Episcopal services in Fairfield were first held by visiting ministers starting in 1705. Trinity Parish was established in 1725 and its first church was built on Mill Plain in Fairfield. A new and larger church was built in 1737 in the center of Fairfield. During the Revolutionary War, the church was burned during the British raid on Fairfield in 1779. Trinity’s third church building was erected after the war on Mill Plain Road in 1790. In the early nineteenth century, the Borough of Southport in Fairfield was flourishing. The first Episcopal services in Southport were held in 1828 in the house at 95 Main Street. As attendance grew, services were held at the Old Academy. Eventually Trinity constructed its next building, affectionately called “The Old Church on the Hill,” in 1829 on Rose Hill Drive in Southport to serve the growing community. The first Southport church burned down in 1854, so it was replaced by a new church on Pequot Road in 1856. That same year, parishioners in the center of Fairfield, who felt that the Southport church was too far away, established St. Paul’s Parish. Trinity’s fifth building survived until it was destroyed in 1862 when a tornado caused the steeple to crash down through the roof. The current Trinity Episcopal Church was quickly built on the foundations of its predecessor and dedicated on December 11 of that same year.
St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Hartford is located on Church Street across from Pine Meadow Green (also known as Chapin Park). The Carpenter Gothic edifice was built in 1861 on land donated by the Chapin family. The Chapins were tool manufacturers who developed Pine Meadow as a rural industrial village in the nineteenth century. The church replaced an earlier St. John’s, which was built in 1850 at the south end of Church Street. The church had held its first services in 1849 in Chapin Hall and Hermon Chapin, Sr. had donated the land for the building. The first St. John’s Church burned down in a fire sparked by a Christmas tree, that started late on the 23rd of December, 1859.
Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Westport was formed in 1944 as a merger of two earlier Episcopal parishes. Christ Church (built 1833), which stood at the northeast corner of the Post Road and Ludlow Street, was consecrated on November 2, 1835. As the town grew new residents arrived who wanted a more progressive parish. In 1863 they built another Episcopal church, the Memorial Church of the Holy Trinity at 75 Church Lane. The new church was built on the site of the Disbrow Tavern, where George Washington stopped on June 28, 1775, on his way to Boston to assume command of the Continental Army. The two congregations merged in 1944, selling the former Christ Church and retaining the larger Holy Trinity Church building.
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.