The origins of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church date from an informal gathering of seven parishioners of Christ Church (Episcopal), Hamilton, MA in early July of 2008. Driven by an escalating sense of frustration and despair with the theological and moral heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church, they met to explore how and when a new Anglican congregation might be formed.
By early 2009, this small group had expanded to more than 150 members of the congregation, which proceeded to elect a Vestry for the soon-to-be church. One of their major challenges, the selection of a Rector, was resolved when Father Jürgen Liias, Rector of Christ Church, offered himself and was chosen, just after Easter 2009. His deep pastoral concerns for both congregations helped to ensure that the process of separation was as peaceful as could be hoped for, given the inevitable emotions that were generated. It also helped that no lawsuits were filed or other claims made by the new congregation. We began life together without pew-Bibles, hymnals, choir robes, or endowment. Thanks to some parishioners with foresight, we did have enough liturgical items for use when worship began.
Another major challenge was where the new congregation was to worship. Though many locations were explored—schools, office buildings, etc.—one option stood out. In 2005, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston had closed and then sold St. Alphonsus Church in nearby Danvers to the Church of the Nazarene in Beverly for use as a church plant. By the fall of 2008, with numbers too small to sustain the new venture, the Nazarenes began to explore their options. This eventually resulted in lease of the property to Christ the Redeemer beginning August 1, 2009. Intense activity in August and September to prepare the building allowed services to begin on October 4, 2009 with a crowd of nearly 500 members, friends and well wishers in attendance. Bishop William Murdoch, of the Anglican Diocese in New England, with whom the church had established an early and close relationship, was present and celebrated the Eucharist.
Before all this happened, the new vestry was hard at work. After a long process of discussion, the name of the church was chosen and then a set of core values was developed:
- Relationship with God and others
- Welcome in attitude and action
- Prayer as a way of life
- Worship in Spirit and truth
- Growth in character and service
- Care in healing and support
- Mission in word and deed
The core values were extremely valuable in helping our parish find its way when we could easily have become confused and distracted.