A BRIEF HISTORY OF TRINITY UNITED
Trinity Presbyterian Church began as a new church development of the Stockton Presbytery in 1962 by a group of individuals who were members of the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Modesto. A well-established church founded in the late 19th century by a Presbyterian missionary, First Presbyterian's landmark facility housed a gym, indoor swimming pool, pipe organ and a 750-seat sanctuary.
When Trinity formed, George Telle was called as founding pastor and his fledgling congregation initially met in a rented warehouse at 1005 Carver Road. A bar next door was used for child care and Sunday School. The growing church thrived and the space quickly became too small. It was so overrun with people that the high school Sunday School class met outside with folding chairs in the dirt parking lot. The church moved to its current location in April 1966. The original sanctuary (now classrooms) and Cooper Hall, which houses Trinity Nursery School, comprised the initial buildings.
By the early 1970s, First Presbyterian Church was an aging church with a facility that no longer met earthquake and fire safety regulations. Retrofitting the building was cost-prohibitive and so with heavy hearts, the congregation chose to disband and merge with Trinity Presbyterian. The newly merged congregations re-named Trinity to include this unification and the modern day Trinity United Presbyterian was born on January 1, 1973. The sale of First Presbyterian's facility and land funded the construction of the main office and Covell Hall in 1974.
George Telle continued on as a co-pastor with Wilson Yost, the pastor of First Presbyterian. Rev. Yost stayed on at Trinity until 1979 when he accepted another call and Rev. Telle served TUPC until his retirement. Our newest building on site, the Telle Center, was named for George and his wife, Margaret, who faithfully served our congregation until 1980.
Upon Rev. Telle's retirement, Rev. Steve Hanna was called to serve as the senior pastor. As the church continued to grow, Rev. Dave Kerr and Rev. C. Lee Heim were called as assistant pastors in 1982 and then made associate pastors in 1983. The 1980s saw a quickly growing church crowding into its aging (and leaky) sanctuary and in 1988, the current sanctuary was constructed. The old sanctuary was converted into a chapel and infant center for Trinity Nursery School. The chapel was later converted into classrooms.
In 2008, Rev. Dave Kerr accepted a change of call to become co-pastor with Steve Hanna. The church also began its most recent physical expansion with the construction of the Telle Center and Youth Center. As our church continues to grow and thrive, we are excited by the next phases at TUPC and recall with great fondness the history that brought us to where we are now. This included the pioneering of a new Contemporary-styled worship service in late 2009!
In 2013, Rev. Steve Hanna retired from over thirty years as a pastor at Trinity. Pastor Dave transitioned into the role of Lead Pastor of Trinity simultaneously, continuing our strong tradition of developing fully-devoted followers of Jesus and placing an emphasis on being a transformational community. Also in 2013, the congregation voted to graciously separate from the PC(USA) and be dismissed to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) denomination. You can read more about ECO here.