The unusual story of the establishment of this Episcopal congregation has been retold repeatedly. In 1854, The First Congregational Society in this town was vigorous; it also was sadly divided over the issue of slavery. Unable to reconcile its controversy, it agreed to split into two congregations.

Without rancor, the minority left and established the Union Congregational Church of North Brookfield. The church was successful and was able to erect a new stone building in 1894. Named for the major benefactor, it was dedicated as the Tucker Memorial Church in 1900.

Within a few years, however, North Brookfield shared the experience of many central Massachusetts towns. Major economic problems nationwide shut down factories and businesses. To find employment, families had to move into urban centers. For lack of funds, the pastor of Tucker Memorial was dismissed and the church survived using supply clergy or lay leaders. One of these leaders was and Episcopalian who asked if he might use the Book of Common Prayer in a Sunday service. The people appreciated it and after discussion, decided to ask the Episcopal Church to furnish a supply.

Bishop Vinton came in person and later assigned the diocesan missioner to supply from time to time, explaining the tenets and belief of the Episcopal Church. Following complex negotiations concerning the charter and property, Tucker Memorial's congregation petitions to sever its ties with the Union Congregational Society and to seek admission to the Protestant Episcopal Church early in 1905. Bishop Vinton granted the petition in February; in March, the Ecclesiastical Council dismissed the church from the Congregational denomination. At the bishop’s suggestion, the church took the name of Christ Memorial Church.

For the next twenty-five years, the congregation grew and the parish thrived in the community. With the coming of the Great Depression, both church and community suffered a major decline. There was no resident priest for about five years. Then the church was a mission of the Christ Church in South Barre. Discussions were held with the bishop concerning the possible closure of the church, but a small group persisted in their efforts to keep the Episcopal presence in North Brookfield.

In 1937, disaster struck. Because of neglect and inherent structural weakness, the stone church collapsed; to raise funds for reconstruction the rectory was sold. The site was cleared in 1938 and a new, smaller stone church was built from the remnants of the older building. Membership began to increase, but another disaster struck in 1950 when a fire gutted the interior of the building. It was fully renovated and the rectory was repurchased.

Both the town and the church regained strength and the parish enjoyed the services of a full-time priest until the mid-1950’s, when economic problems and the loss of jobs in the community affected the parish’s growth. To date, the church has survived with the part-time ministry of a priest-in-charge. The lay participation of the church members is outstanding. With the retiring of the most recent priest, many members have stepped up to become Lay Eucharistic Ministers and Lay Preachers. This members of this church continue to be devoted to the preservation of this little church.

The major ministry of outreach at Christ Memorial involves the use of a portion of the rectory. About ten years ago, its use was offered to the community as a youth center governed by a board of directors which includes several parishioners. Christ Memorial is actively engaged with other Christian churches, and ecumenical prayer services are held at Thanksgiving, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday as well as on special occasions. The church is well equipped in its structure, in the devotion of its members, and in its faith.

Contents © 2022 Christ Memorial Episcopal Church • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy