First Presbyterian and Trinity has a proud history of commitment to inclusion, diversity, and social justice. Following is text copied from the website of the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, written in 2010 about First and Trinity’s former pastor, Rev. Charles Thompson, who, with Judy Thompson, served First and Trinity and its surrounding communities from 1977 to 2010.
Charles worked with members of the church in ways that would serve the racially and culturally diverse population in Essex County. At the time of his retirement the South Orange church’s membership was composed of Asian-Americans from China, Korea, and Taiwan, African-Americans from Africa, the Caribbean and the United States, all equal in number to the Caucasian members. In the Presbyterian Church nationally such a mix is very uncommon. In the 1980s when African-Americans in South Orange and Maplewood were being systematically harassed in a variety of ways, Charles worked with other community leaders to support the residents being terrorized as well as identify those who were doing the terrorizing.
Over the years, under Rev. Thompson’s leadership, First Presbyterian and Trinity was the host to community meetings on resolving racial conflicts as well as to the Community Coalition on Race’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance. Charles also worked with an interfaith group to develop the annual Holocaust Memorial Service. He has also been involved in designing and participating in many interfaith dialogues involving Christians, Jews, and Muslims.