The history of Christ Episcopal Church from 1828- Present

The History of Christ Episcopal Church

Christ Church is the oldest Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama, and the second oldest Episcopal Church in the state of Alabama. We were founded in 1828, and we have worshiped here ever since.

On January 7, 1828, Reverend Robert Davis and thirteen founding members signed the charter for Christ Church, and in February, a state architect was hired to design the building. On June 20 of that year, the deed was signed to purchase our current lot for $150 from the Town of Tuscaloosa. 

Construction on the building was completed in 1830, and the total cost was about $1,900. In April of 1830, the first baptism and funeral took place in the church, and in September, the first wedding was held. 

Our church has been an integral part of the Tuscaloosa community and the Alabama Episcopal Diocese since its beginning. On April 12, 1831, the University of Alabama held its charter ceremonies here at Christ Church. In 1844, the first Bishop of Alabama was elected here.

On April 3, 1865, the bell of Christ Church was rung to warn the city of the attack by Union troops. During the Occupation, Union troops closed Christ Church due to prayers for the Confederacy that had been added. Christ Church withstood the onslaught and aftermath of the Civil War, unlike many other structures in town and at the University. 

The building was constructed in the Greek Revival style. Many additions and changes to the building and property have taken place over the years. 

History of Worship

The music at Christ Church has always been a point of pride. In 1913, an electric blower was purchased to eliminate the need for someone to pump the organ. This original organ was replaced in 1941 with a new pipe organ from Austin Organs, Inc, and it was used until 2018 when a new pipe organ (Létourneau Op. 132) was installed.

Thirty-seven stained glass windows and three in the narthex add colorful inspiration to the buildings on the property: seventeen in the main church, eight in the music hall, six in the chapel, four in the narthex, one in the Adam Grant room done in memory of Jim Kirby, and a domed ceiling in the chancel that was installed in 1906.  

The church received an Alabama historical marker paid for by the Women of the Church in 1973. Christ Church is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We at Christ Church are proud of our storied past, and are honored to worship in a nave whose walls have seen so much history. We cherish our history and hope to preserve our worship space for years to come.