THE HISTORY OF CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

The story of Christ Episcopal Church began on a Saturday evening in September, 1868. Residents of East Orange, interested in establishing Episcopal Services in the neighborhood, met at the railroad depot then known as “Orange Junction”. The response was favorable and a committee was organized and recommended the purchase of a lot and the erection of a temporary building. For thirteen months, services were held in the schoolroom of the Reverend V.G. Mulholland, who provided space and services free of charge.

The building goals were accomplished in two years. In 1870, on this very lot that we now occupy, a small wooden chapel was erected. The contract for that building was awarded for $5750.00. The building was large enough to accommodate 65 pews seating 233 persons, as recorded in minutes of January 5, 1871. Enlargements to the building occurred in 1874, 1880, 1883 and 1886, evidencing steady growth of our church. Expansions included the rectory and parish hall that were built adjacent to the church.

The organ fund reached $1947.00 and by June, 1874 the organ had been installed in the church. Interest in good music has been part of the church's history since the beginning.

Sadly, on Sunday, December 23, 1888, fire totally destroyed the building. Undaunted, the congregation met for two years at Commonwealth Hall. The new building was completed in 1891 in time for Easter Services to be celebrated there on March 29th. This newly constructed cathedral-like church was built of Indiana limestone in late English gothic style and had seating capacity for 700 people. This is the structure in which we presently worship.

The church became debt free in 1906. On May 10, 1917, the building was consecrated by Bishop Edwin Lines. The choir section of the Parish House was added in 1918. In 1958, a second fire destroyed the newly rebuilt and decorated kitchen, youth room and part of the parish house. Once again devoted parishioners rallied to make plans for rebuilding. They raised funds using their own creative talents in a theatrical group that performed two operettas, “The Mikado” and “HMS Pinafore”.

Current Rector/Pastor
Rev. Dr. William Guthrie

Program Cover

Introduction to Windows

Window Guide

Floor Plan

Text and photography by Judith A. Gordon, 2008