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Welcome. Whether you have been to Christ Church many times or whether you have just discovered us, we are delighted that you are here. For over three hundred years Christ Church has been known as a place to deepen your relationship with God, nurture a sense of community, and make an impact on the world.
As the Rector, I am firmly committed to three goals: Worship that is dynamic and meaningful; Learning that is creative and engaging, and Service that passionately spills out into the community and world beyond. Many have found respite, sustenance, and personal challenge within our walls, but there are many ways one can connect with us even from a distance. My hope and prayer is that you will find a place here, too.
Christ Church is a vibrant congregation living our faith together in the present while planning and working hard to stay vibrant into the future. But we also cherish our heritage, as seen in the historic events we hold for parishioners and our neighbors in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, and the entire state. We’re also careful to preserve the written history of the parish as seen, for example, by safeguarding our vestry minutes from the 18th century to the present day. We guard our historic objects, such as our 1717 Vinegar Bible, our 1738 charter from King George II, and the orb that once stood atop our steeple that was used as target practice by Revolutionary War soldiers.
Now we’ll be preserving our past in a different way by capturing the memories and insights of some of our parishioners in their own voices. In November, Monmouth University students—guided by Professor Melissa Ziobro—will begin conducting seven audio interviews with eight parishioners as part of a new oral history project. Oral history is a process in which researchers gather and preserve electronically the voices and memories of individuals who participated or observed first-hand events in the past.
For the first group of interview subjects, we wanted to gather the memories of long-time parishioners such as Bob Zeller, with his mellifluous voice, and Ann and Jim Miller, who were instrumental in so many church events such as the 300th anniversary of the parish. We decided to include second-generation parishioners like Peggy James who not only has contributed so much to our parish herself but whose parents played key roles in the parish before her. We wanted to include younger people like Robert Maber who grew up in the parish and would provide a different perspective on the church’s present and future. Bob Kelly was an obvious choice due to his vestry leadership over the years and his status as Parish Historian. We asked long-time choir member— and a member of the search committee for Mother Lisa–Barbara Carroll to share her memories. Finally, we knew we had to include Mother Lisa herself to preserve her insights into Christ Church over her 22 years (and counting!) as our beloved rector.
YOUTH GROUP PRIME!!
Calling all Middle and High School Students!And their parents!!!
A new program this September, focusing on Friendship, Fun, and Faith Formation. Our youth will learn about the Scriptures, about the beliefs of the Christian Faith, and will begin preparation for Confirmation.
Our Kick-Off meeting will be Sunday, September 24th from 5pm to 7pm. We will lay out the program, share a meal together, and start getting to know one another. Beginning in October we will meet twice a month, the second and fourth Sundays. For this initial meeting, we invite our parents/guardians to join their teens in attending and having supper with us. Please RSVP by email (email@example.com)or call the Church Office (732-741-2220) so we can plan accordingly.
Ongoing Special Events
Let our voices raise!
You may be missing the Sunday homily for the last Sunday in Advent, but here is a special treat for December 20, 2020. Our organist/choirmaster Chris Psolka and her husband Jamie Green recorded these two beautiful pieces.
Please enjoy these two angelic voices as we await the birth of our Savior!
UNUSUAL GRAVESTONE FRAGMENT UNEARTHED
While restoring gravestones, the Jablonski Building Conservation crew dug up a segment of a gravestone while unearthing parts of a broken stone. This discovery is the top portion of an ornately carved Victorian era gravestone. But this marker already had a top segment that had broken off. This newly discovered fragment clearly fit nicely to the bottom of the gravestone. The current explanation is that this piece had originally been intended as the top of the marker but due to some error on it, the marker was turned over and this piece ended up on the bottom and thus buried. Ryan Radice described this for the visitors at the Guided Graveyard Tour on October 5th.
GRAVESTONE RESTORATION GRANT ACTIVITY
Jen and Danielle, conservators from Jablonski Building Conservation are working on the next set of 16 gravestones to be restored. Here they are seen working on the base attachment for the gravemarker of Shepard Kollock.
SELF-GUIDED TOUR BOOKLET FOR THE GRAVEYARD
For some years we have had a self-guided tour brochure for visitors wishing to view the inside of our historic church. Now we are pleased to have a similar guide for the graveyard. This beautifully designed and informative brochure guides the visitor to many of the interesting graves and gravemarkers in our remarkable cemetery. The brochure contains information about some of the notable personages interred in the graveyard and images of some of the artistry exhibited on a number of interesting gravemarkers. These are all located on a map of the graveyard.
This brochure was created by five students in a graduate class in Public Archaeology taught by Dr. Richard Veit at Monmouth University. The students used information from our graveyard records including the Genealogy of the Graveyard, the scripts for the Costumed Graveyard portrayals, and the survey map of the graveyard. They then selected the specific personages and gravemarker artistry and synthesized these into this beautiful booklet.
Some of these brochures are in the narthex. In addition, at the July 1 Independence Day service, this brochure was distributed and described by Bob Kelly in a “virtual” tour in the nave.
For those who wish to take this self-guided tour the graveyard is always open. The brochure is available in the parish office, usually open from 9 am to 2 pm on Tu-Fr. There is also a brochure holder attached to the arbor at the juncture of the parking lot and the brick walkway.
Queeni Caay Scholarship
Walter Dein is a Christ Church parishioner who has been involved with an outreach program in the Philippines providing financial support for children in need. Queeni Caay, a high school student, is one such student and one with special financial needs. Here is her story.
Queeni grew up in a palm reed weaved shanty with her grandmother and younger brother on the tiny island of Dinagat, Philippines. Her father left even before she was born, and her mother works as a live-in house maid in the distant City of Davao where she could not include her children.
When Queeni was 13 and her brother, Howard, was 8 their elderly grandmother died. This left young Queeni in charge of Howard and herself. During this time, it was Queeni attending Howard’s parent teacher conferences and concentrating on her own studies. Undernourished and nearly overwhelmed by her circumstances, Queeni contracted a very serious case of Typhoid fever. The doctor said if she had waited any longer to seek medical help she would have died. Sadly, the disease has left her heart valves scarred and as she grows, this gradually puts an increased strain on her damaged heart.
She is active in Girl Scouts and with her own undertaking, she has organized and leads a growing weekly Bible study for her school. At one point the school authorities had considered stopping the Bible study until the students petitioned to allow it to continue and the teaching staff recognized the good and positive influence it was making on the students.
With no fatherly support what so ever, and an impoverished mother who is barely earning enough to support herself, Queeni saw no possibility of attend college even with her impressive achievements. She tried applying for scholarships, but the possibility of attending college was just an elusive dream.
Queeni graduates this spring. She is an active member of the school yearbook committee. College begins in June.
Through Christ Church, a scholarship fund has been established to help cover her college costs, beginning with an annual tuition of $800.
NEW VIDEOS OF CHRIST CHURCH
Four videos describing various perspectives of Christ Church have been created. These videos provide information about the Church and feature aerial video of the Church building and surrounding graveyard.
The videos were taken by Jeff Smith, videographer from Atlantic Highlands and composed By Amanda Kontor. Amanda was a student intern from Monmouth University and a Communications major. She has now graduated and is attending graduate school at the University of Vienna.
The Purpose of the Girl’s Friendly Society is to help girls understand what it means to be a Christian within their own particular life situations; to discover their own relationships with God, family, community and the world to help girls utilize their given talents, to attain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth through program centering around worship, fellowship, service, study and creative activities. In other words, we hope to be an asset to our girls as they grow into womanhood.
CHRIST CHURCH RECEIVES HISTORIC PRESERVATION GRANT
Christ Church has been awarded a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust for preservation of its historic graveyard. The grant award is for $117,413 and includes a 1:1 match by the Parish. Here is a description of the scope and participants in the work that has been funded.
CHRIST CHURCH SHREWSBURY GRAVESTONE RESTORATION
The graveyard at Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury is an historic one. The land has been used as a graveyard since the acquisition of the property in 1706. The oldest gravestone dates from 1719 and the markers are of every composition and design. The graveyard has been continually active since its inception and forms an historical record of the evolution of the area. The graveyard has about 1500 souls interred and 880 gravemarkers.
The proposed project involves the restoration and preservation of a significant number of deteriorating or fallen gravemarkers. This project can be viewed as a continuation of work begun in 2015-2016 under a Department of the Interior grant related to storm repair and resiliency. The previous project resulted in a comprehensive condition assessment and photography of every gravemarker. This information was added to our existing searchable database containing all those individuals in the graveyard with substantial genealogical information. This earlier project also resulted in the restoration of 14 gravemarkers in critical condition, mostly 18th century brownstones.
Since we have a complete condition assessment completed, the proposed project can begin with some detailed specifications for the next series of stones and, of course, the associated restoration work itself. The talented firms involved in the earlier project will bring their expertise and knowledge of this graveyard to the project. These are Lorraine Schnabel LLC who performed the condition assessment and Jablonski Building Conservators who executed the restoration work. There will also be one or more workshops for the public for lichen removal led by Ms. Schnabel. Further a self-guided tour of the graveyard will be developed by Dr. Richard Veit, Chair of the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University and a leading expert in New Jersey graveyards.
A total of about 75 gravestones will be treated in this new project.
In addition, an element of the project will include expanding our communication of the graveyard and its history with the broader community. This will involve development of a self-guided tour that will address gravestone, genealogical, and historical aspects of the graveyard coordinated by cemetery expert Dr. Richard Veit of Monmouth University who will also consult on the overall project.
The public benefits from the project through the preservation of the gravemarkers that tell us our history and the expanded, informed access to that history through the self-guided tour.
SANDY DISASTER RELIEF GRANTS
Christ Church has received two grants for the purposes of repair and resiliency work on its two historic sites both as a result of Superstorm Sandy and to protect against future such storms. The grant amounts for both the Church building and graveyard and the Rectory total about $350,000
Support for this project was provided by a Sandy Disaster Relief Grant for Historic Properties provided by the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service to the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office, awarded by the New Jersey Historic Trust.
These grants were awarded in early 2015 and much has occurred since that date. Much of the early work has been oriented toward a detailed understanding of the specific work to be undertaken.
A thorough Condition Assessment of the Church and the Rectory were undertaken by Westfield Associates of Haddon Heights, NJ. The resultant documents provided a complete understanding of the condition of the historic structures and formed the basis for a bid process to select a general contractor to undertake the work. The condition assessment also included the creation of construction documents as part of the bid process to guide the selected contractor in performing the work according to established historic site construction principles. This bid process is currently underway with contractors for the two sites to be selected in early November.
There also was a Condition Assessment performed on all of the gravemarkers in the churchyard. This work was performed by Schnabel Conservation L.L.C. of Trenton NJ. This Assessment included photographs of each gravestone with a description of each marker’s current condition. This information was integrated into the church’s graveyard database. Here is an example of this work.
This records the condition of a brown sandstone gravemarker recording the death of Joseph Tole, nineteen years old at his death in 1781.
This gravemarker assessment work also included more detailed guidance on repair work to be performed on markers in most critical need of restoration. In a bid process Jablonski Building Conservation of New York City was selected to perform the restoration work on an initial set of thirteen gravemarkers.
The gravestone restoration work supported by the SDRG grant is now complete. The original plan to address 13 gravemarkers was expanded by one marker due to savings on work on the first group. The one added was that of Christina Hageman, who died at the age of two in 1785 and was marked by a brownstone. Christina’s gravemarker was in many pieces and was both reconstructed and moved near where the walkway approaches the Memorial Garden.
This is a list of the restored gravemarkers.
Marker 601 Joseph Tole 1762-1781
Marker 316 Sarah Throckmorton 1659-1743
Marker 428 Margaret Throckmorton 1765-1817
Marker 331 Hartness Throckmorton 1735-1760
Marker 490 Elizabeth Vaughton 1715-1800
Marker 491 Mary Wessells 1728-1816
Marker 494 Susannah De Haert 1724-1780
Marker 502 Mary Leonard 1716-1782
Marker 731 Zilpha Halstead 1723-1754
Marker 366 Hendrick Pool 1798-1818
Marker 392 Mary Slocum 1734-1809
Marker 717 John Hart 1759-1805
Marker 701 Clara Wheeler 1782-1855
Marker 866 Christina Hageman 1781-1784
Lorraine Schnabel and Stephanie Hoagland-Bond with newly restored gravemarker of Zilpha Halstead.
Some additional work has been completed under the grant’s auspices. One is the repair of the 1874 E Howard clock and bell control mechanism. Some of the parts of this complex mechanism were repaired by Stevenson Services of Bristol CT.
The clock faces have been synchronized and the clock timing adjusted for accuracy.
In addition one of the aspects of protecting the Church and Rectory buildings is careful control of tree growth. Both sites have considerable mature trees. These trees were trimmed with deadwood removed. A dead 100 foot tulip tree was removed. This work was performed by Becker’s Tree Service of Tinton Falls, NJ.
SDRG WORK PROGRESSES
SDRG work has continued at both the Church and Rectory, mostly performed by the Masonry Preservation Group. At the Church this has included repairing the cupola louvers, replacing the bulkhead doors, and restoring the front steps. At the Rectory, this has included implementing a new CMU wall in the basement for stability and installing steel posts with cement footing. Further work on the Rectory exterior has begun with shutter removal. These will be restored at the MPG woodworking shop. Further on-site work will resume in the warm weather.
Shutters being removed
New bulkhead doors
New CMU wall in rectory
New (black) support column
Church front steps
WORK CONTINUES ON THE RECTORY
Work progresses on the Rectory. Scaffolding is up and the building is being powerwashed.
Rectory work extends to cornice repair and painting. The color is terra cotta.
Past Special Events
Amid Pandemic, Church’s 2021 Annual Meeting Was a Bit Different
Christ Church’s 318th Annual Meeting was held on January 24, 2021 after the 10:00 a.m. church service. Church members were able to view the annual proceedings
via Zoom videoconference while those attending in person
maintained social distancing in the Parish Hall.
New Vestry members were elected–see the About Us section of the site for their names and responsibilities–while Mother Lisa Mitchell complimented outgoing vestry member
Dianne Regiec for her service.
The in-person and virtual members of the Church paused to express their gratitude to two long-time members, Ann and Jim Miller, who may be departing the area soon.
Epiphany Pageant 2021
Rockefeller’s Very Exciting Adventure
Very exciting story of Rockefeller’s adventure learning about the birth of Jesus and the visit from the Wisemen.
ST NICK MAKES HIS ANNUAL VISIT TO CHRIST CHURCH
The Bishop of Myra visited Christ Church on the 2nd Sunday in Advent. He addressed the congregation about safety during this troubled time but principally spoke to the children about light and the importance of the community. He also distributed chocolate gold covered wafers.
Blessing of Animals
It was a great day to come out to participate in our drive through blessing of the animals. Most of our guests were furry with the exception of a favorite turtle that visited.
GRAVESTONE CLEANING/RUBBING WORKSHOP
The second of three events celebrating October is Graveyard Month was held in the graveyard on Saturday Oct 12. The effort was led by Friend of Christ Church Jennifer Shamrock and parishioner Jenn Lovekin. There were about 12 participants most of whom are members of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Some husbands came as well. Many granite gravemarkers were spruced up.
OCTOBER 5TH GRAVEYARD GUIDED TOUR
On October 5th Christ Church held another graveyard 300th anniversary event. The day was crisp and sunny. Ryan Radice led about 25 visitors through the graveyard telling about Notable Figures, Gravestone Artistry, and Special Features. Judi Buncher came as Louise Jost and Stuart Buncher as a WWI private. Judi also took some beautiful photographs. This was our third and last Guided Graveyard Tour of 2019.
Rich Veit with cherub
300th GRAVEYARD ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
On September 7th the parish and about 60 friends of Christ Church celebrated the graveyard’s 300th anniversary. There were numerous elements of this special event. First there were multiple sequential tours in the graveyard on a gorgeous late summer day. These included a discussion of Notable Figures led by Ryan Radice, Graveyard Artistry described by Dr. Richard Veit of Monmouth University, the role of gravestone condition assessment and restoration specifications elucidated by Lorraine Schnabel, our graveyard conservator, descriptions of specific gravemarker restorations by Stephanie Hoagland of Jablonski Building Conservation, special gravestone restorations by Peter Woolley of Peaceable Kingdom, and a description of the Heritage Rose Meditation Garden by Terese Blake.
Pete Woolley with the Infant Jones’
Pete Woolley at the Croes plot
The Rose Garden
During these tours Mother Lisa dedicated a special gravemarker for Judge John Faucheraud Grimke’. This was unveiled by Ms. Benay Lipstein who as a friend of Christ Church took a special interest in the Grimke’s and contributed to the marker.
Grimke’ Marker Unveiled
After the outside activities the visitors repaired to the parish house for a reception hosted by Dianne and Dave Regiec. After the meal Dr. Veit gave his classic presentation about New Jersey graveyards.
Bob Kelly, Mother Lisa, Benay and Howard Lipstein
Ellen Preissler, Terese Blake, Nancy Stewart
Mother Lisa and Jim Miller
Also in the parish house the church recognized the contributions of several individuals to our historic graveyard, The parish gave a set of HRMG notecards to each of the members of Edith’s Angels who have been faithfully tending that award winning garden: Terese Blake, Sue Berdahl, Robin Blair, Ellen Preissler, and Nancy Stewart. For his long term partnership with Christ Church, the parish gave Dr, Veit a lithograph of the church and graveyard drawn by Sanford Ross.
At the event we also announced the release of the Video version of the graveyard Self-Guided Tour that is available through our web site.
CHURCH BUILDING HISTORY PRESENTATION
As a key event in the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of our church building, Joseph W. Hammond presented a comprehensive lecture on the architectural history of this iconic building. Mr. Hammond was instrumental in the 1995 listing of the church on the National Register of Historic Places. He was also the Clerk of the Works for the 1996-97 re-stabilization of the building due to the failure of multiple truss beams. The presentation was attended by about 40 history buff who also came to a reception afterwards where there was a display of images of the church throughout its history. The lecture was also attended by Diana Stevenson who is the 4th great-granddaughter of the Reverend Samuel Cooke who was the priest who was the driving force in the erection of this church building.
Joe Hammond’s presentation can be viewed here:
THE CHURCH CEILING RESTORATION IS COMPLETE!
On August 30th the painters working on the church ceiling completed their work. They had been working since July 8th and we have held services in the parish house during that time. Our first service in the church with the restored ceiling will be September 8th. The workmanship was superb. Luis, the foreman, had a strong commitment to quality and thoroughness. This huge undertaking included removing many layers of lead infused paint, correcting damage and rust to the metal ceiling, and repainting with three coats of new paint. During the painting every inch of the nave was protected by plastic covering. This paint job should last for many decades since we treated the underlying paint peeling condition. Further the new paint reveals the details of the decorations on the metal ceiling as can be seen in these accompanying pictures.
Thanks to Guy Hembling, Luis and his son Kevin, Alan Binger for protection of the organ during the ceiling work, and Stephanie Hoagland for her invaluable consultation.
GERARD MARENGO WALKWAY DEDICATION
On Sunday November 19th the new brick walkway named for our beloved parishioner and treasurer was dedicated. The funding for this came from donations to the memorial fund in Gerry’s name. The parishioners and visitors gathered at each side of the walkway starting at the arbor entrance.
The walkway was created by Ryser’s Landscape Supply firm.
MOTHER LISA CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF SERVICE
The Christ Church community celebrated Mother Lisa’s 20 years of dedicated service as record at the parish. The Rector was surprised during the August 20, 2017 service with presents and recollections. Mother Lisa, the first female rector at Christ Church, arrived as the church building was undergoing a major reconstruction due to failures in the infrastructure of the 1769 edifice. As a result, her first service was held at the parish house.
Mother Lisa is now the fourth longest serving cleric at Christ Church since 1702. Only the iconic clerics Samuel Cooke, Harry Finch, and Benjamin Franklin have longer service.
Congratulations to Reverend Lisa Sauber Mitchell!!
NEW HISTORIC SIGN INSTALLED
The sign along Broad Street that marks the History of Christ Church and the role of George Keith has been replaced through the efforts of the parish. The original sign was badly worn and only partially legible. This bright new sign now makes the history more clearly known to the many motorists passing by each day.
Due to some failed components of the 1874 E Howard #2 clock and bell drive mechanism, the clock and bell have been out of commission for about 3 months. This situation has been remedied with the damaged parts machined and reinstalled. The clock faces have been synchronized and the clock timing adjusted for accuracy.
Images of Christ Church Shrewsbury – Then and Now
Monmouth County Library
Month of May 2014
The exhibit features segments including, old photos – with the oldest from 1869, new photos, and the church in art. There is also a special section called Then and Now, that pairs old photos of the church with matching contemporary ones. There are three special features: the original 1769 builder’s agreement, salve a pair of tickets for a lottery used to raise funds for the church’s erection, and a large scale model of the church on loan from the Shrewsbury Historical Society.
This exhibit was created in partnership with Dorn’s Classic Images.