On January 1, 2024 Trinity Church – Lapeer dis-affiliated from the United Methodist Church and became associated with the Global Methodist Church. During 2023 6000 plus churches left the UMC. Half that amount chose to join the Global Methodist Church.
During 2023 many meetings were held to explain why Trinity would consider changing its affiliation. An all church member vote was held at the end of April and 80% of the membership voted to leave. Later on the issue of a new name and a new affiliation was voted on. The new name chosen was Trinity Methodist Church and the decision to become part of the Global Methodist Church was approved.
Change is not new to Methodism in America and for that matter Lapeer.
In 1794 the African Methodist Episcopal church was created as an off shoot from the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.
Methodism in Lapeer began in 1834, just 3 years after the first settlers arrived, when a Lapeer circuit (preachers coming on horseback) was added to the Farmington circuit. Early services were held at various locations including the Courthouse.
In 1836 a pastor from either Pontiac or Farmington visited Lapeer and organized the official chartered congregation.
It would not be until 1844 that a permanent sanctuary was completed and dedicated to being the home of First Methodist Episcopal of Lapeer. The minister at that time was George Hemmingway who prior to entering the ministry was a carpenter. Lumber was donated by church members. It was a small New England style frame building measuring 35 by 45. Seating capacity was around 35. Membership at that time was 185. This home would serve the Lapeer M.E. for 20 years.
1845 brought about the creation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South This shift would remain to
1939 when MEC-South merged with the Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Protestant Church to form the Methodist Church.
Our early pioneers exhibited a missionary spirit through their deeds and teaching brought the word of God to the Chippewa Indians of the Ne-Bis-Sing tribe. The missionary spirit has lived through the years and is present in the works of Trinity today.
1860 was the year for another off shoot, the Free Methodist Church. They were formed by members with a strong abolitionist sentiment. One of their ministries was the Underground Railroad.
In 1865 the Lapeer Methodist Episcopal Church constructed a new wooden frame structure on the S.W. corner of Monroe St. and Liberty St. which served the membership until 1895 when a brick church was erected at the same location. This building served as the center of worship from 1895 to Feb. 1961.
The merger in 1968 of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church created the United Methodist Church.
Trinity Methodist Church’s heritage as Methodist Episcopal and Monroe Street Methodist has not been forgotten. We still believe in our mission statement of “Caring, Sharing and Teaching all in the name of Christ”.
Written by: Jim Ruehl (2024)