An extraordinary sanctuary

Altar at Trinity  Episcopal Church, Pine Bluff AR

Altar at Trinity Episcopal Church, Pine Bluff, Arkansas was installed in 1929 by the Italian sculptors who created it. To the delight of parishioners, they sang while they worked.

Now approaching the 139th anniversary of its first worship service, the sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church of Pine Bluff, Arkansas,  is an example of timeless design and function. Before the first service was conducted on Christmas day in 1870, the entire cost of some $18,000 to construct the building was paid. See an exterior picture and another interior picture and get in on the beginning of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Click here to make the trip.

Marble and music

Trinity’s distinctive altar, installed in 1929 was crafted by sculptors at Antonia Studios in Florence, Italy. The three ton work of art took nearly a year to the date to be completed and shipped to church. Sculptors from Antonio Studios accompanied the altar and assembled in it the church. They had other talents. My friends, the late Charles and Alice Warriner, told me years ago that the artisans were imbued with the legendary Italian propensity to sing and sing they did as they installed the altar. According to Charlie and Alice, word of these impromptu performances spread quickly and local people gathered to observe and listen.

Roane window

This window, a memorial to Julia Embree Roane, was moved in 1929 from the east wall of the church, (now occupied by the altar), to the southwest corner of the nave.

Get ready to rumble

The sanctuary, designed before public address systems were conjured in even the wildest of dreams has acoustic characteristics which give rise to music that will raise the hair on the back of your neck and cover you with goose bumps. The fine organ will rumble the foundation. Add a couple of trumpets or other free-standing instruments and you will hear sounds you will not forget.

Trinity organ console

The music is made here at thte console by Faron Wilson, Trinity's talented choirmaster and organist. The sounds you hear roll from the chambers and surround you with melody and rhythm.

The building is truly magnificent. It is well preserved and cared for with all due diligence. But the building is a symbol and its true meaning could be lost were it not for the Christian people who make up the parish, occupy the pews and take up the mantle and follow the teachings of Christ. That my friends is the church.

More pictures

Blog picture reproduction, most of the time, leaves a bit to be desired, so I have posted these photos, the photos from Corndancer and several others in an additional gallery with better resolution. See those pictures here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey