Spirit of Hope Church
Location Name: Spirit of Hope Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Christian - Independent)
Year Completed: 1893
Architect(s): George Mason and Zachariah Rice
The history of the Spirit of Hope Church structure begins with the history of Trinity Episcopal Parish (who built the structure and called it home for over a century). That congregation began in 1878 as the Epiphany Reformed Episcopal Church. An independent parish, Epiphany was meant to be a place where Anglicans not pledged to the Episcopal Bishop of Michigan could worship. The congregation eventually changed their name to Trinity Episcopal Church in 1889.
Trinity Episcopal was fortunate enough to have Detroit Evening News (now Detroit News) owner James E. Scripps as a congregant. The wealthy Mr. Scripps put up $55,000 to build the current structure as a new home for Trinity Episcopal. Architects George Mason and Zachariah Rice were chosen to build the English Gothic church which they completed in 1893. The new church featured two-foot thick Trenton limestone walls and an 85-foot central tower. On the exterior of the building over 200 stone sculptures decorate the walls, including gargoyles that serve as water drains. Inside the sanctuary ten stone angels face congregants as they support the nave beams above. Also inside the sanctuary is a stained glass window designed by Tiffany Studios.
While Trinity Episcopal began as an independent church, in 1896 it united with the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Over a century later, hard times caused by low membership caused Trinity Episcopal’s closure in April 2006. The parish was then merged with nearby Faith Memorial Lutheran Church to become Spirit of Hope Church. Once again an independent parish, Spirit of Hope has become an inclusive congregation that hopes to restore its historic home and its neighborhood.
Spirit of Hope Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.Sources