History of Christ Episcopal Church

History of Christ Episcopal Church

The parish of Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, Vermont was founded on September 8, 1840. The first church was located on lower State Street facing Western Avenue, now named Governor Aiken Avenue. In 1868, a new stone church was built on the present State Street site, at a cost of $30,000. Except for the roof and clerestory, the Gothic structure of the second church was constructed entirely of light granite from nearby Barre and Berlin, Vermont. The new church was dedicated on June 2, 1868 "to the worship and service of Almighty God" by Bishop Hopkins of the Diocese of Connecticut. We plan to preserve Christ Church for generations to come.


The exterior of the beautiful new church extended 108 feet by 55 feet, with the steeple and spire rising 100 feet above it. In 1963, due to a failure in the steeple's integrity, the steeple & spire unfortunately needed to be removed to prevent further damage to the bell tower.


Over the years, the church structure was repeatedly damaged, yet still she stands strong. In late January 1903, the roof was burned off and much of the interior was destroyed by fire. The fire was sparked by embers which found their way into the original wooden heat returns. The blaze burned the roof off of the church and destroyed the main stained glass window above the altar. Fortunately, the community rallied and the church was ultimately restored.

In 1927, the church was nearly ruined by the historic flood that devastated most of downtown Montpelier.

After the flood receded, the building was repaired at a cost of $36,000, $6,000 more than the original cost of the church's construction. Once again, the parish rallied and so too did the surrounding community. While the flood was devastating, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the generosity of the community, Christ Church was again rebuilt.

In 1938, the Parish House, seen to the left of the church in the above photo was razed and a new Parish House was constructed. It was remodeled again in 1984. Today, the Taplin Auditorium within the second level of the Parish House is home to many musical and theatrical performers who regularly use the Taplin for rehearsals and performances.

In 2015, we began the process of refurbishing our historic sanctuary, beginning at the northwest corner of the church closest to State Street. On June 8, 2015 a crane was in place to lift the capstones from the top of the church. Unfortunately, the base pin on the crane's foundation failed and it unexpectedly came crashing down on the roof. Miraculously, no one was injured in the crash. The following photos chronicle the damage and renovations experienced in the crane collapse of 2015:


Since 1840, the city of Montpelier has evolved and grown, and so has Christ Episcopal Church. Today, the church's location on bustling State Street, is just down the street from the Vermont State House. Adjacent to the well-known Montpelier Farmer's Market, the recently refurbished courtyard continues to provide a calm and restful sanctuary for the entire Montpelier community. We like to think that our courtyard is a place where community conversations are created. At this time in our history, Christ Episcopal Church is in the middle of renovating the bell tower attached to the church built in 1868. This project will be the most comprehensive renovation to date and we thank the people of Montpelier for assisting in this historic renovation! See the "Renovations" tab for more information. You are welcome to stop by and visit us. We hope you will fall in love with our sacred space and that you feel at home at Christ Episcopal Church!