congregation
called St. John. The first services were conducted in the new St. John
Mission building on December 26, 1890. The mission church was decorated
primarily with gifts from Christ Church in Cincinnati including nine
double art glass windows, a triple art glass window and 80 pews. Trinity
lost 85 members to begin the new congregation. St. John Mission became
an official parish separate from Trinity on January 30, 1894.
In 1921, the vestry approved the purchase of a home at 316 Garrard Street
In Covington to be used as a rectory. Ten months later, however, the
home was sold and a new rectory was purchased on Beechwood Road in suburban
Fort Mitchell. The 1920s also witnessed the merger of Trinity and its
former Mission St. John Episcopal at 18th and Madison Avenues. The merger
became official on March 15, 1925. The St. John property was eventually
sold to the Salvation Army.
In 1903, the members of Trinity established a 16 department industrial
school. The departments included: Drawing, water colors, basketry, Mount
Mellick, bead work, crocheting, singing, piano, embroidery, physical
culture, elocution, cooking, burnt wood, carpentry, wood carving and
Church expanded its facilities and programs throughout the first half
of the Twentieth Century. By the post-World War II era, the congregation
was facing some difficult decisions. Many of the members had left Covington
for the suburban communities of Kenton County. Several other Protestant
congregations had already decided to abandon their Covington locations
and rebuild their churches in the suburbs. The members of Trinity, however,
took another course. The vestry decided to remain at their Madison Avenue
location and to try and make a difference in the ever changing urban
environment. In order to house the growing number of programs sponsored
by the congregation, a large addition was constructed to the church
facilities between 1959 and 1962. This modern brick structure contained
offices for the clergy, a library, classrooms and a memorial room dedicated
to the Girl’s Friendly Society. The interior of the church was
extensively restored and parking facilities were added. In 1982, the
church complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places
in recognition of its architectural and community significance.
Trinity’s location in the urban region of Kenton County has offered
many opportunities for social ministries and outreach. In 1956, the
congregation established the Northern Kentucky Mental Health Association.
The congregation also was responsible for the creation of the Northern
Kentucky Senior Citizens Center in 1970. The seniors group met in the
church facilities for a number of years. In the following year, the
congregation participated in the creation of the Covington Community
In the year 2002, Trinity Church recorded 361 communicants, 11 baptisms,
9 confirmations, 13 marriages and 9 funerals.
George F. Roth, A History of Trinity Episcopal Church in Covington
(1991) Published by the Parish; Kentucky Times-Star, August 5, 1954,
p. 12A; On This Foundation …Trinity Episcopal Church, Loyalty
Sunday, December 3, 1967; Annals of Trinity Episcopal Parish, Covington,
Kentucky 1842-1917; Paul A. Tenkotte, A Heritage of Art and Faith: Downtown
Covington Churches (Covington: Kenton County Historical Society) 1986,
pp. 51-56; 2002 Annual Report, Trinity Episcopal Church, Covington,