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Rev. George L. Cooper; 1st Minister (1921 - 1930)

Rev. George L. Cooper; 1st Minister (1921 - 1930)


Rev. George L. Cooper; 1st Minister (1921 - 1930) residence 820 Green St

On May 16, 1921 the former Second Presbyterian church was re-organized as the Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. Reverend R. S. Carson served as part-time pastor for the first five months until Rev. Cooper was called as the first full-time minister. Although we do not know Cooper’s early education and history, we know several names were added to the rolls his first couple of years. Rev. Cooper was married to Miss Carrie Hammett in July 1922 and she was a great help to him. Mr. Cooper put an extra effort into a membership drive in late 1923. The financial situation had reached a dangerous point. Rev. Cooper visited the Big Brothers Men’s Bible Class at the First Church, and as a result of prayer and a passionate pleas, a delegation of 38 members moved their membership to Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church in January 1924.

On January 30, 1924 church leaders Henry Carr and L.D. Kirkland were given the authority to proceed in the exchange of the present church site for a lot on the southeast corner of Trinity and Gregson Street. This exchange went through smoothly and a building committee was elected. Rose and Rose were the architects and Norman Underwood was the contractor for the new building for which the cornerstone was laid later in 1924. Rev. Cooper held the first service in the new Sanctuary on Sunday, October 6, 1925 inviting Dr. Frank S. Hickman, minister to the Chapel at Duke as speaker for this occasion.

Rev. Cooper took the responsibility of personally publishing The Trinity Avenue Visitor, the church’s first newsletter, which sold advertisements from local merchants, featured words of inspiration, and reported on sickness and happenings in members’ lives. In 1927 he urges 100 percent attendance and 100 percent increase in membership. When he retired in 1930, Trinity Avenue Presbyterian was firmly established as an important force in the Durham community.

Rev. Cooper visited with the congregation on May 16, 1943 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the re-organization of Pearl Mill Mission to Trinity Avenue Presbyterian. His sermon topic for this anniversary was “The Power of Prayer.”

Written by Sally M. Adkin January 2016 drawing from, Historical Sketch of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC 1893-1939 by Mrs. Mary Lou Carr and added to by Mrs. L.C. Oldman.

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