Our Parish History Christ Episcopal church was founded by a Guilford native, The Rev. Dr. Samuel, Johnson, in 1744 as a missionary outpost of the Church of England. There were eight founding families who met in each other's homes, with itinerant missionaries leading the worship. Six years later, the first church building was erected, a small wooden structure on the east side of the town Green. Dr. Johnson, who went on to become the president of King's College (now Columbia University), delivered the dedication sermon. The original structure had no pews or window glass, and sheep and goats wandered through the congregation. During the first 13 years of its existence, Christ Church had no priest, and services were led by lay readers. By 1764, the congregation had grown large enough to call its first rector, The Rev. Bela Hubbard. Money was raised for pew, windows, and a pulpit for the new minister. During the Revolutionary War, the building suffered from lawless violence. The lead from the window sashes is said to have been melted down for bullets to be fired at King George's soldiers. In 1834, the vestry decided to abandon the original building and over the next two years raised $8,000 to construct a new church. The present stone church faces the Green, almost directly opposite from where the original building stood. It was dedicated on December 12, 1838. Built in 1820, the adjacent rectory was bequeathed to Christ Church in 1889 by The Rev. Lorenzo Bennett. In 1952, the Rev. Gilbert Baker was called as rector and later became the Bishop of Hong Kong. He is the only former rector of Christ Church to be called to the Episcopate. In 1955, the church called The Rev. Bradford B. Locke, Jr. With the completion of the Connecticut Turnpike to Guilford, new residents swelled the parish membership, and attendance at weekly services grew to 300 or more. In 1961, some of our families transferred to the newly founded St. Andrew's in Madison. A period of declining stewardship, membership and church activity began in the 1970s. As a result, the property fell into disrepair. After 40 years of service, Father Locke retired in 1995. During the next two years, under the interim leadership of The Rev. David Parachini, the parish slowly began to rebuild. In the fall of 1997, the vestry called The Rev. Norman M. MacLeod III to be the 16th rector of Christ Church. Many improvements in both the parish community and the church property occurred under Father MacLeod's leadership. The Sunday School grew, and we hired our first paid director of Christian education. Nearly a half million dollars was raised to renovate the church buildings and purchase and install a new pipe organ. In the spring of 2008, Father MacLeod was called to the position of Interim Rector at St. James Church in Keene, New Hampshire. During the interim, The Rev. Anthony C. Dinoto served as Interim Rector. In 2010, the vestry called The Rev. Harrison West to be the 17th rector of Christ Church. Father Harrison served until retiring in the fall of 2022. During this time, the church added a Middle School Youth Director and Communications Director to its staff roster.
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