Who we are: Southwest Michigan Episcopal Covenant The parishes of Trinity Episcopal Church, Niles; St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Dowagiac; and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, MI, want to welcome you. As our parish numbers have decreased over the years, we found that our spirit and drive to make a difference in our communities could thrive and grow by joining our resources yet maintaining our unique parish communities. We welcome you to select the church and service times best suited to your location and schedule. Try one, try them all. Our goal is to work toward closer community relationships together. Please join us We welcome all persons who are seeking to live with integrity, love, and dignity on the basis of our baptismal covenant in which we promise to serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being. Trinity Episcopal Church Parish Narrative: Trinity Episcopal Church was founded in 1834, making it the oldest Episcopal Church and congregation in the Diocese of Western Michigan. Trinity Church is blessed with a rich history, beautiful stained glass windows, (dating back to 1872), and a magnificent pipe organ. Niles, a community in southwestern Michigan's Berrien County is less than two hours from Chicago to the west and three hours from Detroit to the east. South Bend, Indiana and Notre Dame University are just a few miles south of Niles. Many consider us a bedroom community to northern Indiana. We are fortunate to have Dr. Kenneth Logan as our organist since 2007. Dr. Logan serves on the faculty of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Over the years he has organized several concerts and recitals at Trinity church. His expertise is renown in the Michiana area. After the post-war years and until the '70's, Trinity Episcopal Church flourished and served the spiritual needs of scores of corporate executives, professional people, farmers, retailers and merchants, and working-class families. Until the mid-1970's, Niles was the headquarters for seven corporations listed on the New Your Stock Exchange. As the prosperous manufacturing jobs left the Rust Belt for other locations, Trinity Episcopal Church felt the migration as its congregation shrank. The young families and their children began to disappear from our pews. Our once rich endowment fund has allowed us to keep the building in good repair. Trinity's last full-time priest was Father Franklin P. Schuster lll who served from 1999 to 2005. We have welcomed supply priests during interim times, having a Priest-in-charge from 2007-2012 with the Rev. James Slack and from 2013-2015 with the Rev. Pamela Sten. Niles boasts a thriving ecumenical community. Our Primary spiritual community outreach is the weekly Saturday lunches we provide to the homeless, the needy and those needing companionship and compassion. While Trinity has declined in membership, we were able to use the 180th anniversary of Trinity from 2014-2015 to enhance our profile in the community through a number of events and fundraising endeavors, and to highlight our sponsorship of the Lunchin program. The weekly meals are provided on a rotating basis with the participation of five area congregations. Trinity's Parish House is the permanent home to the Lunchin program which on some Saturdays serves more than 140 people. For the last several years Trinity has collected hats, gloves, scarves, and coats for the Berrien County Social Services. Most recently we collected undergarments for "Ellis House" which is a mission of our neighbors at First Presbyterian Church, who distribute clothing to needy children, For many years the ladies of Trinity have provided layettes to our local hospital's maternity department, which are distrusted to the newborns. Our seven Eucharistic Visitors are a very dedicated group who deliver communion to our shut-ins on a weekly basis. Trinity Church also has a devout group who offer a healing service on Wednesday evenings. Since 2012 we have joined the congregations of St. Johns United Church of Christ, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, and The First Presbyterian Church during the Lenten season where we convene in each other's churches on Wednesday evenings and share soup and sandwiches followed by a Lenten Service. Trinity's average Sunday attendance is 36 dedicated parishioners, and our full membership numbers are 101. Our 2017 pledges were approximately $55,000. Thanks to financial gifts by many generous families we have been able to maintain the church proper, kitchen appliances, new flooring and carpeting. The people of Trinity Episcopal Church are committed to and are excited to support Trinity's participation in the Southwestern Michigan Episcopal Covenant. PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE OPERATING PRINCIPLES CAN BE FOUND AT swmecovenant.org https://www.swmecovenant.org/#!