The Cedar Rapids congregations of St. James United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church have been on a shared journey over the past two years. In May 2015, they voted to become a Cooperative Parish; then on June 3, 2017 they voted to become to a merged congregation named Trinity-St. James United Methodist Church; and then in July 16, 2017 they voted to put the Trinity building up for sale and combine all ministries and worship at the St. James building.
Yet this shared relationship goes back to the beginnings of Methodism in Cedar Rapids Iowa, and a Billy Sunday revival.
The St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal congregation served as the first Methodist society in the city when it was organized in 1843. In 1887, they formed a Sunday school on the West side of the Cedar River at Second Street SW and Third Avenue SW. This became Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church shortly after its establishment. By 1889, the church moved to a new building at Third Avenue SW and Fifteenth Street SW. The famous evangelist, Reverend Billy (William) Sunday visited Cedar Rapids during the winter of 1909-1910 and led a successful revival. As a result, over 300 new people joined the Trinity congregation. This massive influx of new parishioners necessitated the formation of a Sunday school in the northwest section of the city to reach the new members that lived in this [northwest] area. The new church, St. James Methodist Episcopal (later United Methodist), organized in February 1910, and met in the closed Danish Lutheran Church located at the corner of K Avenue NW and Fourth Street NW. (Information from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 1, 1960)
The Holy Spirit has been moving through the faithful and fruitful people of these churches for more than a century, and now Trinity-St. James United Methodist Church is an expression of God’s new ministry on the near west side of Cedar Rapids, as they move forward with a vision to “make a difference in our neighborhoods one person at a time.”