Christ Episcopal Church in West Haven, the second oldest Episcopal parish in Connecticut, was established in 1723, supported by the missionary work of Rev. Samuel Johnson of the state’s oldest parish in Stratford. A wood frame church was constructed in West Haven by 1740. A traprock Gothic Revival church was built on Church Street, across from the West Haven Green, in 1906 and consecrated in 1907. It was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson. The church is connected to the Parish House, built in 1916. In 2006, Christ Church merged with another Episcopal church, St John’s by the Sea, to form the Church of the Holy Spirit. The former church building of St. John’s by the Sea, built in 1953 on Ocean Avenue in West Haven, was secularized in 2008 and sold.
An Episcopal Society comprising Branford, Guilford and New Haven was established in 1748, but it was not until 1784 that Episcopalians in Branford legally organized Trinity Parish and erected a church, completed in 1786. This original church, a wooden structure without a steeple, was used until a new church was constructed just southeast of the old one. The cornerstone was laid in April 1851 and the church was consecrated by Bishop Brownell on January 27, 1852. Trinity Episcopal Church was designed in the English Gothic style by Sidney Mason Stone of New Haven. Some of the church‘s original exterior decorative elements were removed over the years. In 1920, the outside walls were covered with white stucco as a protection. The stucco was replaced with long leafed southern pine in 1944. A parish hall was added next to the church in 1916. It served as an infirmary during the great influenza epidemic of 1918.
St. Peter’s Episcopal parish in Plymouth was established in 1740. The parish’s first church edifice was built on the northeast corner of Plymouth Green in 1796. The church burned down in 1915, but was quickly rebuilt with a new design constructed of fieldstone. The stones were gathered by parishioners from their own fields and walls. In 1996, St. Peter’s merged with Trinity Parish in Thomaston to form St. Peter’s-Trinity Church. The former St. Peter’s Church in Plymouth then became the First Baptist Church of Plymouth. This congregation, which began its ministry in Waterbury in 1803, held its first worship service in Plymouth on the Sunday following Easter in 1997.
Happy Easter! St. James’ parish in New London began with a small group of Episcopalians in 1725. Their first church was a wooden building on New London’s Parade, opened in 1732. It was destroyed by fire when New London was burned in 1781 during the Battle of Groton Heights. Samuel Seabury (1729–1796), consecrated in 1784 as the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church, served as rector of St. James from 1785 until his death in 1796. He is now buried in the current (third) St. James Church. The second church was consecrated in 1787, but by the mid-nineteenth century a larger building was needed. By that time the parish had grown significantly and included some of New London’s wealthiest and most influential families. The third St. James Church, located at the corner of Huntington and Federal Streets, was built in 1847-1850. It was designed by the famous architect Richard Upjohn, construction starting just a year after he completed Trinity Church in Manhattan. Starting in 1910, St. James’s original stained glass windows were replaced by six new memorial stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
An Episcopal parish was formed in Woodbury in 1740. As related in the first volume of the History of Ancient Woodbury (1854), by William Cothren: “The old town house on the ground now occupied by the carriage house of N. B. Smith, Esq., was, after the erection of the new Congregational house in 1747, occupied by the Episcopalians for stated worship until the erection of the present church edifice in 1785.” Woodbury is known as “The Birthplace of the Episcopacy in America,” because it was here, in the Glebe House (the minister’s residence, home of Rev. John Rutgers Marshall) that Samuel Seabury was elected the first Bishop of Connecticut, the first Episcopal Bishop in America. In 1785, work began on the parish‘s own church building. The exterior of the edifice was completed in 1786, but funds had been exhausted. The Glebe House was sold and the proceeds used to finish the interior of the church. The first service in St. Paul’s Church was held in November of 1787. A new steeple was added in 1812 and the church was painted inside and out. The completed St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Church Brownell in 1822.
The first Episcopal church to be established in the part of Derby that would become Ansonia was completed in 1746. Originally located at the site of the old graveyard on Elm Street, the parish moved to a new building on Derby Avenue around 1799. The name of the parish was changed at that time from the original Christ Church to St. James. The next move was across the river to Birmingham, another section of Derby, but several families were allowed, in 1843, to continue worship at the old Derby Avenue location under the name of Christ Church. A new parish, known as Trinity, was organized in the growing section of Derby called Ansonia 1849. Trinity Church was built the following year at the corner of Main and Tremont Streets. In 1851, Christ Church and Trinity Church merged, taking the name of Christ Parish, Ansonia. By the 1890s, the parish had grown too large for the church on Main Street. Franklin Farrel, a prominent Ansonia industrialist, made a gift of land on South Cliff Street for the construction of the current Christ Episcopal Church, which was designed by Henry M. Congdon & Sons of New York. The church was built of Ansonia granite, quarried at Potter’s Quarry, and New Jersey graystone. The cornerstone was laid in December, 1896 and the church was dedicated in January, 1900.
Another notable building along Salem Green is the Town House. This structure was originally built in Norwich in 1749 on Washington Street as an Episcopal church, which later took the name of Christ Church. A new Christ Church was dedicated on Main Street in 1791. The current Christ Episcopal Church was built back on Washington Street in 1849. By that time, the original church on the site had been moved away. In 1829, this old building had been sold to the Episcopal Society in Salem. It was moved to Salem Green circa 1831 and reconstructed. It was at this time that the building’s lancet windows and columned portico were added, resulting in an unusual mix of Gothic and Greek Revival styles. By 1840 the church had closed and the building was acquired by the Town of Salem for general meetings. Since 1969, it has been the home of the Salem Historical Society.