Thursday, May 5, 2016

Trinity Episcopal Church - Princeton, NJ

Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton, New Jersey is located near the prestigious Princeton University and the very influential Princeton Theological Seminary (just about a block away), the second oldest seminary in the U.S. and associated with the Presbyterian Church. The area was "heavily Presbyterian" when Trinity Church was founded in 1833 by individuals, many of whom had southern connections. The architect was the same person who designed the Miller Chapel which is part of the Theological Seminary. In 1870 the building was apparently razed and rebuilt into a much larger building in a Gothic Revival style. In the early 1900s the nave was doubled and shortly thereafter a small chapel was built in the north transept (the Lady Chapel), a larger French Gothic chancel was built and the tower was significantly heightened. Given its proximity to Princeton (the university and the seminary), it is no surprise that Trinity is a liberal Protestant church, one in which the teachings take into account the Biblical criticism of the last few centuries and tend to view the Bible more metaphorically than factually. Trinity was not on our list to visit. But as we drove into town I was completely taken by the beautiful building and had to stop. 
Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton, NJ

Looking up through a glass covered hall.
Fortunately it was open and we had an opportunity to spend some worthwhile time inside. 
Looking toward the altar from the entrance.
This altar at the meeting of the nave and the transepts. The apse is in the background.
A beautiful cushion for kneeling near the altar.
A side chapel.
The altar in the chapel.
Another side chapel.
Looking across the transept.
From the transept, looking toward the entrance.
The baptismal font near the entrance.
A side room with modern stained glass.
A memorial for a Navy rear admiral in the 19th century.
Some of the stained glass panels I enjoyed: The triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
The Garden of Gethsemane. Note the sword in front of Peter, James and John and the angel above holding the cup.
The Good Samaritan
Jesus as a youth teaching in the temple.
On the outside it is one of the more striking churches I've seen. Trinity is now the largest Episcopal church in New Jersey and is part of the Diocese of New Jersey. 
An indication of the liberal nature of the church. I love the ecumenical approach that seeks for points of unity and inclusiveness.


  1. I liked the simplicity of the windows, my favorite probably being the one depicting the Good Samaritan. The Garden of Gethsemane one is very unique.

  2. This is one of those churches with an outstanding exterior that's fairly simple inside. It's always fun to look at the outside, imagine the inside, then go see the reality.