Trinity Church

The following was taken from the Souvenir Edition of the The Middletown Tribune, dated 1896. It was lent to us for this reproduction by Mike Giuliano, a local resident. Excerpts include short articles regarding the churches that existed in Portland at the time, and some of their histories. The writing itself is classic late nineteenth century, and gives an extraordinary view of the time period. 

Trinity Church

This parish may be said to date from September 24, 1788, though formal organization was not effected until April, 1789. A church edifice was begun at once and was occupied in 1790, but never consecrated. A second one was begun in 1830, opened in 1832, consecrated in 1833 and demolished in 1874 to make way for the present handsome structure. The chapel of the latter was occupied in 1874 but the main building was not completed until 1882. It was consecrated by Bishop Williams, July 13th of that year.

Trinity Church building would attract favorably notice and cause complimentary comment in any locality. It is a handsome specimen of Gothic architecture, with massive walls of Portland brownstone, varied by many gables and porches, a tower, two turrets and chancel. Photography fails to do justice to its beautiful exterior, and its interior is in keeping.

Among the many memorials given to it are a particularly fine pulpit of rare design, in combination of brownstone, Scotch granite and brass; a costly porch, given by Mrs. Erastus Brainerd in memory of her husband; the tower clock, given by the late Thomas Pickering, in memory of his daughter; the Hook & Hasting's organ, a memorial to Rev. Samuel Emery, for 33 years rector of the church; a beautiful brownstone altar and mosaic pavement are among the notable memorials and the beautiful church windows of imported art stained glass, are memorials to various deceased members of the parish.

Good taste, beauty and durability combine to make Trinity Church one of the finest of Connecticut's church edifices. Its rectory, a large and comfortable frame house, on the opposite side of Main Street, was purchased in 1874.

Rev. O.H. Raftery, rector of Trinity Church, was reared in New York City. He attended the Episcopal Academy, Cheshire, Conn., and on graduating, entered Trinity College, Hartford, from which he was graduated with first honors in 1873. The following three years he attended Berkeley Divinity School, being graduated in 1876 and was ordained to the deaconate by Bishop Williams in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Middletown. He immediately became rector of St. Peter's Church, Cheshire, Conn. where he remained ten years, and in 1886 accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church, Portland. With this parish he has since remained, though frequently invited to assume rectorship of other churches, among them that of St. Stephen's Memorial Church in Lynn, Mass., in 1890, and of Christ Church, Bridgeport, Conn., in 1894. In 1895 he was honored by being selected as one of four delegates to represent the churches of Connecticut at the Minneapolis Convention.

During his rectorship the heavy debt on Trinity Church and rectory has been paid off, the church towers and porch finished and various memorials placed in the church. During this time, also, in the face of frequent removals from Portland, due to depression in the business of the town, the church had steadily gained in membership.