Water main break causes major damage to historical North Side church in Bethlehem

Trinity Episcopal Church, Bethlehem, PA
Posted Jan 4, 2024

Mud residue in basement hallway.

In the early hours on Tuesday, December 26 a water main break in front of Trinity Episcopal Church at 44 East Market Street caused major damage to the church building. Water from the break flowed underneath the street and sidewalk and entered the church through the basement and lower level resulting in 5 feet of water and mud filling classrooms.

Numerous major cracks in the walls, including the sanctuary developed, both outside and inside the church. Subsequent settling of the structure was significant enough to cause numerous door frames to settle onto the doors, leaving them unable to be opened.

City of Bethlehem crews came on site to repair the water main. Church officials brought in structural engineers to inspect the building and on their recommendation the building has been sealed off until a thorough damage assessment can be done. City officials have posted warning signs on each door, and the church will remain closed in the interim.

This is the second major water main break in front of the church to cause substantial physical damage to the church facility in the past six years, and the third since 2013. In each case significant water damage was done to both the church and neighbors. Trinity Episcopal Church is a designated historical building as are many of the neighboring homes.

Damage to interior nave.

It is unclear as to when the building will be accessible for use due to the significant repairs required for long term safety.

For an indefinite time, Trinity Episcopal Church building cannot be used for any purpose, including the parking lot. Please contact the church at communications@trinitybeth.org for information of time and location of future worship services.