St. Christopher's Episcopal Church

History

1960

Four Episcopalians meet at the home of Winifred and Charles Shepard to establish an Episcopal Church in Chatham. With the support of The Rev. James L. Babcock of The Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, the group rents the American Legion Hall on School Street.


1961

During Lent, the first services are held. Three weeks later, members lease the Unitarian Universalist building (built c. 1879) at 625 Main Street.


1962

Members buy the Unitarian Universalist building for $20,000 and begin extensive renovations. An altar and altar rail are built and the Stevens tracker organ (built c. 1852) is repaired. On June 20, Bishop Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr. appoints a committee to organize a St. Christopher’s mission.


1963

On May 1, the Diocese of Massachusetts officially recognizes St. Christopher’s Church.


1967

The Rev. W. Gilbert Dent is elected rector. He and his family occupy the first vicarage at 115 Old Harbor Road. St. Christopher’s mission continues to expand under Father Dent’s leadership. The church petitions the Diocese of Massachusetts to become a parish.


1969

The Rev. Carl G. Carlozzi succeeds Father Dent as rector. Under Father Carlozzi’s leadership, the church undergoes more renovations. St. Christopher’s also buys an abandoned gas station on adjoining property, puts up a fence along Main Street, and plants new trees and shrubs.


1970

Albert H. Humphreville leaves a major bequest to the parish. The gift helps establish three trusts: the New Church Fund, Property Endowment, and the Foundation for Aid to Others.


1974

St. Christopher’s buys a new rectory and the building undergoes additional renovation under the supervision of Cannon West of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.


1976

St. Christopher’s Thrift and Gift Shop opens with great fanfare.


1977

The church launches a fundraising drive to raise $400,000 for expansion. Plans call for a chapel with sacristy, a parish hall with kitchen and a bell tower. The drive is a success.


1978
Building—Steeple 6 SK

Photo: Spencer Kennard

Construction begins on May 10 and continues throughout the year.


1979

With Bishop John B. Coburn attending, the new facility is dedicated on June 3. Representatives from all Chatham churches attend the ceremony. Community groups begin using the new parish hall. The congregation grows to 402 members and Rector Carlozzi begins a 5:00 pm Saturday Eucharist in the Arthur H. Sibley Chapel. The Thrift and Gift Shop moves to the renovated undercroft.


Building-Archival1

1980

Father Carlozzi resigns. In the interim, the Revs. Paul D. Wilbur, John T. Golding and Harold F. Shaffer serve devotedly, assisted by other ordained members of the church.


1982

St. Christopher’s third rector, The Rev. Whitney H. Burr, assumes his duties in January 1982 and is formally instituted on June 29 by Bishop Coburn. After 20 years devoted to his parish and his community, even serving as chaplain for the local fire department and emergency services, The Rev. Burr retires in 2001.


2003

Photo: Spencer Kennard

The Rev. Brian W. McGurk is installed as St. Christopher’s fourth rector on May 1. Shortly following his installation, the church embarks on an extensive building and renovation campaign encompassing the entire facility. This campaign is completed in 2009.

During The Rev. McGurk’s tenure, two successful capital campaigns have been completed; mission work and enduring relationships have been cultivated with communities in Maseno and Nairobi, Kenya, and Liberia; a year-long visioning process has been completed, which resulted in a comprehensive strategic plan; and the spiritual life of the congregation has been enriched through spiritual formation, education, and a variety of worship experiences, including Choral Evensong, Celtic Eucharist, and Blessing of the Fleet.


Compiled by David Colfax Garre