Founded on March 24, 1874, Trinity Church is one of the oldest churches on Chicago’s North Shore.
Trinity Wilmette has been known by several names through the years: First Methodist Episcopal Church of Wilmette (1874-1930); Wilmette Parish Methodist Church (1930-1968); Trinity Church of the North Shore (1968-1989), and now Trinity United Methodist Church of Wilmette (1989-present).
From 1877 until 1929, Trinity Wilmette’s original church bell “called our people for prayer and praise, tolled the deaths of pioneer settlers, and warned our village in times of fire and peril.” The bell is currently displayed on the south side of the church parking lot. In 2014, a carillon was installed in the current bell tower, once again calling people to prayer and worship, and tolling for weddings and funerals.
Trinity Wilmette’s inspiring Gothic revival-style building was designed by Chicago architects Granger and Bollenbocher in a style inspired by the cathedrals of Europe. They also designed Indiana University’s Administration Building and Memorial Union, as well as the Chicago Club.
The 1929 Stock Market Crash halted the completion of many interior details and furnishings planned for the current building. Over the next two decades, church members made donations in honor of loved ones to provide decorative items, including many beautiful stained glass windows.
The majestic stained glass window in the Sanctuary façade was created in 1954 by the twentieth century’s preeminent manufacturer, Henry Lee Willet of Philadelphia. It depicts Christ sending his disciples into all the world to share the gospel.
The 1990 Christmas classic film, Home Alone, features the front of Trinity Wilmette in two scenes, one when actor McCauley Culkin sees the church and runs into it while fleeing the burglars who tried to break into his family’s home, and a second scene where he hides from the burglars in the Nativity Scene on the church’s lawn.
Trinity Wilmette’s organ is one of the finest instruments in the Chicago area, a 63-rank Reuter, adding to the exhilaration of worship and concerts throughout the year.
Trinity Wilmette’s annual “Pumpkin Patch” fundraiser supports Native Americans who grow the pumpkins in New Mexico. Pumpkins sales benefit 15 charitable causes in the community and beyond.