My business Friday necessitated that I make a stop along Trumbull Avenue before returning to my cozy office in the suburbs. I figured I would explore Trumbull a bit by driving north. The plan was to hit Grand River and take that to I-96 and back home. I knew I’d see beautiful buildings and dilapidated buildings that were once proud, graceful, like the city. Fortunately I ran across Spirit of Hope Church, at the corner of Trumbull Street and Grand River Avenue, on a nice, sunny autumn day.
The church’s gothic architecture grabbed me. I first saw the tower at the rear of the church and it reminded me of an old castle. After taking a closer look, I was enthralled to find gargoyles and carved men watching over God’s house.
By history, this church is a combination of Faith Memorial Lutheran and Trinity Episcopal Churches. Like many urban churches of this kind, it has a history of feeding and meeting the needs of the hungry and disadvantaged.
In the late 1990s the congregations of Faith Memorial Lutheran and Trinity Episcopal Churches, located just blocks from one another, began exploring what it would mean to do ministry together and share a pastor. Times had changed since the congregations’ founding.
Faith Memorial Lutheran Church, founded at the corner of Trumbull Avenue and Alexandrine Street in 1956, was established by the Lutheran Church to serve residents of the Jeffries Housing Projects. The church became well known as a place of refuge for the hungry, homeless or those who were in anyway feeling rejected because of their income, race or class. When most of the Jeffries was imploded in 2001, a very large percentage of the church’s constituency left or was forced to leave the neighborhood.
Trinity Episcopal Church, founded at the corner of Trumbull Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (formerly Myrtle Avenue) in the 1880s, Trinity was established as a neighborhood congregation that reached out first to the local Irish contingency, and then to others as the neighborhood changed over the decades. Trinity became known as the local home of the Police Athletic League, Sunshine Community Preschool and numerous food programs. The declining population of the neighborhood led to the declining population of the congregation.
After years of deliberation and prayer, Trinity and most active members of Faith Memorial took a leap of faith in April of 2006 and began worshipping together as one congregation, since known as Spirit of Hope. Today we worship God in everything that we are, blessed followers of Jesus Christ.
Reflecting a more liberal theology or approach to Christianity, Spirit of Hope seeks “empower all races, genders and gender expressions, sexual orientations, physical abilities, denominational or religious backgrounds, to serve one another as God has gifted us to do.”