sealIn 1695, the citizens of Rye were called together in order to comply with a law requiring the establishment of a church in the community. The parish’s first service was held in 1702. Colonel Caleb Heathcote was elected senior warden in 1703. He began the real work of establishing a parish, finding a suitable rector, constructing the “Grace Church” building, and founding a school for Native Americans. The first church building was constructed of stone and was without a steeple. Col. Heathcote persuaded Queen Anne to present the First Communion ware to the parish in 1706. The chalice and paten are still used for special Communion services. The first permanent rector was the Rev. George Muirson. Col. Heathcote often accompanied the rector on evangelizing visits to establish missions in Bedford, NY; Stamford, CT; and Stratford, CT. The Rev. James Wetmore served as rector from 1726-1760. A Royal Charter was granted in 1764.

Rye was a town divided during the American Revolution. Grace Church’s rector, the Rev. Ephraim Avery (possibly as the result of his Tory sympathies) was found not far from the church with his throat cut in 1776. The church building was later burned. In 1795, the congregation was reorganized as Christ’s Church. The Rev. Samuel Haskell served as rector from 1797-1801 and 1809-1823. Under the Rev. Haskell, the Rye parish flourished and a new church building was constructed after the Revolution.

seal 3A stone Gothic-style church with a steeple was consecrated in 1855, to replace the previous church, which had been moved across the street. Only 11 years after completion, this 3rd church burned. The present church was completed in 1869. A new chapel and bell turret were added in 1893.. A new altar, reredos, and Tiffany chancel window were installed in 1896. A parish house followed in 1923 and an education wing in 1955.

seal 2In 2000, the Rev. Canon Susan Harriss was called to be the 1st female rector of Christ’s Church. A capital campaign under her leadership has led to a renewal of the church building. In August 2008, Christ’s Church choir returned from its first international tour of singing Evensong at Salisbury, Wells, and Chichester Cathedrals; as well as making an official pilgrimage to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Rye, Sussex. In April 2012, Christ’s Church sent a group of parishioners as pilgrims to the Holy Land with plans to send a second group in 2014.