TRINITY AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Formerly
GEORGE R. COLLINS MEMORIAL AME CHURCH
1866
Rev. Henderson, a minister of the British Methodist Church of Canada organized a congregation as “a societyâ
€�…the Independent Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866, which is now known as Trinity African Methodist
Episcopal Church and formerly George R. Collins Memorial AME Church of Lansing, Michigan. During the post-
Civil War years, the congregation held its meetings in the Freewill Baptist Church at Kalamazoo and Capitol
Ave.  It was described as the first African American and integrated church in the Lansing Area.  It is stated that â
€œthe first church was in the vanguard of civilization. It was indeed among the pioneers in finding a haven of
rest for the weary slaves long before the memorable edict of the assassinated President Lincoln.  It was
responsible, more than once, for safe conduct of many who fled the south for freedom by way of the Underground
Railroadâ€�.  That location housed the congregation until they had raised $300, enough money to purchase a
small frame building, which was placed on property at 109 N. Pine Street. The first Trustee Board was comprised
of interracial members.

In 1877, construction was begun on the congregation’s brick and block building.  This structure was utilized
by the congregation as a house of worship for eighty-eight (88) years.  During the tenure of Rev. George R.
Collins, the original mortgage was paid, the first parsonage was erected and completed, the church building was
remodeled and stained-glass windows were installed.  It was following these improvements and growth that the
church was named the George R. Collins AME Church.

The development of the State of Michigan Capitol Complex necessitated the relocation of the church.  
Subsequent to the sale of the treasured downtown location of the church, a 10 acre tract of land was purchased
at the intersection of Holmes Road and Averill Drive, the site of the present structure.  On October 17, 1965,
ground was broken and the cornerstone was laid for the current church edifice.   Of special note:  Mrs. Blanche
Miller, organist, was the only member of the church to be present at the placing of the cornerstone of both
church structures.  She also was organist for Collins Memorial AME when that cornerstone was laid in 1905 at
109 N. Pine Street.  Construction of the new church was completed within two (2) years, and the congregation
held its first worship service in the new church in April, 1967.  The congregation elected to change the name of
the new building to Trinity AME Church, a name with religious significance.  Prominent in the architectural
design of Trinity AME are the twelve (12) gables—representing the twelve disciples.

The construction of a new parsonage was undertaken in June, 1978 and in May of 1979 Rev. Edgar L. Vann, Sr.
and his family became the first residents of the new parsonage.

Resources: Lansing State Journal, October 1965, Trinity AME Church Archives,
Researched by: Mary Jane McGuire, with assistance of Margaret Brown
Photos: Courtesy Capital Area District Library
LAAAGS Celebrates Lansing's 150 Years
LANSING'S FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN
CHURCH
GEORGE R. COLLINS MEMORIAL AME CHURCH
1866
An Organization at GEORGE R. COLLINS
MEMORIAL AME CHURCH
109 North Pine Street
Lansing, Michigan