History of the Church

A Brief History of Christ Episcopal Church, Oberlin, Ohio

Christ Church Parish established 1855, black and white photo.

 Second in Oberlin only to the First Church, (Congregational), the Christ Church Parish was established in 1855. Designed by New York architect Frank Wills in the Norman Romanesque style, construction of the church building began in 1856, and it was consecrated in 1859. The vestibule was added in 1867 and the chancel in 1869.

A Flentrop tracker two manual organ was dedicated in 1964. It replaced a Johnson organ that had served the Parish since 1921.

Church window 'Courage' designed in 1901

Especially beautiful and interesting are the church windows. The window “Courage”, was designed in 1901 by New York artist Kenyon Cox in the La Farge tradition, and was presented to the Parish as a memorial to Mr. Cox’s father.

In 1955 local artist, Margaret Kennedy set up a studio in the church basement and from there began the design and construction of the remaining windows, the last one being installed in 1961.

In May of 1950 a pole barn Parish Hall was completed and dedicated. This building currently houses parish social events, spiritual formation classes our music director’s office and a weekday hot meals program. In 1998 the Parish Hall Parlor was redecorated and renamed for the Rev’d David Anderson, a longtime member of the parish and a faculty member at Oberlin College. In 1999 a playground for our children built at the south west end of the Parish Hall and a covered porch was added to the northwest end of the building.

In October 2000 the Chapel Grove was dedicated. Hailed as a place in which to “celebrate life”, Chapel Grove is an outdoor garden which is cloistered along the north side of the parish hall. This mult-functional space is used for meetings, receptions, worship, meditation and is a burial ground for members and friends of Christ Church who choose cremation as a burial option.

Christ Church has through the years been in the forefront of progressive social movements, advocating strong the ordination of women to the Episcopal priesthood, and espousing fair housing and equal employment practices, locally and nationally.

More on Christ Episcopal Church:

Historic Landmark 1859, City of Oberlin marker.