Christ Church has been a center for Christian life and nurture in northeastern Connecticut for close to 175 years, since 1828. The current church built of rubble stone and brick was consecrated in 1882 and owes its existence to the memorial giving of the Vinton family in honor of the Rev. Dr. Alexander H. Vinton and his wife, Eleanor Stockbridge Thompson Vinton. Many of the six Tiffany windows including the Rose window were given by Vintons. Our baptismal font is also a Tiffany creation. The Rev. Phillips Brooks of Boston who wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was a friend of the Vintons and preached at the laying of the cornerstone. The architect, Howard Hoppin’s unusual design, seems to reflect an Eastern or old European influence. As one commentator at the time put it, Christ Church is “not modeled after the usual sort of country church or chapel, but like some old monastery chapel of the sixteenth century”.
Christ Church has participated in the Ministry of the Episcopal Church since its earliest days having its own “outpost” in Abington (south Pomfret). Today this includes not only welcoming all who enter our doors, equipping them to respond to Christ’s Call in their daily lives but also supporting missionaries and extensive Outreach work. Nourishing people means providing a good Church School and Adult Education program. Indeed, three Rectors participated in founding schools. Most recently Fr. Frank Bigelow was founder of the Rectory School (bronze plaque outside), a boarding/day school for 5 – 9th grade boys (and day girls), across the street. We still function as Rectory’s Chapel and Church-Home. We are quite a diverse community in some ways bringing varied perspectives and concerns to our worship and program. This leads us into new ventures like an expanding Teen Program.
As an Episcopal Church we are “mid-way” between the Roman Catholic and Protestant spiritual and worship traditions. Our bishops, priests and deacons share leadership with lay people in Episcopal churches as in Roman Catholicism but in quite different ways though our service forms are similar. Our theology is more Protestant and progressive, encouraging informed discussion and choice on matters of faith. Our Sunday mornings are a mix of the traditional (8 o’clock) and contemporary (the 10:15). The first service is a spoken service. The later service includes the Choir and hymns form the Anglican tradition but with occasional modern additions from the Afro-American or Contemporary Praise traditions. We also have a Contemporary Music service nearly every month at our 10:15 service. This service features our band, Nine6teen. The Rectory School Chapel at 9:15 a.m. is a much more modern, short-form service with lively contemporary music (again by our band, Nine6teen).