TRINITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH ESPY 2351 Old Berwick Rd., Bloomsburg, PA 17815 Lewisburg District
The Rev. Isaac John preached to a congregation on Market Street, Espy (now known as Tenny Street) in 1828 in a one-room schoolhouse. Rev. John summoned his congregation by blowing the school horn. This was the beginning of the first church in Espy, Pennsylvania. (Espy was known as Liberty until around 1810). By 1828, when the Post Office was opened, the town had been renamed after its founder, George Espy). During the first 28 years of its history, Espy had been served by Methodist Circuit Riders.
Between 1828 and 1846, pastors of the Berwick Circuit preached to the Espy congregation. From 1847 to the forming of the Orangeville circuit in 1852, pastors from the Bloomsburg Circuit come to Espy. Trinity United Methodist Church remained in the Orangeville circuit until the formation of the Espy-Lightstreet Charge in 1861.
1838: (Methodist Episcopal Church) The first church building was erected in 1838 at a total cost of $414.65. Espy Church was served by two pastors of the Berwick Circuit, the Rev. John Hall and the Rev. Charles Kalbfus. Eight years later, the congregation was made a part of the Bloomsburg Circuit. Espy joined the Orangeville circuit in 1852 and ten years later the Espy-Lightstreet Charge was formed.
1882: (44 years later) Workmen are busy rebuilding the Methodist Episcopal Church in Espy. The old church will be taken down except for the bare frame and enlarged by plans furnished by Jacob Snyder, Architect, Akron, Ohio. William Harter, Bloomsburg, is the contractor. If the builder gets a clear conception of the Architect’s idea and realizes it in the building, we will have one of the most complete churches for preaching, social and Sabbath School services, and at the same time, one of the most beautiful village churches in the state….(written by H. C. Cheston, pastor, on October 5, 1882).
1883: On March 25, 1883, the new Methodist Episcopal Church at Espy was dedicated with Bishop T. Bowman, Pastor H. C. Chesten, and Rev. S. F. Upham, D.D. and other distinguished divines in attendance (approx $3000.00).
There seems to be an interval from 1883 to the mid 1920s where records are very sparse. In perusing old minute books, a few very interesting items came to light. In 1910, a square of roofing cost $5 while insurance on church property valued at $25,0000 was $9.40 per year. The amount paid for electricity was $1.40 per month. The year 1919 was a lean year with no balance in the treasury month after month. The pastor’s salary in 1919 was $33.00 a month (Espy’s share) and in 1921 it increased to $41.52 a month. In December, 1921, an ostrich dinner was served which netted a profit of $61.00 Coal prices in 1923 was $12.35 for 5 long tons. One year, the profit from the dinner stand at the Bloomsburg Fair was $326.83).
1924: The Rev. James P. Hulbert was pastor in 1924 and led the building of a parsonage on the lot east of the church (approx $3800). Eight years later (1932) an educational and fellowship hall was added to the church building.
1932: In December at a regular meeting of the Sunday school members at which sixty-nine members were present, action was taken to erect an addition to the present church property for use as additional classrooms, and social events. The building was completed, occupied, and dedicated during June, 1933 (approx $2000) with Rev. E. J. Symons preaching the dedication sermon. (This is our current social/fellowship hall). Rev. Symons served as pastor from 1914-1918.
For many years, the church did not undergo many major changes, but after the spring of 1937 changes were made which would alter the structure of our sanctuary, such as removal of the circular alter, the closing of the balcony, and removing the old hand pumped pipe organ which was replaced with a new organ with an electric motor. The ceiling in the main sanctuary was lowered so that the church could be more easily heated.
In the 1950’s a new Hammond Electric Organ was purchased and a new powder room was added to the recreational area of the church, a new ceiling was added to the social room, the floor of the social room was refinished, and the black “Methodist Hymnals” were purchased.
As time made its mark on the church, the roof needed to be repaired and the Parsonage needed to be remodeled. Through the exerted efforts of the Board of Trustees, these two fetes were accomplished. Around the same time that these two projects were being undertaken, another crew took on the responsibility of remodeling the kitchen. Through the benefits of many suppers and other programs, new stainless steel sinks were installed, new cupboards were built, new lighting was installed and new windows were installed. During this busy time in the church, the furnace needed to be replaced. So, everyone “put their shoulder to the wheel” and this was accomplished. The later part of the 1960’s found the Young Adult Sunday School Class busy remodeling the vestibule.
In 1968 this Espy church was renamed St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. It became aligned with Ridge Street United Methodist Church in 1975 as a two point charge (dissolving the Espy-Lightstreet Charge.)
Early in the 1970s, the now old Hammond Electric Organ needed extensive repairs. It was decided that it would be more economical to purchase a new organ than to repair the old one. A new Baldwin Electronic Organ was purchased, the interior of the church painted, new wall to wall carpeting was purchased, and new red hymnals were purchased. The completion of all these projects was scheduled for Easter 1972, but this goal was not achieved until two months later. June, 1972, brought the Agnes flood and our church was surely protected as the muddy river water did not come close to soiling the new carpet. In September 1972, under the pastorate of Rev. Luther Frazier, the church was rededicated and the new organ and hymnals were consecrated. District Superintendent Close gave the dedicatory sermon.
On July 1, 1975, the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist church supported the realignment of the Espy-Almedia-Lightstreet charge into the Almedia-Espy and the Lightstreet charges. St Paul’s, as Trinity was called then, had 160 full members listed on the role. The Pastor-Parish Relational Committee and the administrative board approved this realignment. This relationship continued until 1981 when Zion United Methodist Church (formerly the Evangelical, then the Evangelical United Brethren) was joined to the Almedia-Espy Charge.
The church newsletter began in January 1980 under Rodney Miller. A bell choir was also formed in 1980 and would continue ringing several octaves of bells through 1995. In 1981, Rev. Byron Stroud took over as our pastor and the church office could no longer be situated in the parsonage. The junior high Sunday School classroom was transformed into the charge office. The sliding-pocket doors between the junior high and senior high classrooms were made into a solid wall with bookshelves on the office side. The handiwork was done by church members.
December 2, 1984, will be remembered as an important date in the history of our church. It was the first Sunday in advent, the beginning of the church year, when St. Paul United Methodist Church and Zion United Methodist Church, a former Evangelical congregation, merged forming the present church known as Trinity United Methodist Church. Rev. Warren L. Baughman, Jr., Superintendent of the Lewisburg District made the proclamation of the beginning of the new churches’ existence. He outlined the steps which had been taken leading to merger and noted that, for the first time in his experience, two congregations had voted unanimously to merge. The Zion Church was formed as an evangelical congregation in 1877. The merger was definitely economical in nature but a much stronger church emerged. The mid-1980’s brought changes to the social hall entrance and the sanctuary entrance when renovations were made installing ramps and railings. A new sidewalk was poured. In the late 1980’s, the former Zion Church Bell was permanently mounted in front of the church and a lighted outdoor bulletin board was purchased. In 1995, new red United Methodist Hymnals were purchased. In October 1998, carpet in the Sanctuary was replaced.
After the passing of Irene Force Bush, the Force family gave the congregation of Trinity United Methodist Church the opportunity to purchase the Force property located next to the church. On July 15, 1994, the congregation purchased that said property for $40,000. The garage on the property was torn down and new spaces were created for parking. The upstairs of the home was made into an apartment creating revenue for the loan payment. In the spring of 2000, the Force property was completely torn down to accommodate a much needed parking lot.
The Bell Tower was refurbished in the summer of 2000 with a new organ being purchased in September 2003, and a new church sign being installed in the front lawn in the fall of 2005. In December, 2007 two new gas kitchen stoves were purchased and in May, 2007 a new refrigerator was bought. In June 2007, windows for the church sanctuary were replaced and in May, 2008 a tankless water heater was installed. The front church doors were replaced in March, 2009.
In June, 2009, the congregation (led by Pastor Susan Rogutski) voted to proceed with much needed repairs and updating in the sanctuary. “Project 180” began by turning the alter (180 degrees) to the front side of the church. Mr. Gary Wolfe has been hired as the architect with Hepco Company as the construction crew. After five months of intense construction which included adding a new enclosed handicapped entryway, new drywall, insulation, removal of classroom walls to reveal original pocket doors, new carpet, a second bathroom, fresh paint, new ceiling, a state of the art sound system, speakers, screen and refurbishing the social hall, Trinity United Methodist Church of Espy opened the doors to a beautiful, updated sanctuary. The dedication of the new sanctuary was held on Sunday, November 29, 2009. (The cost of the renovation was approximately $150,000).
On July 1, 2013, Trinity United Methodist Church received a new Pastor, Caleb Fritz. We have continued to updated our church by adding a railing outside along with handrails for extra stability… new updates and more projects are always being considered.
July 1, 2018, Trinity United Methodist Church received a new Pastor, Kelly Kocher-Ross. 
Submitted by Carol Giger (1/18/2015)
Circuit Riders  – James Campbell and William Cole 1828: Isaac John 1838: John Hall and Charles Kalbfus, Berwick Circuit riders
No records from 1832-1862
1862 Samuel W. Price
1863 Henry G. Dill
1864-1865 Thomas Reese
1866-1867 A. N. Barnitz
1868-1870 W. M. Mensinger
1871 S. W. Sears
1872-1873 M. P. Grothwaite
1874-1875 F. E. Crever
1876-1877 Allen Brittain
1878-1879 John Moorehead
1880-1883 H. C. Cheston
1884 R. H. Wharton
1885 J. S. Beyer (at a conference in 1886, Beyer was moved in after conference adjustment. Rev. Allen Brittain and Rev. W. R. Owen of Shamokin supplied until August 1886)
1886-1890 Richard Mallalieu
1890-1893 Walter R. Whitney
1894-1895 R. E. Wilson
1896-1897 N. B. Smith
1897-1898 Theo W. Haven
1898-1899 Henry D. Flanegan
1900-1903 William H. Hartman
1904-1905 William L. Armstrong
1906-1907 Charles H. Campbell
1908-1909 Samuel Fox
1909-1910 Elmer G. Baker (Rev. Baker died 12/9/1910 and the charge was supplied with various ministers and lay people.)
1911-1913 Stephen B. Bidlack
1914-1918 Edmund J. Symons
1919-1920 Benjamin F. Hilbish
1921-1922 Albert S. Luring
1923-1925 James P. Hulbert
1926-1928 Lawrence B. Barton
1929-1930 Harvey O. Gottshall
1931-1933 George M. Shimer
1934-1938 Clarence F. Johnston
1939-1940 Francis B. Geiger
1941-1944 Thomas J. Hopkins
1945-1946 William L. Armstrong
1947-1950 Henry H. Shissler
1950-1952 Victor K. Meredith Jr
1952-1953 Joseph C. Moore Jr
1953-1959 Van H. Beeman
1959-1961 Normal F. Slagel
1961-1966 Milton R. Wildermuth
1966-1968 David F. Weyant
1968-1972 Edward M. Williams
1972-1975 Luther E. Frazier
1975-1979 George E. Rees
1979-1981 Rodney K. Miller
1981-1985 Byron L. Shaffer-Stroud
1985-1992 Ronald O. Doan
1992-1996 Gary G. Dunn
1996-2000 Donald Firestone
2000-2001 Nancy DePoe
2001-2013 Susan Rogutski
2013-2018 Caleb Fritz
2018-         Kelly Kocher-Ross