Trinity Community Church (TCC) has a long, rich history; we have been a part of Knoxville for nearly 40 years but known by many as Trinity Chapel. While we are currently in the midst of moving towards our fourth location, our vision remains the same. We are a grace-based community of dedicated followers of Jesus who share the mission of gathering those called into His kingdom. Here’s our story.
Trinity grew out of the Charismatic Movement when the Holy Spirit swept through Knoxville in early 1970. Many people previously involved in traditional churches were awakened to a fuller work of the Holy Spirit including experiencing the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. As a result, a group of believers from one of these churches began a new fellowship. In 1974, they came together, to study Scripture and pray in one another’s homes. By January of 1975, they had outgrown these small spaces and began meeting at the Volunteers of America Chapel on Church Street.
God began to give a vision to these believers to establish a new kind of church…HIS church where men and women of God would be taught about the present work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord soon gave them a Scriptural foundation for His new church: “Who were born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:1-3). Trinity Chapel was born and named for Father God, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God blessed the ministry and, in April of 1975, Trinity Chapel was officially chartered as a non-profit organization. In the autumn of 1975, Jack Wright, Charlie Riggs, Hugh Brashear and Harold Rutherford were ordained as the first elders.
God continued to bless and soon Trinity outgrew their first location in the Volunteers of America building. They purchased a former Baptist church for $76,000 and in August of 1976 Trinity Chapel moved into the building located on Deadrick Avenue. In the early years, Hugh Brashear and Charlie Riggs did most of the preaching, and Jack Wright led the worship. In time, Russ Porcella (who later founded New Covenant Fellowship in Knoxville) became a part of the fellowship and, for many years, he taught the adults on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary.
However, Trinity still needed a Pastor, an official leader of this flock of believers. David Kithcart and Don Estes served as interim pastors, and the Lord began to bless tremendously. People came from long distances to be a part of our worship. On Sunday night, the sanctuary would fill completely. Many people would go to their traditional church on Sunday morning and come to Trinity on Sunday night. In time, we bought several adjoining lots for parking and then paved the front lawn and rear. In April of 1984 Steve Fatow accepted the position of Senior Pastor and served in that position for 27 years.
God used Steve and his wife Sandi’s commitment along with a team of elders to undergird the growth of Trinity Chapel. Steve’s work with evangelistic crusades in other countries led to untold thousands of people coming to salvation through Jesus. Sandi’s work in local evangelism and with Bill Glass prison ministry also brought forth much fruit. As they labored here with the elder team, many people were saved, introduced to the power of the Holy Spirit, delivered and healed during our years in the Deadrick Avenue building. We planted several churches in the area, yet Trinity continued to grow. We were outgrowing that facility and the leadership team felt we needed to relocate.
After looking into many possible locations, 47 acres of land on Haynes Sterchi Road was found…but it was not for sale. Jack Wright went to visit with the owner and, after a bit of negotiating (and God’s great urging!), the owner decided to sell it to us for a drastically reduced rate. On March 13, 2000, the land sale was finalized. The building construction began in October of 2000, and we held our first service on Sunday, December 9th of 2001. Besides serving as the home for our weekly services, the facility has been home to a Bible College, healing ministries, a Home School Cooperative, Regional Christian Conferences, seminars and many other types of ministry to believers and unbelievers.
In 2011, the leadership of Trinity Chapel asked Neil Silverberg to come and be the Senior Pastor of Trinity. In June of 2011, the transition was complete and now God has brought Neil with his many years of ministry and leadership experience, authentic love for people, and excellent teaching ministry to Trinity Chapel. Steve Fatow continues to be a dear friend and ministers around the world in crusades and blesses churches with his God given gifts. In 2012, we planted a church in West Knoxville, sending Adam and Sarah Lutts along with the Fatows and a group of members to expand the kingdom. In 2013, the elder Team of Trinity Chapel began to sense God was moving Trinity in a new direction to become more effective in reaching the lost for Jesus Christ and experiencing authentic Christian community. We understood the need to adjust our approach to equip the saints and reach our neighborhoods in the 21st century.
In January, 2014, we introduced our new name: Trinity Community Church, as well as our new approach to reach and establish God’s kingdom. Our vision and values remain the same; our ways of how we come together to experience community, discipleship and mission have been adjusted to reflect the culture. We now come together as House Churches, Community Churches and City Church (for more info, click the “About Us” tab). Also read Neil Silverberg’s blog “Why the Relaunch”.
Be a part of our new beginning as God writes the next chapter of Trinity Community Church. We believe God’s finest hours for His followers remain ahead. We invite you to share the vision and join us on the journey to further build and establish His kingdom in Knoxville, the Southeast Region and throughout the world! Together, we can make a difference as we build His kingdom!