History of TUMC

trinitybldgTrinity church was planted through the ministry of William “Billy” Cravens, an enthusiastic Methodist Lay Preacher. Billy was a stonemason by trade who came to Lexington in 1793 from Rockingham to rebuild the burned Liberty Hall Academy on Mulberry Hill. Billy organized our first class meeting by 1794 at the home of his friend, John Burgess. The society, which was formed from that early beginning, bought a piece of land on what is now Randolph Street and built a small frame church for worship. This soon proved inadequate, and it was replaced by a brick structure on the same site.
Local preachers and strong laymen continued the work until the formation of the Lexington Circuit in 1832. In 1847, a division occurred over whether to belong to the Baltimore or Virginia Conference, and a large part of the congregation moved to a location on Jefferson Street. The remaining members met in the Rockbridge County Court House for seven years. This separation eventually paved the way for greater unity. By 1854, the church on Jefferson Street had become a station with preachers supplied from the Baltimore Conference, while the other group continued as part of a circuit supplied from the Virginia Conference. The two groups were reunited in 1864 to form a congregation of about 100 members, and they worshipped in the Jefferson Street church.
The present location on Main Street was acquired in 1889. The cornerstone of the first church on this site was laid in 1890. On October 8, 1894, the church (costing $16,000) was dedicated by Bishop W. W. Duncan. The Reverend Forest J. Prettyman was the pastor at the time, and the congregation numbered about 300.
The growth of the congregation and the attendance of Virginia Military Institute cadets and Washington and Lee University students made a larger building imperative after only 35 years. Accordingly, the present structure (costing approximately $120,000) was built during the pastorate of the Reverend T. M. Swann in 1926. The debt on this building proved a grievous burden during the depression years, but it was finally liquidated during the pastorate of Dr. Benjamin T. Candler. The church was dedicated by Bishop W. W. Peele on March 23, 1947. The sanctuary was renovated for that occasion. A new organ, replacing the one moved from the earlier building, was installed in 1949. Extensive remodeling of the education facilities was undertaken in 1957.
Today, we are known as United Methodists, a union in 1968 of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church.