Our Story

Trinity Wilmette is a United Methodist congregation, initially founded on March 24, 1874, to serve the newly incorporated farm community of Wilmette, then a village of 400 residents. Parishioners shared a Victorian frame church at the corner of Wilmette and Lake Avenues with several Protestant congregations for two years, until the Methodists purchased the building.

By the early 1900s, the growing congregation required a larger facility, so they built a Romanesque brick structure on the site, completed in 1908. They saved the bronze bell from the original building, which tolled to announce services, honor the departed, and warn neighbors of fire. Over the next 20 years, Wilmette emerged as a suburb of 15,000 residents connected to Chicago by rail. When the congregation needed an even larger building, they hired the architectural firm Granger and Bollenbacher to design an inspiring Gothic revival stone structure.  Dedicated in 1929, the beautiful building serves as the congregation’s home today.    

Trinity Wilmette has hosted many local activities and organizations over its long history. Since 1918, the church has sponsored Boy Scout Troop 3 in a dedicated lodge-styled meeting room fitted with log benches and a large stone fireplace. In 1969, the church opened a nursery school as an outreach to families in the community.  Today, Trinity Wilmette hosts over fifteen community and social service groups, including the SamaraCare Counseling Center, the Wilmette Food Pantry, and Alcoholics Anonymous, as part of its mission to bring healing and hope.

Renowned for its outstanding music and choir, Trinity Wilmette offers numerous public concerts throughout the year. The church’s magnificent Reuter organ was dedicated in 2001. A carillon was installed inside the church’s tower in 2014 to chime throughout the day and for special occasions.

On the occasion of Trinity’s centennial in 1974, senior pastor Rev. Dr. Bill Dunkle proclaimed “worship is the center of our life and work” which does not “fear to be innovative and experimental.” Today, Trinity Wilmette continues to promote growing and active faith, inspiring worship, and meaningful service opportunities for all ages. Join us!