In 1797 when John McIntire and Jonathan Zane laid out the town of Zanesville, they designated South and Seventh Streets as the southeast corner of the plat. Central Trinity Church first began in 1865 as a mission church sponsored by Old Second Street Church, now called Grace United Methodist Church. It was first known as South Street Methodist Episcopal Church and was located at the corner of Sixth and South Streets where Sunday school was conducted on Sunday afternoons. In 1868 they moved to a new chapel at Seventh and South Streets with their first minister, Rev. Windsor. The chapel building today is part of the educational wing.
As the congregation grew a new church sanctuary was added in 1888. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1905 and electric lights were added. The church was renamed as Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1913. A house next to the church became the church parsonage in 1919. During the Depression in 1932, the men of the church and members of the community excavated a basement beneath the sanctuary. The ladies of the church provided a soup kitchen for all the workers. When the city of Zanesville took Trinity Church’s building for a street extension project on Shinnick Street, they united in 1940 with Central to form Central Trinity Methodist. The Trinity church was founded even earlier than Central in 1841.
Central had a pipe organ installed in 1890 that received its air by a hand pump. In 1912 the pump was improved to run by a water turbine and later by an electric motor. When the Central Trinity organ needed replacement in 1945, the church purchased a used E. M. Skinner pipe organ from a mansion in Parkersburg, W.V. The organ factories were shut down for the war effort. This organ had been built in Boston, MA in 1924 as a home-sized instrument that could be played by a roll machine or from the console.
After thorough study and much prayer, the congregation voted in 1954 to stay downtown where it had been planted and develop the church ministry. They held a “Face-To-Face” campaign with each member asking for a 150 week pledge to fund the project. This commitment led to a major remodeling project, an addition of an education wing and a new Seventh Street entrance featuring a stone carving of “the Resurrected Christ”. After being closed for 54 weeks of construction, the church sanctuary was rededicated on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1958. During the construction period the church held services at the Liberty Theater on South Fifth Street. The church was renamed Central Trinity United Methodist Church in 1968 when the Methodist Church united nationally with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1978 a 2nd floor was added to the educational building and the courtyard was covered to form a gymnasium area. In 1982 C.T. was instrumental in organizing the local United Methodist Churches into a cluster that sponsored a yearly Lenten worship series. An annual Thanksgiving service began in 1983 between C.T. and our good neighbors at Union Baptist Church.
In 1996 the church mounted a capital improvement project titled “Parade of Progress” which included many “points of Light” that touched most of the church ministries. The church began developing a full city block from South to Main Streets as an example of being a good downtown citizen. Old dangerous buildings were removed and new businesses were built on church property to be used for both business and church activity. The parking area was developed as a Church Square Parking Plaza. At this time major improvements were made to the sound system, choir loft, church offices and restrooms, as well as new choir robes. A new entrance and portico with lighted steeple and cross was added. The portico roof is supported by 12 columns for the 12 disciples. Interior and exterior signage was improved. A welcome center was created with an elevator making the entire building handicap accessible. The pipe organ was rebuilt with numerous improvements. The organ has 26 ranks including 1218 pipes and 5 digital voices. The final part of the project was the building of a church in Africa. This was considered a mission tithe for the project.
The 21st Century has Central Trinity again looking at ways to reach out to the community in ministry and in love. The church is updating the way it communicates within the church as well as out in the community. We offer vacation Bible school, a music cantata with choir and orchestra, a youth musical, Sunday school classes & Bible studies for all ages, a Handbell Festival, numerous mission opportunities and special services at Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Lent & Easter as well as the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Zanesville Civic Chorus. In addition to all of this, a music conservatory offers piano, organ, violin and voice music lessons. The church family often hosts traveling choirs. The church works to help address “Neighbors in Need” in cooperation with Eastside Ministries, the Salvation Army, Christ’s Table, First UMC Homeless Shelter, LIFEWELL, Lifebridge Healing Ministries and neighboring churches. A Downtown Community Block Party was started in 2014 in our parking lot and sponsored by the four churches that are near CT on 7th & 8th Streets. A Singspiration & ice cream fellowship event is held each summer with Union Baptist. Central Trinity began its 150th Anniversary Celebration September 13, 2015 with Dr. Dennis Miller, Foothills District Superintendent, as speaker. The celebration continued throughout the year with many special events. The concluding Homecoming Celebration was held September 11, 2016 with Dr. Brian Law as speaker. Both Dennis and Brian grew up at Central Trinity.
To prepare Central Trinity UMC for the future, a Parade of Progress IV campaign was developed. Over a period of 3 years the outside of the church and interior of the worship area and the church facilities have been refreshed and improved. A green space is being developed on the property. In 2015, the church made a commitment to the future by adding a Director of Family Life Ministries. Our Mission Statement is “Make New Friends and Disciples for Jesus Christ.” Our Invitational Statement is “Come as Yourself, Grow in Faith, Serve with Love”. Our motto is: “Come and See.” John 1:46 (12/12/16)