The Origins of Trinity Covenant Church
Trinity began as a Sunday school class in the 1890s, among young Swedish immigrants in East Orange NJ. New in the U.S., working as laborers and house maids, they longed to speak their own language and study the Bible together, and Trinity Congregational Church provided them the space and a teacher. In time, however, this new Sunday school class got bigger, and wanted to worship in Swedish, too, so that Trinity church helped this new Swedish-language church get off the ground.
These new Swedish-Americans had come from the “Mission Friends” movement in Sweden, a movement that broke away from the Swedish Lutheran Church, emphasizing Bible-reading and a personal relationship with Jesus. So their new church was called the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church, and it grew and became a vibrant place of worship, study, mission and friendship among many Swedish immigrants and other Scandinavians in the area.
When Swedish Mission Friends agreed – “covenanted” – together to do mission, the East Orange church quickly joined in (becoming one of the first churches in what has become our denomination).
Sixty years later, however, the Swedish immigrant church had begun services in English, and as its many families moved further away from the cities, so did the church… into what was then a rapidly growing new suburban area, Livingston NJ. The Mission Friends built a new building on East Cedar St and named their new church “Trinity,” after the Congregational church that had birthed them. And now, that covenant group of churches to which they belonged calls itself the Evangelical Covenant Church. Thus we are Trinity Covenant Church.
Not very many of our number primarily identify as Swedish these days, but our Swedish roots are sometimes noted in our hymn-singing, our love of food, and our gracious welcome. These days we’re all from somewhere, and those places are very far apart from each other. But we’re all here now worshiping and following Jesus, and we’re headed toward unity with Christ and all his followers. Come along with us!