Alton Barnes was born July 12, 1929 To the late Littleton and Elnora James Barnes in Wilson, North Carolina. Alton Barnes loved sports and at the age of nine he became the boxing champion at his school. He also excelled in baseball, football and track. Later he transferred to Darden High School.

In the early forties, his parents moved the family to New York City, where he attended P.S.164 and graduated to George Washington High School. Alton had to leave school early to work; traditionally, all the men in his family worked in construction and he followed suit. In the late forties, the direction of Alton’s life was headed for a great change. This story began with two young inseparable sisters, Dorothy and Lucille Lambert. Upon the demise of their parents, the two sisters moved to Brooklyn, New York. Where Dorothy Lambert saw a young man standing on a corner and she was bold enough to make the prediction that she would marry the young man standing on that particular corner in Brooklyn, New York. Two years later in December of 1948, Dorothy Lambert married that man and his Name was Alton Barnes.

Dorothy’s sister, Lucille was the first to meet and accept the Lord as her savior at Holy Trinity COGIC Brooklyn New York under the leadership of the late Bishop Frank Cook. Dorothy was next and Lucille’s husband Benjamin next; being in love with the Lord and her husband too, she wanted him to join her in worshiping the Lord. Dorothy began to volunteer her husband for everything that the men of the church were doing and because he loved her, he would show up. One Sunday morning the altar call was made and one of the mother’s asked Alton if he would like to receive prayer he answered “Yes, Mam” and that was the day Alton Barnes accepted Christ as his personal savior and that is the day a great change happened in Alton’s life. Together they had a zeal for more of the Lord and were willing to learn and do whatever was needed at the church. They served their Pastor Bishop Cook faithfully.

In December of 1966, Rev. Barnes answered the call of the Lord to move to New Haven, CT to open a mission. After much fasting and praying , he was led by the Lord to a store front located at 203 Legion Avenue. He held his first business meeting on Friday, January 18, 1967 for the purpose of organizing a church. They prayerfully sought God for a name for the church, Mother Leslie Richardson spoke out saying God gave her the name Holy Trinity. The name “Holy Trinity” was accepted. On Sunday, February 20, 1967, Holy Trinity held their first service. God blessed with four members other than Elder and Sister Barnes. On April 7, 1967, Bishop Frank Cook and Bishop C.H Brewer Sr. the Connecticut State Bishop officially opened and dedicated Holy Trinity COGIC to the Lord.

Rev Barnes, having a zeal for knowledge about Christ was led to attend and graduate from the New York Theological Seminary at 235 East 49th Street New York, New York, in November of 1969. January 1970 God enabled Holy Trinity to move to 85 Greenwood Street, where the Church grew in membership due to the love shown by Elder and Sister Barnes. Elder Barnes had such a love for young people, an approachable spirit and a fatherly temperament and Sister Barnes was so confident, so graceful and a special charming spirit and also a great cook. They were very sociable with their church family. Often they would invite the church to their home for fun, games, eating and learning about the love of God. Their house was a safe space for everyone.

September 1, 1986 the city took the land where Holy Trinity was, to build the Route 34 Connector. During this time, Holy Trinity rented space from MT. Calvary Holiness Church, where Bishop Perkins was Pastor. Holy Trinity rented space until the Lord blessed Elder Barnes to convert his five-car garage at 135 Winthrop Avenue into a Church.

On Sunday, June 21, 1987, Bishop C.H Brewer Jr, Connecticut’s First Jurisdictional Bishop officiated at the Dedicatory service. God blessed and the membership grew.

Elder Barnes was taking on more responsibilities within the Jurisdiction and the National Church. He served as the Jurisdiction Secretary, Jurisdictional District Superintendent and was appointed by the General Council of Pastors and Elders in 1989 as Judiciary Committee Chairman for the National Council. Rev Barnes held many other National positions.

In January 1993, Elder Barnes became involved with an alternative house for first-time and lesser offenders called Crossroads. The members of this house were at serious crossroads in their lives. He held Bible study groups, worked with them to reach educational goals, helped them gain knowledge about different careers and find employment. Elder Barnes had a thirst for souls. In February of 1993, he noticed that the devil as a roaring lion was waging war on New Haven’s youth with drugs. A group of young people from Holy Trinity were awarded a grant at the State Capitol by Richard Blumenthal, the State Attorney General to raise community awareness with drug protection projects headed by young people like ” Drugs Don’t Work – Kids Do, Say No to Drugs”. Elder Barnes was always one who wanted to spread the gospel in any way he could, so he had the first floor of his house at 131 Greenwood Street converted into a youth center with the help of the church. This was a space where young people in the neighborhood could come and take part in different activities that were SAFE and away from drugs and gangs. Elder Barnes believed in young people and started training them in different areas of the church.

Being inspired by God and his wife Dorothy, God directed and made provision; in 1997 to start building the current Holy Trinity COGIC. God used friends and members to get the work done. Elder Barnes himself was one of the masons to lay the bricks. On Saturday, February 12, 2000, Bishop J.P. Morgan, Jurisdictional prelate of Massachusetts No. 2 dedicated Holy Trinity COGIC.

Elder and Sister Barnes continued to be an inspiration for many people. On June 3, 2007, the Lord called Sister Dorothy Barnes home to glory. Elder Barnes lost the love of his life. They were married for 59 and a half years.

Elder Barnes, seeing the many needs of the community, started having lunches made and taken to feed the homeless. In winter, giving out warm coats, hats and gloves. In summer having breakfast every Saturday morning to the community. Summer Bible school and camps. A monthly prayer group of ministers throughout the state was started. Thanksgiving dinner and baskets were given to families in need.

Elder Barnes followed the model of the National Church by having a Christmas in August; where school supplies, clothing, shoes, household items and food were given away free of charge to the community. He started a food pantry that was open to supply food to families in need with just a phone call, Provided a meal to guest that came to service, provided a welcome bag to guest to show we care, having a fund called “We Care” to help members during times of sickness, death and other needs. This is only a small list of things that have been done over the years. Elder Barnes was part of the New Haven Ministerial Alliance, a group of clergymen that helped get things started in the community by being the community spokesmen to the mayor and aldermen.

In 2008, Rev. Barnes sought the help of Elder Amos Kemper, the National Prayer Evangelist to start the First New England Prayer Clinic. People of all walks of life were welcome to come and learn more about prayer and their relationship with God. The theme being, “Why Pray?” Meaningful sessions were held day and night along with a light lunch and dinner. You were fed naturally and spiritually.

In 2019, Rev. Barnes was blessed to Marry Sister Bernice Walker of New Deliverance GOGIC, Waterbury Ct. Her Pastor was the Late Alfred Warren. From the start of their marriage; Sister Walker-Barnes took her marriage vows to heart and changed Rev Barnes’ meals to healthy meals and made sure he took his medicine on time, she was by his side working in the ministry. Because of her strength and encouragement, Rev. Barnes was able to continue in ministry. Rev. Barnes often stated Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtain favor of the Lord. He sure did find a good thing in Sister Bernice Walker-Barnes.

To Cherish his memory he leaves his wife, Bernice Walker-Barnes, 1 Sister Elnora Tisdale of Ansonia CT, 1 nephew, who he raised, Eric Jones, 1 special Nephew, who was very close Robert Smith. A host of nieces, nephews, Members of Holy Trinity COGIC and friends.

Rev. Barnes was predeceased by 1 Sister Joann Walker-King, 5 Brothers Wesley, Raymond, Littleton Jr. James and David.

Rev. Barnes has helped so many people and done so many great things over the years. He has remained true to His Motto ” Follow me as I Follow Christ for I Love the Lord with my whole being. I am because He Is”

A Celebration of Rev. Barnes’ life and legacy will be held Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 11:00 A.M. at Holy Trinity C.O.G.I.C., 139 Winthrop Ave., New Haven.  A viewing will be held at the church from 9:00-11:00 AM. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, 769 Ella T. Grasso Blvd., New Haven, CT.  The Celebration of Life will be livestreamed via the following link: