RAWHWAY – Trinity UMC in Rahway has been in existence since 1849. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in the city and its building is considered a city landmark. During the celebration of its 167th year of existence in October 2016, Rahway Mayor Samson D. Steinman graced the occasion and congratulated the church and its congregants for continuing God’s work, and for its active involvement in the community. District Superintendent Manolo Sardinas delivered a compassionate and challenging message and copies of a special Anniversary Edition of the church newsletter, The Circuit Rider, were distributed.
For the past several years, the church has been ministering to the community and the surrounding areas through a variety of outreach endeavors. These include nursing home and hospital visitations and providing hot meals to the homeless.
During the summer, the church opens its doors to hold a free clinic for free blood sugar and blood pressure testing and check-ups. As a tradition, church members give out free hot chocolate and snacks to people who go to the yearly Christmas Tree Lighting festivities at the Rahway City Hall. Sometimes congregants go to the Veterans Home in Woodbridge and other hospitals to distribute gifts to the residents for Christmas. In continuing the project organized by Pastor Michael Anthony Howard three years ago, during winter the church is host to around 15-20 homeless people once a month in cooperation with Elizabeth Housing Coalition. Through the church’s “Operation Warm Heart” ministry, homeless are nourished with physical and spiritual food and clothing, treated to a movie and given a warm place to sleep for the night. Church members also try to encourage and help those who are willing to work through training, assisting or recommending them for possible employment to alleviate their hardships.
The church’s “Solid Rock Cafe” coffee shop is another outreach, open to all. The ministry started nearly a decade ago to continue a ministry which Trinity UMC Church Secretary and Music Director, Earle Roy C. Villalva, left in his home city in the Philippines after migrating to New Jersey in 1993. During the last Friday of every other month, the church’s youth and adults invite friends, classmates and others to come and enjoy a night of music, warm fellowship, games, share their musical talents and good food. They invite and feature other church’s praise teams or singing groups to lead in providing the music for the night. Here people are given the opportunity to share and experience the love of Christ in a format and venue which is not that of a traditional church worship setting. Trinity is blessed with a lot of musical talents and with people who are faithful, dedicated and gladly used by the Lord.
On April 7, congregants gathered in front of the church to dedicate a new lighted sign donated by the oldest member of the church, 93-year-old Ms. Helen Underwood and her family.
“This is truly a sign and a symbol of God’s faithfulness and goodness,” said Villalva. “A long-awaited wish come true for sister Helen and the people of Trinity UMC in Rahway.”