Central Trinity Church started in 1865. It was first known as South Street Methodist Episcopal Church with Rev. Windsor as the first minister. It had been created as a mission outreach by Second Street Methodist Episcopal Church, (presently known as Grace United Methodist Church). Sunday school was conducted on Sunday afternoons at the corner of Sixth and South Streets. In 1868 they moved to a new chapel at the corner of Seventh and South Streets. In the original 1797 plan for Zanesville made by John McIntire and Jonathan Zane, South and Seventh Streets was the southeast corner of their plat. Today the chapel building remains part of the educational wing.
As the congregation grew a new church sanctuary was added in 1888. It was remodeled in 1905 when electric lights replaced the gas lights. The church was renamed as Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1913. A house next to the church became the church parsonage in 1919. In 1932 during the depression, the men of the church and members of the community excavated a basement area beneath the sanctuary. The ladies of the church provided a soup kitchen for the workers. When the city took Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church’s building in 1940 to extend Shinnick Street, Central welcomed Trinity to join their ministry. The new name became Central Trinity Methodist. Trinity M.E. church had been founded even earlier than Central in 1841.
Central installed a pipe organ in 1890 that was pumped by hand. In 1912 the pump was improved to run by a water turbine and later by an electric motor. In 1945 the church was looking for a new organ. The organ factories were closed because of WW II. The church installed a used E. M. Skinner pipe organ that was available from a home in Parkersburg, W.V. This Skinner organ had been built about 1924 in Boston, MA.
After much study and prayer, the congregation voted in 1954 for the church to remain downtown where it had been planted. This commitment led to a major remodeling of the facilities plus building an educational wing as well as a new Seventh Street entrance featuring a stone carving of “the Resurrected Christ”. They initiated a “Face-To-Face” campaign with each member asking for a 150-week pledge to fund the project. After being closed for 54 weeks of construction, the church sanctuary was rededicated on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1958. During the construction period the church services were held in the Liberty Theater on South Fifth Street. The church was renamed Central Trinity United Methodist Church in 1968 after the Methodist Church united nationally with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1978 a 2nd floor was added to the educational wing and the courtyard was covered to form a gymnasium area.
1982 found C.T. organizing the local United Methodist Churches into a cluster that sponsored yearly community Lenten worship services. In 1983 C.T. and neighboring Union Baptist Church began an annual joint Thanksgiving service tradition. In 1996 C.T. mounted a capital improvement project titled “Parade of Progress” which included many “points of Light” that touched most of the church ministries. The church began developing the city block from South to Main Streets as an example of being a good downtown citizen. Old dangerous buildings were removed and new businesses were built on church property to be used for both business and church activity. The parking area was developed as a Church Square Parking Plaza. Church improvements included: sound system, choir loft, choir robes as well as remodeling the church offices and restrooms. A new building entrance was created with portico and lighted steeple supported by 12 columns representing the Twelve Apostles. A welcome Center was created. An elevator was added which made the entire building handicap accessible. This project also included a “mission tithe” that funded building a church in Africa. The final part of the project was completed in 1997 when the pipe organ was rebuilt with numerous improvements. The organ grew to 26 ranks including 1218 pipes and 5 digital voices.
The 21st Century found Central Trinity seeking to revitalize its ministry. A new Yamaha grand piano was added to the worship area in 2007. A 3-year “Parade of Progress” campaign developed in 2014 to refresh and improve both the outside and interior of the church facilities as well as the worship area. An outdoor green space was added. The church held a 150th Anniversary Celebration September 13, 2015. Dr. Dennis Miller, Foothills District Superintendent, was guest speaker. The celebration continued with many special events throughout the year and concluded with a Homecoming Celebration September 11, 2016. Dr. Brian Law was the speaker. Both Dennis and Brian are United Methodist pastors who entered the ministry from C.T. This celebration encouraged each church member to make their own “Personal 150 Journey” as to where God is leading our church in the future. C.T. began exploring adding an additional Modern Worship Service. An Associate Pastor position was added to the staff.
A Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) was offered by the West Ohio Conference as an opportunity to “Jumpstart a New Lifecycle” for C.T. Several Town Hall meetings were held with the congregation discussing this opportunity. A congregational meeting was held May 20, 2018 and voted by 84% to accept and implement the recommendations from the MCCI. During this process the church concentrated new ministry leadership skills training, “undercover worshippers” provided feedback by visiting worship, and a thorough self-study was completed. The church refreshed all the public spaces in the building with an “eye” toward visitors. A modern worship service was offered in addition to the traditional service. Both worship services became offered online through enhanced website and Facebook technology. This was a tremendous blessing to the church family and community when people were isolated at home during the COVID19 pandemic of 2020-2021. The church continues to be creative as to how it communicates with its membership and the community. The church continues to reach out into the community with service projects. Recent partnerships have been developed with Eastside Ministry and Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio.
Central Trinity provides both Modern Worship and Traditional Worship services in a Historic Setting. Members love to participate in many service opportunities. Members are encouraged to participate in: Sunday school classes, Bible study, youth groups, vacation Bible school, Habitat for Humanity, summer mission project, choirs for all ages (Children, Wesleyan, Chancel, Carillon Bells), cantata with orchestra, youth musical, Handbell Festival, special services for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Lent & Easter, as well as the Civic Chorus presentation of Handel’s Messiah. There are numerous leadership opportunities as teacher, prayer warrior, tutor, greeter, usher, and church officer. All members are welcome to be members of the church committees. Piano, organ and voice lessons are offered with a music conservatory. The church family enjoys hosting traveling choirs. The church works to help address “Neighbors in Need” through cooperation with Eastside Ministries, the Salvation Army, Christ’s Table, First UMC Homeless Shelter, Lifebridge Healing Ministries and neighboring churches.
Our Mission Statement: “Make New Friends and Disciples for Jesus Christ”
Our Invitational Statement: “Come as Yourself, Grow in Faith, Serve with Love”