I won’t say they saved the best for last during my Sunday visitation at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church – Covina, CA. It was a moment in keeping with a day that felt deeply holy from the moment I stepped into the parish’s lovingly maintained courtyard and saw the freshly planted, rain-kissed petunias.

After lunch, the Rev. Steve De Muth, rector since 2018 but rooted in the parish beginning years before, took a few members and me to Holy Trinity’s one-time children’s chapel, now fashioned into a meticulous homage to the chapel at Mission San Diego de Alcala. It’s been the work of a decade, with the finishing touches added recently.

Those who accompanied Steve and me on the tour are former members of St. Martha’s Episcopal Church in West Covina. A mid-20th century architectural showpiece with a small congregation and burgeoning repair costs, it was closed and sold by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in 2014. Many former members of the St. Martha’s congregation moved to Holy Trinity that January along with a beloved image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was installed in the chapel, now site of a weekly Spanish language service Sundays at 12:15 p.m. All the improvements in the chapel seem to make the turquoise in Our Lady’s tilma glow even brighter. It feels like a church within a church.

Back in the church proper, one of the prettiest in the diocese, designed by the same architect as the Mission Inn in Riverside, my main event was the day’s bilingual service featuring the splendid Holy Trinity choir under the direction of Garrett John Law. Trinity’s liturgy is high church; Steve is careful not to say Anglo-Catholic. Since I was saying mass and preaching, he served as deacon and the Rev. Bill Peyton, always a friendly, pastoral presence, as subdeacon. Nine-year-old trumpet player and fourth grader Ian Hernandez, whose family comprises a strong pillar of Trinity, was my able chaplain, earning distinction for speedy assembly of Bishop Francis Eric Bloy’s crozier. Junior warden Pat Gross and his spouse, Susan, collaborated so smoothly as ushers that I was surprised to learn they had just gotten married two years ago.

Worship at Holy Trinity, always carefully executed, looks and sounds beautiful. The congregation is hearty, friendly, and diverse. In four services, including one that Fr. Steve conducts every single Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Masonic Home, it welcomes 100 a week.

A marketing consultant would say you could do with less chanting and incense and probably cut down on dry cleaning with all those vestments. Attention spans are so short these days! But when you are contending with the norm-shattering mystery of Resurrection, as Christians always do and especially in these 50 days of Eastertide, smells and bells and descants reaching for high Cs do help unveil the heart of the risen Christ. During and after church, four people asked for prayers in connection with devastating illness or sudden death in their families. What do you do with such loss at Easter? Sing the old songs, say the old prayers. Holy oil and hugs. Invoke the impossible reality that he is risen and all things will be well. A Sunday at Holy Trinity makes you feel that way every time. Learn more here.