Our Past and Present
Trinity Church and Old Swedes Church
Trinity Parish maintains two church complexes that are about three miles apart, both of which are listed on the National Historic Register. Worshiping in these beautiful spaces connects us with the past, present, and future — or as we like to say, these spaces embody our 300 years of faith in the city. This parish was founded in 1638 when a group of Swedes first settled in what is now the City of Wilmington, and a fort was erected on the banks of the Christiana River. The original Swedish Lutheran church was located within the walls of Fort Christina, near the site where the Swedes landed. As more Swedes made the voyage to the new colony, a larger church was needed. Foundation stones for the present Old Swedes Church located at 800 East 7th Street in Wilmington were laid in 1698, and the Church was consecrated in 1699 as Holy Trinity Church. With changes in immigration patterns, what had been founded as a Lutheran church became a parish of the Church of England. The last Swedish pastor departed in 1791, and jurisdiction of the church was transferred to the Protestant Episcopal Church. In 1830, the parish built Trinity Chapel at the corner of Fifth and King Streets, and in 1847, the present parish structure of two congregations worshiping in two churches began. The Chapel congregation eventually purchased the land at N. Adams Street, where the cornerstone was laid on May 1, 1890. The new church was blessed, its first service held on January 29, 1891, and Trinity Church was formally consecrated on May 15, 1906.