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.
Peruse our website; I am certain you will find just the right thing for you and your family. And do contact us; I would be happy to begin a lifelong conversation with you.
Lisa S. Mitchell, Rector
Upcoming Special Events
Ongoing Special Events
New Video of Christ Church
A new video of Christ Church has been created based on aerial video footage. This particular video is a general portrait of the church building and graveyard depicting these from numerous vantage points.
This is the first in a series of a family of videos that will focus on different aspects of the church and parish including our extensive history, the iconic graveyard and our spiritual life. Stay tuned for these informative videos.
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. This work is now underway with completion slated for October 2016.
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.
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.
Seeing is Believing: Experiences of the Holy for Parent and Child
Seeing is Believing is a new Christian Education program at Christ Church. On the second Sunday of every month, parents are invited to join their children in the Parish House for a special session to explore and develop the spirituality of their children. Family members work together on activities that broaden their understanding of God and the Community of Faith. Parents learn ways to address matters of Faith with their children at home, sharing and exploring their own traditions.
Our first year focus is entitled When the Saint’s Go Marchin’ In! “Seeing is Believing” 2015 – 2016 Come join us as we march our way through the year in search of saints from around the world. Each family will have the opportunity to learn about their child’s very own “saint”! Our first is sessions on Sunday, September 13th – “Francis and Clare” We will start off our march with two Italian Saints and get ready for the Blessing of the Animals (October 4) Come join us for some holy work and holy play! We welcome all!
Amazon Smile Program profits Christ Church!!
At Amazon Smile, you shop on Amazon like you normally do, and when you make a purchase Amazon will donate 0.5% of that purchase to Christ Church. This is HUGE!
What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Christ Church every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.
How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.
Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?
Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.
Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?
Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.
How do I select “Christ Church” to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select your charitable organization (Christ Church) to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. They will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation. : )
Sandy Disaster Relief Grants Awarded to Christ Church
We have been successful in our application for grants under the Sandy Disaster Relief Grants program! This program provides funding for the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation, and repair of historic properties damaged by the storm. In fact we have been awarded two such grants. One is for the Church and Graveyard in the amount of $150,650; the second is for the Rectory in the amount of $122,930. These grants will enable major improvements to the physical health of these properties. The next step is the receipt of a Letter of Agreement from the New Jersey Historic Trust, administrator of these funds, that delineates the terms and conditions of the grants.
Christ Church Outreach extended to Covenant House!
Covenant house is a leading advocate on behalf of homeless youth. Covenant House was founded in 1972 with the simple, profound mission to help homeless kids escape the streets. Parish member and Covenant House advocate Jim O’Conner and our (Christ Church) Outreach/Steering Committee are working on some activities.
Past events have included a beach trip and a Lakewood Blue Claws game.
Past Special Events
We Bid a Fond Farewell
Mother Mary Frances Schjonberg and her spouse, Sharon Babbs are leaving Christ Church for a new spiritual adventure. They will be joining the parish of All Saints in Bayhead this October. Mother Mary Frances joined our staff in 2013; her presence as assisting clergy here has certainly been a blessing to the congregation, and to the rector in particular. We are going to fiercely miss them! Mother Mary Frances preached and celebrant this past Sunday, October 16th. Following the 10:00 am service on the 16th a special reception was held for her and Sharon at the Coffee Hour. We wish them a fond farewell and best wishes and prayers as our Lord takes them on the next part of their journey in Faith. Mother Mary Frances hopes to celebrate Sunday service again here at Christ Church at times in the future.
Dr. Richard Veit and Class Visit Christ Church
On Wednesday October 12th, Dr. Veit, Chair of the History and Anthropology Department at Monmouth University and leading expert on New Jersey graveyards, brought his graduate students in Historical Archaeology to the church. The purpose was to have a tour of the graveyard that, in one modest-sized graveyard, exhibits gravemarkers over three centuries of evolution. Dr. Veit is a long-time friend of Christ Church and partners with us on many history projects. There were about 20 students on the tour including Taylor Kavanaugh who did an internship at the church as an undergraduate in the Fall 2014. Aside from the various gravestones that Dr. Veit discussed, the group was able to see some of the restoration work underway. With the richness of the graveyard the tour could have continued longer than it did but was shortened by darkness. Dr. Veit ended the class with a slide show in the church of gravemarkers throughout New Jersey.
Annual Blessing of the Animals
The Blessing of the Animals to honor the Feasat of St Francis of Assisi was held on Sunday Oct 2 at 5 pm. We collected items for MCSPCA like pet food, leashes etc.
MONMOUTH COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY VISITS CHRIST CHURCH
On July 10th, the Monmouth County Genealogical Society visited Christ Church. About 60-70 members attended. Parish Historian Bob Kelly gave the group a tour of the church reviewing its history and interesting objects. On display were the 1733 Parish Register, the 1769 Builder’s agreement and the two 1758 Lottery Tickets.
The visitors were also treated to performances by two members of the Dead Actors’ Guild. Judi Buncher portrayed Louise Jost and Patrice Thornton portrayed Graham Kearny Cooke.
CHRIST CHURCH CELEBRATED INDEPENDENCE DAY 2016
On July 3rd the parish held its Star Spangled Celebration. The festivities included costumed portrayals of individuals interred in the graveyard by members of the Dead Actors’ Guild and a performance of patriotic songs by the Chorus of the Atlantic. These elements were integrated into the regular Sunday service.
On June 4th and 5th Christ Church celebrated diversity with various activities on Saturday and a special Mass on Sunday. The theme for Pride Weekend was, Know Your Story, Tell it Boldly.
Some specific activities included free hotdogs and desserts – beautiful rainbow cupcakes.
Families created a Pride Banner that was used in Sunday worship.
Games: Rainbow Walk, water balloon toss, and several give-aways
On Sunday we had a special pancake breakfast.
Veterans Memorial Commemoration
The Reading of the Names
The parish held its annual Churchyard Memorial Service, including the Reading of the Names. The names of all veterans interred in the graveyard were read on Sunday, May 29th after the 10 a.m. service. These veterans span the eras from the French and Indian War to Vietnam. This event occurred about 11 a.m. in the churchyard at the southeast corner of the church. There was a short performance of patriotic songs by the choir and the choral group Madreglia.
The veterans’ names were read by Judi and Stuart Buncher in costume. Judith Buncher portrayed Sister Veronica of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The Sisters were the first Naval Nurses on the very first Navy Hospital Ship the Red Rover. Stuart Buncher portrayed a Sergeant from the 2nd NJ Cavalry Company A, part of the 2nd NJ Brigade.
Mother Mary Frances Schjonberg recently was awarded an honorable mention for her video piece below on Christ Church’s 2014 Memorial Day service. The award was presented during the annual Episcopal Communicators organization’s Polly Bond Awards for outstanding communications efforts in 2014.
The judge who gave the award noted that “the video looks great …music is mixed nicely …the concept is great … the piece is a perfect length.” The award came in the Video-Short Form Ultra Low Budget category (the ultra low budget qualification means less than $250 was spent in production).
Old Monmouth Weekend 2016
Stuart and Judy Buncher welcomed vistors. Many viewed our Vinegar bible, stained glass windows and all were invited to view our historic objects.
Christ Church is holding our annual Flea Market in conjunction with the Shrewsbury Borough-Wide Yard Sale. This will occur on Saturday May 21st from 9 am until 3 pm and Sunday May 22nd from 8 am to 1 pm. This is an indoor/outdoor event held in the parish house that is on the church property along Sycamore Avenue. In addition there will be a special preview on Friday night from 6 pm to 9 pm. For an admission charge of $10 you can enjoy wine and cheese and have first pick of the flea market items!
OUR FAMOUS EASTER EGG HUNT
This year the special finds were two Alleluia Eggs and, for the first time the golden bunny. The lucky finders received lamb cakes for the Alleluia eggs and a special bunny basket for the golden bunny.
THE EASTER RESURRECTION SERVICE
CHRIST CHURCH ANNUAL MEETING JAN 31 2016
Our annual parish meeting was held, delayed by one week due to the blizzard.
Peggy James was welcomed as the new junior warden and Tara Dunford, Joanne Montgomery, Jim O’Connor and Rosemary Pappa joined the vestry. MiMi, Chris and Kit helped serve the dishes brought by many parishioners.
New History Research
In the Fall of 2015 Taylor Cavanaugh, a History and Anthropology major at Monmouth University, researched 18th century gravestones in the graveyard. Her research provided a fresh interpretation of the evolving iconography of the gravestones. This is her paper and her presentation to the Shrewsbury Historical Society can be found by clicking here.
HISTORY PRESENTATION AT SHREWSBURY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
On Thursday January 7th 2016 Taylor Cavanaugh presented her research into the iconography of 18th century gravemarkers. The gravemarkers she used for her analysis were all in the Christ Church graveyard. This research served as her combined senior thesis in History and Anthropology for her degree this spring at Monmouth University.
Taylor’s presentation was attended by over 40 local restaurants and history aficionados. Taylor is the 6th students to participate in the Church’s student intern program since its inception in 2013.
Kaylin Hayes Kinningham is Welcomed into the Life of Christ
First Sunday after Christmas Service 2015
HOLIDAY BAZAAR 2015
Christ Church held a successful holiday bazaar on November 15. Over 50 baskets were won by visitors and many wonderful purchases made including baked goods, knit items, jewelry and decorative items.
“MCDM Sunday” (Monmouth Center for Diaconal Ministry)
On Sunday, November 8th at the 10:00 am service all three of our “roving deacons” will be together in one place to introduce themselves – and this cutting-edge initiative – to the congregation. These deacons, Bill Balmer, Eve Chamberlain, and Carolyn Bradley, conducted an “Instructive Eucharist” focusing on the liturgical role of deacons in worship. The sermon also posted on this web site, provides information about everything MCDM.
LANTERN TOUR 2015
With its Four Corner partners, Christ Church had a wonderfully successful Lantern Tour this year. Over 200 folks went on the four site tour. In addition many of them enjoyed a Moravian Pot Pie Dinner and did some Holiday shopping
On October 10th we celebrated our new Historic Rose Meditation Garden with a ceremony of dedication and information about the graveyard and the Garden itself. A Booklet about the HRMG and a Brochure about the graveyard was distributed to attendees. This was an event jointly hosted by the parish and the Shrewsbury Garden Club.
Another Wonderful Wedding at Christ Church
September 13, 2015
YOUTH SUNDAY AT CHRIST CHURCH
On Sunday June 14th we celebrated Youth Sunday. Numerous awards were distributed and recognitions made. In the latter category principle among these was for Sue Napoletano, leader of the Youth Christian Formation program.
In the former category scholarships were awarded to two of our graduating high school seniors. The recipients were Casey Alfano and Sophie Halpern. Casey will be attending the University of New Haven and Sophie is headed for Carnegie Mellon University. As scholarship recipients they deliver sermons and they are pictured below doing so. You can listen to their sermons as well on this web site in the Sermons tab above.
A Concert at Christ Church
On Saturday June 13th a concert was held at Christ Church. This event was the premiere performance of the madrigal group MadRegalia. The group consists of 5 core members and performs a wide range of a cappella music.
This performance featured music from the 16th century to the 20th. Composers included Morley, Gibbons, diLasso, Gershwin, and the Beatles.
The concert was open and free to the public.
Shrewsbury Boro School Fourth Graders Visit Christ Church
Each year in June the parish hosts the Borough fourth graders who have studied New Jersey History in this grade. This year about 55 students came to the church led by their teacher Mr. Rooney. Reverend Lisa Mitchell and parish historian Bob Kelly described the rich history of the church and the special aspects of the historic church building. Deacon Magdalena Aders gave the students a special treat by portraying Florence Hazard and telling the story of the Hazard family, one if the most prominent families in Shrewsbury in the late 19th century.
New Deacons Celebrated at Christ Church
Three Christ Church parishioners were ordained as Deacons on May 9th in Trenton celebrated this wonderful event at their home parish. They are