The original Christ Church Cataraqui stone church was consecrated on October 16th 1870. The building provided permanence for a congregation that had been worshiping in Cataraqui as far back as 1835 and which, at the time of confederation, had held worship services in the Cataraqui Town Hall. In 1875, the congregation began selling burial plots on land surrounding the church, in an effort to raise funds for a rector’s stipend. In 1889, Christ Church Cataraqui became an independent parish, installing its first rector, the Reverend A. W. Cooke. Prior to that time, the parish was an outreach of St. George’s Cathedral.
The original church has undergone several changes. In 1877, to accommodate a growing congregation, the building was expanded to the west of the south entrance. The entrance tower, some eighty feet in height, was built at the same time. An organ and bell were purchased after the tower was built. In 1922, electricity was installed. In 1959 a church hall was excavated beneath the church. In December 1980, the church was badly damaged by fire; the vaulted ceiling and wood paneling on the interior walls were destroyed. The damage was soon repaired and the church was rededicated on March 25th 1981.
In the late 1990’s the congregation had outgrown the original church. The building was not fully accessible and there was little space for parking. At a visioning weekend, members of the congregation decided to retain the original church and build a second, multi-purpose building. The new building included a modern worship area and parish hall. Christ Church Parish Centre was dedicated on June 14th 2002 by Bishop Peter Mason, and consecrated on May 24th 2009 by Bishop George Bruce. The hall was named in honour of a generous benefactor, Mrs. Mae Gibson.
In 2010, the parish began broadcasting Sunday morning worship services at the parish centre over the internet.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and in-person worship was prohibited by provincial law and diocesan direction. This was a great hardship for members of the parish, especially those whose social supports and activities were centred in the church. A small group of parishioners were tasked with maintaining telephone contact with all members and a newsletter was distributed regularly. The rector, Reverend Canon Blair Peever broadcast Morning Prayer on Sundays over the internet with only himself, a lay reader, and a technician present. He also held evening prayer online daily, and Sunday School online.
The pandemic did not stop parishioners celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2020. Just prior to the pandemic being declared, we kicked off the celebrations by holding a themed Sunday worship service in the style of 1870, including period costumes. We performed 150 acts of service, donated gifts of $150 each to ten different charities, and installed a church bell to mark the occasion.
We look forward to another 150 years in the service of God.