What is the Episcopal Church?


The Episcopal Church is the American member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a fellowship of Churches united by a common pattern of worship and a common allegiance to the creeds and sacraments of the undivided Christian Church. Through our bishops, we trace our ancestry through the Church of England back to the apostles. We are a church of the Catholic tradition but reformed in the sixteenth century to regain our freedom to meet changing times in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Each congregation elects its own leadership and chooses its clergy with the consent of the bishop. Decisions about mission and such moral issues as abortion, birth control, divorce and remarriage, and sexual identity are made by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting every three years in which bishops, clergy, and lay people are equally represented.

Our worship is centered on the pattern inherited from the apostles: the reading and proclaiming of God's word written and the offering of bread and wine in which we receive the life of Christ. We believe that worship should involve every member of the congregation and work hard to include church members of every age and background, male and female, in the action.

In recent years, the Episcopal Church has signed an agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in which each church recognizes the ministry and members of the other, enabling us to serve Lutherans in the Canaan area. Over the last two years, three Lutheran clergy have taken part in our services. As a church that is both catholic and reformed, we seek to serve all who come and welcome all baptized Christians at our altar.

Christ Church Canaan was founded in 1843 and the church was built in 1846. The church architect was Richard Upjohn, one of the great Gothic revival architects, who also built Trinity Church Wall Street and many other well-known buildings. The clock tower of Christ Church, Canaan's most visible landmark, was built by Hobart Upjohn, grandson of the original architect, in 1934.

When Christ Church was built, North Canaan and Canaan were still one town and the Town Hall stood next door to the church at the center of the Village Green. When the Town of North Canaan decided to erect a new building in the northwest corner of the village, the church bought the old building and razed it to create a parking lot. The flag pole and "doughboy" statue along with the geodetic survey marker on the church itself still stand as evidence that this is the center of the town. Each year, the Memorial Day parade comes to this site on the old Village Green and each year the village Christmas tree is lit at this location.

Christ Church Canaan