Since 1821, Christ Church has been a sacred place in the heart of North Carolina’s capital city.
We are the oldest Episcopal congregation in the Raleigh area, the “mother” parish of several other Episcopal churches in Wake County, and one of the three largest parishes in the Diocese of North Carolina. We have a proud legacy of preparing leaders for the Church, the Raleigh community, our Diocese and the wider world. That tradition continues to flourish as Christ Church celebrated its bicentennial in 2021.
The history of Christ Church is long, rich and complex. Although our past has interested generations of parishioners, no book-length treatment of Christ Church’s history appeared until 1997, when the parish published Davyd Foard Hood’s To the Glory of God: Christ Church 1821-1996. One reason may have had to do with the challenges inherent in working with limited primary source materials, particularly those that document the life of the parish during the middle decades of the Nineteenth Century. For unknown reasons, the Vestry minutes of this period were lost in the concluding years of the Reverend Dr. Richard Sharpe Mason’s rectorate. As a result, we know little about many facets of church life during the antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Another reason is that, until recent years, Christ Church did not document its own history methodically. Many of the most important sources for parish history before 1950 are in the hands of families who have worshipped at Christ Church across generations. Helpful as To the Glory of God is as a general outline of Christ Church history, there is much left to consider and write about.
The following brief account of the parish’s history is intended to provide an overview of the major periods in Christ Church’s history.
(Prepared by Martin H. Brinkley and John Ward, September 2009)