The roots of our congregation began in 1824 with the Freewill Baptist Church. About 1841, the Freewill Baptists merged with the Free Communion Baptists and chose the name, Free Baptists. This name remained in effect until the Free Baptists merged with the Northern Baptist Convention in 1911.
The original church of 1824 grew from a few members, to a congregation of 90 worshippers. They gathered for a time in a barn owned by Jacob Ulsh, but soon built a frame church located at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Ave. and Summit St. When members thought it was too far out of town, it was moved to a lot on S. Vine St donated by Eber Baker, whose son George had returned as pastor.
The church congregation continued to grow as Samuel Bates became pastor in 1857 and formed the first choir. Rev Bates was so enthused by the music of the choir that he urged everyone to join, whether they could sing or not.
In 1880, Rev O.D. Patch became pastor. Under his guidance, the women of the church organized the Ladies Mite Society which was later renamed the Ladies Missionary Society. Needs for improved facilities were recognized as membership and enthusiasm grew. Property on the north side of E Center St was purchased, and the new building was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1867 after construction delays due to the Civil War.
It is noteworthy that on May 6, 1883, Warren G. Harding, at the age of 17, became a member of the Free Baptist Church. He became a trustee and served more than 35 years through the transition of Trinity Baptist Church until 1920.
By 1884, Rev O.W. Waldron was pastor, under whose direction the first youth program was initiated and called Christian Endeavor.
Enthusiasm continued to grow and by 1901 a need for larger facilities developed. In 1901 the lot on South Main St was acquired for $4,250. Although construction of the church had begun in June of 1904, the cornerstone was not laid until August of 1905. Three hundred people attended the groundbreaking service. Contained in the cornerstone is a copper box containing a Bible, a hymnal, history of the church, church roll, church paper (Morning Star), photos of the old church, a Women’s Missionary program, a Christian Endeavor topic card, and local newspapers.
The First Baptist Church located on North State Street was also growing and expanding at this time. Taking note of the new building under construction on South Main, First Baptist made contact with the Free Baptists and an agreement was made that the two congregations would merge.
Trinity Baptist Church was officially organized in April of 1912 when the former Free Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church had agreed to a name change. The two churches had come together in a joint worship service held on September 24, 1911. The two congregations held separate Sunday morning services; then, in the evening, members of the First Baptist Church met at the State Street location and marched as a body to the new Trinity building, where they were welcomed by the Trinity Baptist congregation singing, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”
In 1943, the property adjacent to the south side of Trinity was purchased from Miss Clara Kowalke, and it was remodeled in 1945 into a youth center called “Trinity House.”
The former Marion Public Library building, which had opened for public use in 1907, was purchased in 1979 under the leadership of Dr. Robert S. Ginn. The library was remoldeled into our present Chrisitian Center. The Christian Center opened in 1980 housing the church offices, Sunday school classes, and a center for youth activities.
God has been faithful to Trinity Baptist throughout the years it has served the community of Marion, Ohio, and we trust He will continue to be faithful to His people as we seek to serve our community and its changing needs into the future generations.