THE HISTORY OF CHRIST EPISCOPAL
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
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.
Rev. Dr. William Guthrie
Text and photography by Judith A. Gordon, 2008