Programs and Ministries


Society for Promoting Religion and Learning | Center for Ethics and Corporate PolicyOffice of Special Parish Ministries | Trinity Concerts

Programs and Ministries, 1802-2010


Society for Promoting Religion and Learning

1802-1982, 23 boxes or 11.5 linear feet plus oversize

Historical Note:

The Protestant Episcopal Society for Promoting Religion and Learning in the State of New York (SPRL) was founded by Trinity Church in 1802 for the purpose of supporting an informed clergy. The Vestry endowed the Society with properties from the Church Farm and required that it report annually to the Vestry on its proceedings. Over the years, the SPRL fulfilled its goals by providing financial assistance, professorial chairs, and/or fellowships to Hobart College, Columbia University, the General Theological Seminary, and St. Stephen’s College, Annandale

In 1978, the SPRL appointed the Committee to Study the Viability of the Society to review its purpose and suggest possible changes. The Committee recommended that the Society be dissolved and that its assets be distributed. The SPRL disbanded in 1981 and its funds were provided to the General Theological Seminary for a professorial chair and a visiting professorship, to the Hobart College Chaplaincy, to the Episcopal Mission Society, to the Diocese of New York, and to the McVickar prize fund at Trinity School.

Scope and Content Note:

This series contains a complete set of minutes from 1802 to 1981. There are also files dating from 1871 to dissolution in 1982. In addition to the minutes, the files contain the charter and bylaws, financial files, real estate files, Grants, and liquidation files. 


Center for Ethics and Corporate Policy 

1981-1990, 13.5 boxes or 6.75 linear feet

Historical Note:

The Rev. Francis C. Huntington, a curate of Trinity Church, began a ministry specifically geared to Wall Street in 1967.  Trinity Church supported this effort through 1973 when a financial downturn curtailed work in the neighborhood.  Afterwards Trinity supported Downtown Ministries which carried on Huntington’s Wall Street mission. In 1978, the Reverend Dr. Parks decided to create a ministry tailored to Wall Street Corporations.  He contacted the Center for Ethics and Social Policy at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California for inspiration in developing a program.  Under the auspices of the Vestry Outreach Committee, a two year pilot program was launched in 1981.  The first stage was a time of development: meeting with Trinity clergy and staff, then with academia, then with the Corporate world.  After this period of discussing, listening and learning, the Outreach Vestry Committee recommended to the Board that they proceed to Stage II which dealt with the organization of the Center. 

In June 1984, the Vestry recommended that the Center for Ethics and Corporate Policy be made a permanent outreach ministry of Trinity Church.  Richard Vanasse was appointed the first Assistant Director.  Vannasse resigned after only a few months and David L. Schmidt became Assistant Director in 1985.  That same year the Vestry decided that its passive investment policy was not suited to their “tumultuous times” and asked Schmidt to make a report.  The vestry approved his “Policy “Relating to Trinity’s Social Responsibility in Investments” in November of 1985.  One of the recommendations was to divest all holdings in apartheid South Africa.

In January 1987, William F. May, Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration of New York University became the Director of the Center for Ethics.  By the end of the year, May resigned the directorship and the Assistant Director David P. Schmidt was promoted to Director.  In 1989 the Center for Ethics and Corporate Policy created an AIDS Task Force to develop a dialogue with corporations to deal with AIDS in the workplace.  David Schmidt resigned as Director in May of 1989.  The Center for Ethics was discontinued as Trinity redirected its funding toward a new outreach initiative The Special Parish Studies Program, a cooperative effort between Episcopal leaders along with public, private and not for profit sectors. 

Scope and Content Note:

The files from this series are all from the office of David P. Schmidt.  See also Vestry minutes and Outreach Committee Minutes.


Office of Special Parish Ministries

1982-1988, 8.25 boxes, 3.5 linear feet

Historical Note: 

The Office of Special Parish Ministries was created by the Rector Dr. Parks and the Vestry in 1983 as a formal outlet for the continuation of existing outreach ministries, and for exploring and developing new areas for outreach ministries. The Office was under the Directorship of the Reverend John M. Palmer III, who had been doing similar work for Trinity as Christian Education Officer since 1979. The office was staffed by Palmer, with support from a secretary and from consultants as needed. The initial main outreach areas were identified as: aging, homeless and housing, education resources, the criminal justice system, arms control, Christian family relations, and advocacy. The Frederic Fleming House grew out of the Office of Special Parish Ministries, and the Office was instrumental in the support of Saint Margaret’s House and creation of John Heuss House. The Office of Special Parish Ministries was especially active in holding colloquies, weekend-long conferences on subjects within the office’s outreach areas. Reverend Palmer served as Director of the Office until he resigned in 1986, at which point the Office’s work continued under the supervision of consultants already on staff. Around 1990, the projects supported by the office broke off to individually recognized areas and the Office of Special Parish Ministries was phased out.

Scope and Content Note: 

Files include internal and external correspondence, promotional materials, and office and project files. Files document the organization and execution of the office’s various projects, both realized and unrealized. Especially well-documented are the several colloquies organized and held by the office. Of particular note are files related to the office’s involvement with ministry to the homeless and aging, which documents its relationship with Frederick Fleming House, John Heuss House, and St. Margaret’s House. 

Trinity Concerts 

1996-2010, 1 box or .5 linear feet

In December 1996, the Concerts Program was made independent of the Music Department with Earl Tucker as Director.  In 2003, Concerts became incorporated as a not-for-profit to facilitate financial independence and accountability.  Trinity Concerts, Inc was dissolved in 2010.

Scope and Content Note:

The records contain programs and schedules for Concerts at Noon and Concerts to Go.