Old Christ Church

In 1672, Calvert County was an unpromising place for a church. The county was heavily wooded, wild and readily accessible only by water. There were no towns, no roads, no meeting places other than the homes of settlers, and they were widely scattered. Here in the wilds of pioneer territory, confronted by difficulties and perils unknown in Europe, there was not only a desire to gather together for worship but an urgent need for it. Christ Church had already been founded and is Calvert County's oldest continuously worshipping congregation and one of the original parishes of Maryland.

No written record remains to show exactly when Christ Church was first built. It is quite possible that it was before 1670. We do have evidence, however, that it was in existence by at least 1672. Its earliest Parish Register has been preserved, for the most part, and can now be found in the Hall of Records in Annapolis.

The first small log structure was still standing when the Act of Establishment, creating the Province of Maryland, became law in 1692. Thus, Christ Church Parish is one of the original 30 parishes of colonial Maryland and of today's Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

The 1692 law gave Christ Church Parish charge of the lower part of what is now Calvert County, an area extending from Hunting Creek on the north to Solomons on the south, with the Patuxent River as the westem boundary and the Chesapeake Bay the eastern.

In 1731 a fire destroyed the wooden church, whereupon a new building of brick was constructed, being completed in 1735. By 1769 this building was in such bad shape that the Vestry despaired of repairing it, and received support of the Maryland General assembly in constructing the building presently in use. This building was completed in 1772. The use of exterior stucco covering on the brick walls dates to the 1772 building.

Renovations occurred in 1792, 1838-1839, 1862, 1906, 1928-1929, 1946, I959, 1968 and 1988-1989. Some of the interior and exterior changes were major. All reflected the ongoing change in liturgy and ministry which the Episcopal Church has experienced through the centuries. During the summer of 1988, maintenance work uncovered what is probably the foundation of the small log structure which was the church from 1672 until it burned in 1731 -- precisely beneath where the congregation gathers to worship today.

Information provided by Christ Church

For additional information, please read
"The Story of Old Christ Church"
published in 1972 and available at the Calvert County Public Library.

See also History of Calvert County


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