The history of Christ episcopal Church
 
 
 
The History of Christ Episcopal Church
The parish of Christ Church owes its origin largely to the missionary zeal of two families from England that settled here- an indication of what a handful of people can do when they are really dedicated. These families came from Rochdale, England, in 1821, to work in the woolen mill in South Leicester. They were described as, "educated in the church and attached to its ritual and doctrine." On July 6, 1823, divine service, according to The Book of Common Prayer, was held for the first time in Worcester County. Prayer Book services have been held without interruption ever since.
 
 Services were held in Hezekiah Stone's tavern meeting hall until the church was built. On August 16, 1823, land on which to build an Episcopal church was deeded by Mr. Stone and his wife Charlotte. The cornerstone was laid on top of the hill, across from the tavern on October 2nd, 1823. The building was erected in record time, and on Easter Day, April 18th, 1824, Christ Church was occupied. On May 26th, Bishop Alexander V. Griswold consecrated the church and on February 12th, 1825, the Diocese of Massachusetts recognized Christ Church as an Episcopal congregation. (The Diocese of Western Massachusetts, of which we are now a part, was not founded until 1901.) The original church was well built and is still in use today after 180 years of New England weather.
 
 Christ Church boasts a "Revere-Boston" bell, probably one of the last cast by Paul Revere and his brother. Music in the early church was provided by stringed instruments. In 1852 a pipe organ was purchased and originally pumped by hand by a boy who was paid $18.00 a year. The organ was rebuilt in 1931 with a new console and many new stops and pipes. In 1872 the pulpit was acquired as a gift from Christ Church, Springfield. The stone wall was laid along Stafford and Pleasant Streets in 1879. In 1888 the plain glass windows were replaced with amber and blue stained glass. In 1925 a parish house was added. One of the largest changes to the church occurred in 1957. Originally, the church had two main aisles and none on the sides (the floorboards till reflect this.) The wood, including the oak altar, was natural, not painted. Over the altar were stained glass windows. In 1957 the pews were rearranged to give one main aisle and two side aisles, the wood was painted white, the altar was moved forward to become free standing and a wall built which excluded the stained glass altar windows from the church proper (they can still be seen from the "vesting area."The side windows were replaced with clear glass once again. In 1961, classrooms, the chapel, an office and a parking lot were added.
 
 The grounds around the church were improved by two gardens added in 1982. Parishioners and friends of Christ Church donated all of the shrubs in these gardens.
 
 Christ Church remained a diocesan mission until, at the suggestion of Bishop Alexander Stewart; it took the first step toward parochial status by employing a full time vicar. On November 6, 1982, it was granted full parish status by the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
 
 The parish continues to have a vision for its place in the larger community. Some of the projects the parish supports and participates in are: the Crop Walk to alleviate local and world hunger, the Leicester Ecumenical Council, Leicester and Charlton food pantries, the Mustard Seed in Worcester, a child in Appalachia, overseas missionaries, and an annual Music Festival to raise money for hunger and scholarships for children. The parish welcomes many groups to use space including AA, Girl Scouts and Brownies, a knitting group and special sewing related events. Head Start uses our parish hall space on a daily basis.