Christ Church is set in tall, mossy grass under towering oak trees. The church grounds include a cemetery. Christ Church, one of the oldest churches in Georgia, was founded on St. Simons Island nearly 70 years after the island was first settled by English colonists. Worship has been continuous since 1736 in Christ Church Parish, established by English colonists at Frederica under General James Oglethorpe.
In February 1736, James Oglethorpe and the first English settlers arrived on St. Simons Island. Shortly thereafter, in March 1736, Reverend Charles Wesley, who also served as Secretary for Indian Affairs and Chaplain to General James Oglethorpe, entered his ministry at Frederica. From 1736-1766, the first religious services on the island were conducted by John Wesley, George Whitfield, and other clergy members of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. When the Trustees surrendered their charter to the king in 1752, Georgia became a royal colony. It was after the Revolutionary War, in 1808, that Christ Church was founded. Though inspired by such men as John and Charles Wesley, the small St. Simons Island population was prevented by the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, among other factors, from erecting a church building until 1820.
Following a petition for a charter by descendants of early settlers, Christ Church was established by an act of the state legislature in 1808. It is the second oldest Episcopal Church in the diocese of Georgia. Before the actual church was built, people met at their homes. The first church building was constructed in 1820 on the same site where the present church is now located. In 1823, Christ Church of Savannah and Saint Paul Church of Augusta merged together. The first small church building lasted until Union Troops damaged it so badly that members of the church had to have service at their homes once again. The church was rebuilt in 1884.
We Are Episcopal/Anglican
About the Episcopal Church
Christ Church is an Episcopal parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. The Episcopal Church is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which now numbers 85 million Christians in 165 countries around the world. Anglicanism has its roots in the Church of England, which spread around the world in the colonial period, and is now comprised of autonomous churches like the Episcopal Church in the United States.
- As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.
- We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person.
- The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity.
- Both men and women, including those who are married, are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops.
- We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.
- Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our church.
- Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church.
- We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer.
- We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced.
- We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal informed conscience.
- We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion.
- All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.