Church of the Holy Trinity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

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Episcopal church founded in Brooklyn Heights in 1847.

John Howard Melish was pastor of the church from 1904 until 1949 when he was ousted by the vestrymen because of his son's political activities. The son, William Howard Melish, who was associate pastor of Holy Trinity from 1939 to 1958, was a supporter of civil rights and controversial causes. The controversy involved the congregation in hearings before the diocese and appeals to the courts until the diocese declared the parish extinct in 1960.

From the description of Records, 1928-1969. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155449651

Brooklyn's Church of the Holy Trinity was founded in 1840. Its distinct Gothic Revival building, designed by noted church architect Minard LeFevre, opened for worship in 1847 at the corner of Montague and Clinton Streets in the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. Over the course of the next century, the Church was regarded as one of Brooklyn's esteemed Episcopalian institutions. However, in the late 1940s, controversy erupted surrounding the Church's Head Rector, John Howard Melish, and his son, Assistant Rector William Howard Melish. The controversy began when, in light of the onset of increased political tensions between the United States and the communist Soviet Union, members of the Church vestry became suspicious of William Howard Melish's supposed involvement in communist activities. The vestry urged John Howard Melish to dismiss his son as Assistant Rector, and when the elder Melish refused, the vestry attempted to remove them both. The conflict escalated over the next decade and was even taken to the New York State Supreme Court. It ended with the closing of the Church in 1957 by order of the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Long Island. After the Church's closing, its building remained vacant for over a decade until 1969, when it was purchased by the congregation of St. Ann's Church, the oldest Episcopalian parish in Brooklyn. Upon reopening the building, St. Ann's renamed itself as St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and as of 2010, St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity continues to serve the Brooklyn community at this location.

Sources: Brooklyn Historical Society. "Collection Highlights." Accessed November 12, 2010. National Park Service. "Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State." Accessed November 12, 2010. St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. "Our Building." Accessed November 12, 2010.

From the guide to the Church of the Holy Trinity collection, 1851-1958, (Brooklyn Historical Society)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Benevolent Association of the Church of the Holy Trinity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Episcopal Church. Diocese of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Mason, Anna May person
associatedWith Melish, John Howard, 1874-1969. person
associatedWith Melish, William Howard, 1910- person
associatedWith Queens Borough Public Library. Long Island Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Touchet, Francis H. person
associatedWith Trinity House (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
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Active 1928

Active 1969



Ark ID: w67h6rz3

SNAC ID: 48884624