CHRIST CHURCH CELEBRATES ITS HISTORY IN 2019
2019 marks two major historical anniversaries for Christ Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury. One is the 250th anniversary of the current iconic church building whose cornerstone was laid in 1769. The second is the 300th anniversary of the graveyard whose oldest surviving gravemarker is dated 1719.
Numerous activities are planned throughout 2019 to mark these anniversaries. However, we are so excited by these anniversaries that we are holding an initial set of events this October (2018). There will be three such events and all are related to the graveyard anniversary.
The first event will be a Guided Tour of the Graveyard on Saturday October 6th. This tour is based on the recently created self-guided tour and shows those on the tour gravemarkers of notable figures in the cemetery as well as gravestones with special artistic features. The graveyard guide will provide information about each of these stops on the tour.
The second event is a gravestone cleaning workshop. Lichen covered gravestones will be cleaned with the activity led by the church’s graveyard conservator. Instruction and all materials will be provided. Our own Kim Roberts-Honecker will lead gravestone rubbings. This event will be held on Saturday October 13th with a rain date of October 20th.
The final event this year will be a Halloween Visit to the Christ Church Graveyard. This activity is oriented to children in their Halloween costumes with candy and costumed graveyard actors. The date is Saturday October 27th.
Looking ahead to next year we are expecting to repeat these events in October 2019. In addition, for the graveyard we are planning Costumed Graveyard Tours featuring the Dead Actors Guild troupe. We will also have a special celebratory event featuring Dr. Richard Veit of Monmouth University, the leading authority on New Jersey graveyards and our partner in many historic activities at the church.
For the 250th church building anniversary there will be two special celebrations. One is the celebration of the spiritual aspects of the building for which our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend William (Chip) Stokes will join us. A separate secular celebration will also be held. This event will feature an address by Joe Hammond, Director of Collections at the Monmouth County Historical Association. Mr. Hammond was instrumental in the church being listed in the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places. He was also the Clerk of the Works for the extensive 1997 project to re-stabilize the church building.
More information on these events will be forthcoming.