Worship The Lord in The Beauty of Holiness

A Brief History And Tour of Christ Church Grosse Pointe

In appearance, Christ Church Grosse Pointe could be one of the serene glories of 15th-century England. In reality, it is one of the most dynamic Episcopal congregations in 21st-century America.

Christ Church Grosse Pointe2005 marked the 75th anniversary year of Christ Church's dedication on June 15, 1930, and its formal opening on December 14, 1930

At that time it was a "branch" of Christ Church Detroit, called Christ Church Chapel. The Rev. William D. Maxon, who served as rector of both Christ Church Detroit and the chapel, officiated with Bishop Herman Page at the dedication and at the opening service.

The term "chapel" was appropriate for another reason. As the vast front lawn indicates to this day, planners envisioned the structure as the first phase of a cathedral-like complex.

Christ Church: The Building

Christ Church is one of the last Gothic churches designed by Mayers, Murray and Phillips, of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Associates in New York, who also designed Christ Church Cranbrook.

Christ Church Grosse PointeThe narthex, with its great curving stairway, was modeled after the Chapter House of Wells Cathedral. The cloister - which was not enclosed until 1957 - was inspired by the cloister of Canterbury Cathedral. And because music already was a priority, the church boasted a fine organ built and installed by Casavant Freres of Quebec.

The architects chose sandstone from quarries in Clearville, Pennsylvania, for the exterior because of its iridescence in sunlight. The interior is of gray limestone from Indiana.

Because the church was one of few built during the Depression, many outstanding artisans were available to beautify it with intricate wood carving and detailed stonework.

Beauty Abounds

Carved English Oak ReredosAs at many "Grand Openings", the bone structure of the building was there in 1930, but much of the beauty was yet to come. The carved English oak reredos and sanctuary paneling, with their intricate renderings of the life of Christ, prophets, apostles and saints, were dedicated in 1931.

Executed by Mowbray & Co., Ltd., in London, the reredos was donated by Caroline Askew Barton in memory of Henry Lester Barton. John Wendell Anderson donated the sanctuary and chancel paneling with its carvings, by Jungwirth Brothers of Oberammergau, of St. Francis of Assisi, St. George and the Dragon, the Virgin and Child, St. Joseph, St. Nicholas and St. Augustine.

The octagonal marble baptismal font, also given in 1931, depicts the four evangelists on the edge of the bowl and the four Cardinal Virtues (Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude) on the supporting base. It was givBaptismal Fonten by Mr. and Mrs. John V. Redfield, in memory of Mary Rosamond.

The carved stonework surrounding the front portals of the church was not completed and dedicated until 1942. The intricate tympanum, the triangular panel over the doors, depicts Jesus saying "Come unto me..." to a lame man, a man with a heavy burden, a king, and a mother and child. It was donated by Charles, Robert and John Warren, in memory of Charles Beecher and Helen Wetmore Warren. The figure of Christ the King above the door was dedicated later in 1942. It is a gift by Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Bohn in memory of Evelyn Elizabeth Bohn.

Christ Church's most famous glory, of course, is its stained glass windows. Even they were not in place at the 1930 ceremonies. page 2>


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