Out of concern for his own advancing years and how long his good health would continue, Dr. Greenwald recommended to Vestry that an assistant be called. He recommended the Reverend Charles L. Fry, who he described as a young man of fine talents, with a first class education, devoted piety, affable manner, active zeal, a sound Lutheran and a good speaker. Further, Dr. Greenwald offered to fund half of the assistant’s salary from his own salary.
On September 1, 1881, Rev. Fry was installed as Assistant Pastor of Trinity Church. His first task was to take the lead in arranging a fitting program to honor Dr. Greenwald on the completion of fifty years in the ministry. The following year, due to the deteriorating health of Dr. Greenwald, Pastor Fry was required to assume additional responsibility. To compensate, the senior pastor proposed that he share a portion of his income with his assistant, and Vestry urged that they settle the matter between themselves. In 1883, the people of Trinity participated in a rich spiritual experience of celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther. The next congregational event of importance occurred on Monday, December 21, 1885 with the tolling of bells announcing the death of Dr. Greenwald at age 75. Burial was at Woodward Hill Cemetery.
After five years of serving as Assistant Pastor, Rev. Fry was elected to serve as the thirteenth senior pastor of Trinity Church. He was installed on February 14, 1886 by his father, Dr. Jacob F. Fry, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading. That same year the congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary. Although Trinity’s history as an organization dates back to 1730, it was not until 1736 that the church had its first elected pastor, thus Vestry decided to celebrate at this later date. That year also saw an increasing sense of stewardship. A large sum was contributed to the Philadelphia Seminary, which was preparing to move to new facilities, and a fund drive for a new organ was started. Vestry turned down other proposals, such as memorial windows and new lighting that used electricity, but a more liberal attitude did allow entertainment and a festival in the chapel, for which admission was charged. 1887 saw the installation of the new organ designed by Hilborne Roosevelt. It retained the original case, and was claimed to be the largest organ between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. An effort to improve the interior of the church in 1893, especially the unsightly condition of the wall at the rear of the pulpit, resulted in a feature not originally contemplated …. the painting of “The Resurrection” mural by Henry Kepple Beck.
After serving Trinity Church for almost twenty years, in November 1900, Rev. Fry informed Vestry that he had decided to accept a call to St. Luke’s Church in Philadelphia.
Lloyd E. Bull, Property Committee Chairperson