Learn About Old Natchez Church on October 10 – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Exactly 200 years ago this year, several men dined at Stephen Duncan’s Natchez home. Close friends, they were members of the Anglican Communion.

Most of them didn’t live in Natchez very long. They must have missed attending services because one of them said, “Why can’t we have an Episcopal minister in Natchez?” Why can’t we have a church?

Carolyn Vance Smith, founder and co-chair of Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, center, laughs with her brother Bill Vance, left, and Glen Huff, right, during Smith’s retirement party at the Natchez Historical Foundation on Saturday. Smith led the NLCC for 26 years, bringing talented writers and scholars from around the world to Natchez. (Sam Gause / The Democrat Natchez)

These strong men, with extensive connections and considerable wealth, within a year began building what became Trinity Episcopal Church, 305 South Commerce St. They also hired a minister, the Reverend James Pilmore.

The first service took place in May 1823 in the large brick church. It is still standing, the oldest church in Natchez.

Construction dates are accurate in church records and are confirmed by Trinity’s appearance in John James Audubon’s 1823 oil landscape, “View of Natchez, Mississippi”.

What drew these men to Natchez so long ago?

You can find out when history professor and author Dr. Dennis J. Mitchell presents “Antebellum Natchez in Context” at 4 p.m. Sunday, October 10, at Trinity Church. This 30-minute program, partially funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council, will set the stage for the creation of Trinity.

This is the inaugural program sponsored by the Marion Smith Speaker Series, a ministry named for a longtime Trinity leader and funded by his family.

The program will include the first screening of “Faith in Action Since 1822”, an 18-minute documentary film that traces the history, missions and ministries of Trinity.

This film was created by Patrick Doherty, G. Mark LaFrancis, John Norris, Reverend Ken Ritter and Carolyn Vance Smith. Partial funding comes from the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission and the rest from church donors.

After the documentary, informal tours of the church and nearby Kuehnle Hall will be arranged. Refreshments will be served.

A major church exhibit features 11 spectacular stained glass windows, one by John La Farge, two by Louis Comfort Tiffany and eight others by nationally known artists.

Exhibits at Kuehnle Hall include a mid-19th century oil portrait of Bishop William Mercer Green by John Pope, called by Mimi Miller of the Natchez Historical Foundation “Natchez’s finest portrait”.

Also in Kuehnle Hall is an exhibition of original artwork entitled “Sacred Sites and Curiosities: Christ Church (1820) and Trinity Church (1822)”, partner churches in the mission.

These works of art are by Andree Leckie Gamberi, Carolyn Cummings Gwin, the late Patricia McRaney Hootsell, the late Nancy Allen Ogden, and Will Smith, Jr. All have ties to Trinity Church.

In the Rectors’ Room is an exhibit of photographs of all the Rectors of Trinity Church as well as furniture from the first parsonage in 1850. In the back foyer is an exhibit of colorful clerical clothing and decorative objects. ancient altar.

In the entrance hall is a reproduction of Audubon’s “View of Natchez, Mississippi”, as well as a set of antique furniture donated to the church by Trinity members Mr. and Mrs. FD Brown.

We are extremely happy to begin Trinity’s bicentenary celebration with this very special event.

We invite everyone to join us. For those unable to attend, Dr. Mitchell’s program and film will be posted on trinitynatchez.org.

Hope to see you there!

Carolyn Vance Smith is Chair of the Trinity Church Bicentennial Committee.

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