Upcoming Special Events
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)or call the Church Office (732-741-2220) so we can plan accordingly.
Ongoing Special Events
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.
Introduction to Christ Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt7AdNj1hk8
Christ Church History: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ggFsBpID8g
The Christ Church Graveyard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im51q2bw6sk
Our Spiritual Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM5dlJU6dS4
Girl’s Friendly Society
2017 – 2018
Kind Heart, Fierce Mind and Brave Spirit
GFS is open to all girls ages 5 through 21
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 $117,213 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.
THE FIRST HISTORICAL VIGNETTE
Our first Historical Vignette is complete! Appropriately, the topic is the Vinegar Bible. This brief multimedia video can be viewed at
On September 30th the parish held a special event in celebration of the 300th anniversary of our treasured Vinegar Bible. This event consisted of several presentations regarding its History and musical performances of choral selections of that era. Below are some photos of the event. The presentations, the program booklet, additional photos and other information can be found at the blue button near the top of this home page.
THE VINEGAR BIBLE
2017 is the 300th birthday of our treasured Vinegar Bible. We are planning a celebration of this special year and this segment of the web site will document these activities.
THE VINEGAR BIBLE, LIBERATED
The Vinegar Bible, one of the parish’s treasured religious artifacts was extracted from its display case on June 19th. Its freedom allowed us to use it for our Gospel reading on June 25th and for all to see pages that have not been on view for many decades. The Bible is in remarkably good shape with a binder that is in good shape and pages, that while they show the wear of many page turnings for about 175 years, that are sturdy in their handling.
Vinegar Bible Art Internship
In this 300th anniversary of our treasured Vinegar Bible, we have explored many aspects of this beautiful historic and religious document. After removing it from its display case in June, we have seen many remarkable aspects of this impressive tome. One such aspect is the set of numerous illustrations in the Bible. There are two full page drawings as well as head and tail pieces for each Book of the Bible. These were made from engravings by various artists but who these artists were and what the depictions represent are not known.
In order to build our knowledge of these illustrations we have engaged a student in the Art Department at Monmouth University to study these images. The parish has had student interns over the past four years focused mostly on aspects of our history. This is the first time we will have an art student performing such an internship.
The internship will align with the current (Fall) semester at the University. The student is Campbell Lee and she is a junior. Campbell is an English major in Creative Writing and an Art History minor.
Her mentor for this Independent Study will be Art Professor Corey Dzenko.
Please join me in welcoming Campbell and her adviser to the Christ Church community.
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.
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.
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.
Click here for Aerial Video
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.
To see more pictures of Christ Church click Church Pictures.
The Town Clock and Bell are Back in Operation!
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!
Past Special Events
At noon on October 3rd the 1788 bell at Christ Church tolled 59 times. The occasion was in memory of those who perished in the Las Vegas mass shooting on the previous Sunday. This memorial was part of a remembrance across the Diocese of New Jersey.
Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 8th @ 5 PM
The Blessing of the Animals will take place at an outdoor service on Sunday, October 8th at 5:00PM.
Please join us with your two legged, four legged, winged and crawling creatures for this event. We will also be collecting items the for the MCSPCA pantry. Please bring your pet on leash or cage, and remember to pick up an extra item at your pet supply store for the MCSPCA wish list.
If you don’t have a pet: we would still love to have you come and celebrate with us! And there are many items the Shelter needs that you might have in your own home.
Some items needed: Dog/Cat food, leashes, collars, toys, blankets, towels, small washable rugs, laundry detergent, Lysol, large plastic garbage bags.
NEW ROSES IN THE HERITAGE ROSE GARDEN
Edith’s Angels have added two new roses to our Heritage Rose Meditation Garden! One is called Love and the other is named Benjamin Britten. Love is a beautiful grandiflora that exhibits near-perpetual bloom and are ideal long-stemmed roses if the canes are pruned back to 8-12 inches during the dormant season. Benjamin Britten is a David Austin English shrub rose that has deep red-pink rosette blooms. It flowers repeatedly.
Edith’s Angels include parishioners and members of the Shrewsbury Garden Club.
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!!
CHRIST CHURCH CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY
On July 4th, the parish joined the Monmouth County Historical Association and many Shrewsbury residents in commemorating the nation’s founding. The day began with a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Allen house where Mother Lisa provided an invocation. Subsequently attendees were invited to cross the street to the Church to view the Vinegar Bible and to be entertained by performances by members of the Dead Actors’ Guild. Bob Kelly described the various special features of the Vinegar Bible to about 70 visitors. Jamie Green portrayed William Leeds and Robert Maber did the same for Louis Casimir DeCoppet. Stuart and Judi Buncher also participated in costume.
4 BAPTISMS, 3 SUNDAYS, MONTH OF MAY 2017
The Christ Church family was delighted to witness the entry of four infants into the life of Christ.
On Sunday, May 7, Madelyn Grace and Luke Joseph Danizik, received the sacrament of Holy Baptism and were welcomed into the church. We rejoice with them and their parents, Daniel and Dana Danizik
On Sunday, May 14, Katherine Alexandria Bustamante, received the sacrament of Holy Baptism and was welcomed into the church. We rejoice with her and her parents, Andy and Shannon Bustamante
On Sunday, May 21, Liya Vera Rauschmayer received the sacrament of Holy Baptism and was welcomed into the church. We rejoice with her and her parents, Rico and Liesel Rauschmayer
Christ Church celebrated Pentecost with a special outdoor service held on the south side of the churchyard. The service was also special since the sermon was a family of interactive discussions among the congregants about an important aspect of the parish’s future. This aspect is how we can grow our connections and involvement in the Community and the Community’s awareness of Christ Church. Many ideas were generated and will be assessed shortly.
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 21st 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.
The veterans’ names were read by Judi and Stuart Buncher in costume. Stuart portrayed a sniper from the Revolutionary War. Colonel Cresaps Riflemen became the Maryland and Virginia Regiment consisting of 4 Maryland companies and 5 Virginia companies. They started in 1776 and ended in 1781. They were nicknamed Stephenson’s Rifle Regiment, Rawlin’s Regiment and Maryland Rifle Corp. To qualify for service each soldier had to hit a one foot by one foot wooden target three times at 200 yards with his PENNSYLVANIA RIFLE. The standard smoothbore battle musket was only accurate to 80 yards. They fought in the Battle of Monmouth.
Judi portrays Sergeant Stuart’s wife.
ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL WEDDING AT CHRIST CHURCH
On May 6th Jim O’Connor and Betsy Marinelli were married at Christ Church. Jim is a parishioner and vestryperson
CHRIST CHURCH PARTICIPATES IN WOM 2017
The parish hosted over 130 visitors in this year’s Weekend in Olde Monmouth. Most popular items were the 300 year old Vinegar Bible and the gravestones in the floor of the church.
CHRIST CHURCH AT EASTER 2017
The parish celebrated Easter with a service with great music, the decorating of the cross by the children, the Easter Egg hunt in the graveyard, the lamb cakes, and abundant decorations.
Holy Thursday at Christ Church
The Shrewsbury Clock Face Has a Makeover
On April 10th and 11th our beautiful town clock that is part of Christ Church received a paint job. But not only painting the wooden background but also renewing the gold leaf on the numerals and the clock hands. This work was performed by Steve Cowdell and his son Steven of Stevenson Services of Bristol CT. That is the firm that also repaired the 1879 E Howard clock mechanism in the Fall of 2015 due to damage from Superstorm Sandy. The work was underwritten by a grant from the Monmouth County Historical Association and by the proceeds from clock tower raffle in 2016. The community should be proud of its contributions to keep this historical treasure in good health and looking GREAT at 138 years of age.
CHRIST CHURCH CELEBRATES PALM SUNDAY
Christ Church noted Jesus’s triumphant entry to Jerusalem with its Palm Sunday procession from the parish house to the church. Palms were distributed to the congregation. The service featured the reading of the Passion according to St. Matthew and the use of our 1708 silver Communion Service from Queen Anne.
REVEREND KATHLEEN BISHOP AT CHRIST CHURCH
While Mother Lisa was on sabbatical for the first three months of the year, Reverend Kathleen Bishop performed the regular services. She did a beautiful job with interesting different sermons that can be access on this web site.
Many thanks to Mother Kathleen for her dedicated service!
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 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
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.
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