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
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
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.
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
GERCHAK FAMILY VISITS THE CLOCK TOWER
On Feb 18, 2018, the Gerchak family of Shrewsbury toured the clocktower. The family had won this tour as the prize of the Shrewsbury Education Foundation raffle. Andy, Chrissy, Andrew, Emily and Thomas were guided by George Edwards our clocktower winder and maintainer.
ANOTHER TROUPE OF OCEANPORT CUB SCOUTS VISITS
This group of cub scouts accompanied by many of their parents visited the church on February 11. They heard about the history and what a church really means. Patrice Thornton portrayed Graham Kearney Cooke for them.
CHRIST CHURCH ANNUAL MEETING JAN 22 2017
Our annual parish meeting was held with Mother Lisa on sabbatical. As usual, a wonderful pot luck meal was provided by the parishioners. In Mother Lisa’s absence, outgoing senior warden Elaine Feyereisen presided.
The new 2017 Vestry and Wardens are depicted below. From left to right are Nancy Stewart (Vestry Clerk), Sarah Schmid, Peggy James (Senior Warden), Elaine Feyereisen (Junior Warden), James Craven, Sue Napoletano, Walter Dein, Jamie Green, Kit Saible, Joanne Montgomery, and Dave Regeic (Treasurer). (Jim O’Connor and Rachelle Spencer-Mikita were not present.)
WE WELCOME TWO NEW MEMBERS TO THE CHRISTIAN FOLD
December 4, 2016
Bennett and Tessa Bielski the Christian fold
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 but principally spoke to the children about light and the importance of the community. He also distributed chocolate gold covered wafers.
Jeanne Sundberg presents Steen History to Parish Historian Robert M. Kelly, Jr
JEANNE SUNDBERG PRESENTS STEEN BOOK GIFT TO PARISH
In 1972 the Reverend Edward Story had the History of Christ Church published in a limited numbered edition. James Steen had penned this work c 1900 and covered the parish’s history for its first 200 years. The book had never been published but that was enabled by Father Story working with the Steen estate.
Reverend Story presented Copy #1 of the publication to Louise Jost, Shrewsbury historian and founder of the Shrewsbury Historical Society. Ms. Jost believed that special copy should be with the church and gave it to Jeanne, a friend and parishioner.
On the evening of the Lantern Tour Ms. Sundberg donated this copy to the parish library and archives.
2016 4-Corner Lantern Tour
Dead Actors’ Guild Members
Christ Church once again participated in this year’s Lantern Tour with its Historic Four Corners neighbors. About 150-160 folks went on the historical tour with many also enjoying a Moravian pie dinner, shopping at the Olde Curiosity Shoppe and bidding on baskets of goodies.
The Kitchen Crew
Dame Judith and Captain Kidd
The Olde Curiosity Shoppe
CHRIST CHURCH HOSTED THE MADREGALIA CHORAL GROUP
The five member acapella ensemble performed a program of music across the ages entitled
Thankful Song: A Musical Celebration of Life’s Blessings
The group is comprised of
Janet Breslin Mezzo-Soprano
Deb Hoffman Alto
Joseph Pisano Bass
Christine Psolka Soprano
James Scavone Tenor
The concert was employed by an audience of about 100 in this superb acoustic space
OCEANPORT WEBELOS VISIT CHRIST CHURCH
The cub scouts toured the graveyard and the church and learned about the church’s history. They saw an original Indian deed and the Lottery tickets used to raise money for the church’s construction in 1769. They also brought some items to be donated to Martha’s Cupboard, one of the parish’s Outreach projects
HOLIDAY BAZAAR 2016
Christ Church held a successful holiday bazaar on November 12. Over 50 baskets were won by visitors and many wonderful purchases made including baked goods, knit items, jewelry and decorative items. Costumes worn for the Colonial theme were hand made by our own Judi Buncher.
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
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.
“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.