1791 – Bishop Francis Asbury (first elected Methodist bishop in America) first preached in Springfield. Of that visit, he wrote: “My mind has been dejected; Satan has assaulted me. I could not be fixed in prayer as I desired. We have made it 108 miles from Lynn to Springfield. … There appears to be little religion among the inhabitants.”
1819 – Methodist meetings were held in the little school-house at the Water Shops near Hancock and Central Streets, in the Armory chapel, in private houses, in David Rice’s barn, and sometimes in a grove. The Baptists thought it an “outrage” that the Methodists were allowed to gather nearby, in the school-house. So one Sunday morning, when the Methodists arrived, they found the Baptists already there; the Baptists informed them that they would be staying for the rest of the day. And they succeeded in barring the Methodists from the school from that time on.
1821 – The Methodists built Asbury Chapel on Hickory Street, between Walnut and Hancock Streets. It cost $300 to build, and was 28′ x 36′ in size.
1823 – The Methodists built a larger chapel at Union and Mulberry Streets, but still held services occasionally at Asbury Chapel.
1835 – The chapel divided into two churches:
1. Union Street Society
- 1873 – The Society moved and became State Street Methodist Episcopal Church
- 1899 – They merged with St. Luke’s and were renamed Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church
2. First Methodist Society
- 1844 – Many of the members lost their jobs at the Armory, so they closed First Methodist Society and transferred to Pynchon Street Methodist Church
- 1857 – Horace Smith, a Methodist layperson & one of the founders of Smith & Wesson enabled First Methodist Society services to resume at Asbury Chapel
- 1866 – The members built a new church building at Florence and Hancock Streets for $13,123.35, named Asbury First Methodist Episcopal Church. Asbury Chapel on Hickory Street was torn down.
- 1926 – A heavy wind storm knocked down the church’s tower
- 1952 – Bay Street Methodist Church (also known as the First Swedish Methodist Church) merged with Asbury First Methodist Episcopal Church
- 1975 – The church building burned down
1844 – Another Methodist church was built: Pynchon Street Methodist Church Services were initially held in the old courthouse and in the Worthington Street Grove
1867 – The Pynchon Street Church divided into two churches:
1. Pynchon Street Church
- 1869 – Built on Bridge Street (across from Barnes Street) and renamed Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church
- 1873 – Started West Springfield Mission. In 1876, it became First Methodist Church of West Springfield
- 1874 – Started Plainfield Street Mission. In 1898, it became St. James Methodist Church at Main and Dover Streets.
- 1902 – Started Liberty Mission. In 1907, it became Liberty Methodist Church at 821 Liberty Street
2. Central Methodist Episcopal Church
- 1875 – Built at Main and Winthrop Streets and renamed Grace Church
1922 – Grace Church merged with Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church
- Met in temporary tabernacle on Oakland Street
- Began building on Sumner Avenue
- 1923 – Community House dedicated
- 1924 – Grace Chapel cornerstone laid
- 1928 – Carillon and Singing Tower and Junior Building dedicated
- 1929 – Sanctuary dedicated
- 1930 – Trinity wins first prize in National Building contest
- 1968 – Renamed Trinity United Methodist Church
1975 – Asbury Methodist Church merged with Trinity United Methodist Church