Christ Episcopal Church
Backstory and Context
Although the initial organization of Christ Episcopal Church was assembled in 1841, the actual building did not begin to come together until the early 1860s. Through the help of other rectors and congregations in the surrounding areas, plans for the building were drawn out and funds were raised. Those who were leading the efforts to build the physical church building ensured that most, if not all, of the building materials were local to the area.
Throughout its early history, the congregation of Christ Episcopal Church has gone through times of struggle. These struggles are mainly financial by way of needing to accumulate enough money to pay for repairs after floods and other natural disasters as well as to build onto the original structure to provide space for the growing congregation. The flood that affected the church in 1936 caused damage on a large portion of the building. Even today, after the repairs have been done, you can still see the flood mark above the choir seats of where the water was. Christ Episcopal Church has also known times of success such as being able to build a parsonage house and a new tower, after the original was knocked down by a lightning strike.
One of the most notable rectors of Christ Episcopal Church was John Henry Hopkins Jr. He is mainly known for composing the carol "We Three Kings" in 1857. Throughout his time with Christ Episcopal Church, Hopkins designed new pews and seats for the congregation as well as furthering the positive impact the congregation had on the local area. Other rectors who came after John Henry Hopkins Jr. continued the work he began on creating a more creative space on the internal structures of the building.
During and after the Civil War, members of the congregation opened a small school for the children of Union soldiers who otherwise would not have been able to receive an education. By doing this the church continued it’s established mark on the community by helping those in Williamsport who needed it. When the school was open for the children they also received meals and the women in the town were able to work/volunteer with the church in order to take their minds off of their male relatives who were involved with the war.
Today, the congregation of Christ Episcopal Church are proud to be one of the few churches in the area who have not severely altered the physical building they worship in. Although there have been repairs throughout the years, the physical building of the sanctuary has not changed. Furthermore, Christ Episcopal Church has constantly opened their arms in a variety of ways to those who have needed support. Today, some of the small ways the congregation helps the Williamsport community is by hosting meals for anyone who wants to attend as well as a 24-hour open food pantry.
Clark, W. J. “Christ Church, Williamsport.” Episcopal Recorder vol. 25, issue 43: page 171.
“Our History.” Christ Episcopal Church. https://christ-church-williamsport.diocpa.org/About%20Us/our-history.html. Accessed December 1, 2019.
The Convention of the Protestant Epsicopal Church. Journal of the Proceedings of the Fifty-Ninth Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Jesper harding, Printer, 8143.
Pennsylvania History Collection. jbph0799, Lycoming County Digital Photo Archive, James V. Brown Library.
"The Choir and Alter of Christ Episcopal Church", Kellie Mooney, November 2019.
"Sanctuary of Christ Episcopal Church, Kellie Mooney, November 2019.