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Church of the Holy Spirit
Episcopal Church

History of Christ Church


In 1722, the New Haven community was shocked to learn that several Congregational leaders had decided to become Episcopalians.  After much study of the Book of Common Prayer, the Rev. Timothy Cutler, president of Yale; David Brown, a Yale tutor; the Rev. Samuel Johnson, the West Haven Congregational minister; and the Rev. James Wetmore declared that their Congregational ordinations were invalid.  Their decisions were announced at Yale’s commencement.  The group then sailed to England to seek ordination in the Church of England.

Samuel Johnson then returned to the church in Stratford and was the missionary who encouraged West Haven residents to form an Episcopal society in their area.  For several years these dedicated families met in each other’s homes, strengthened by the occasional visit from the Rev. Johnson.  Thanks to their dedication, Christ Church was formed and became the mother church for the central Connecticut area.

The contemporary history of the parish began at the turn of the 20th century with the rectorship of Rev. Arthur Gammack and the construction of the present church building.  In 1909 the long and fruitful tenure of the Rev. Floyd Steele Kenyon began.  Among many other accomplishments, he founded the Camp Washington camp and retreat center in Washington, Connecticut and the Knights of Washington, a national Episcopal fraternity. Rev. Kenyon was also instrumental in establishing Church of the Good Shepherd in Orange and St. John’s by the Sea in West Haven