The 75th anniversary of the founding of Christ Episcopal Church was celebrated throughout the year 2001. Religious events highlighted the year, along with social activities that brought local parishioners and friends together in fellowship.
Christ Church began the anniversary year with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on New Year's Eve 2000, a chance for parishioners to rededicate themselves to the glory of God. In March of last year, the church held a parish mission weekend where Father David Hoopes, Father Superior of the Order of Holy Cross, conducted various workshops for all members of the Christ Church family.
Father Brown, Christ Church Pastor, and Father Hoopes con-celebrated the Holy Eucharist to conclude the parish mission weekend. A brunch was held after the service.
In May, Christ Church continued its celebration with an anniversary dinner dance held at the Long Island Mariott. Many former parishioners traveled from afar to join in the festivities. In attendance were The Rt. Reverend Rodney R. Michel, Bishop Suffragan of Long Island, and Mrs. Michel. On Oct. 28 of last year, the Christ Church family celebrated its 75th anniversary with a choral Eucharist and parish brunch. Parishioners said it was more than fitting that Reverend Dr. Byron Howell Brown, Jr., who has been the pastor and spiritual leader of the church for the past 30 years, was the celebrant. The anniversary celebration concluded this past New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 2001, with the Holy Eucharist.
In 1926 a group of dedicated Episcopalians met to worship God in a home in Stewart Manor. The small congregation grew. In 1929, a Tudor church was erected on Jefferson Street at Chester Avenue in Garden City. The first communion service took place in the church on Dec. 22, 1929.
Christ Church was admitted into union with the Diocese of Long Island as a parish in May of 1956. In 1964, Garden Manor Nursery School began. In December of 1967 Father Brown became rector of Christ Church. In December of 2001 Father Brown celebrated the 38th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
The Christ Church parish is a community of disciples who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Worship is the main focus of their life as Christians. Sunday Eucharist takes place at 8 a.m. (said) and 10 a.m. (sung Eucharist with choir and organ). The parish provides the opportunity to grow in the knowledge and understanding of faith. Sunday School begins at the Pre-K level and continues through high school, meeting in conjunction with the 10 a.m. service. Adult Bible Study meets after the 10 a.m. service. Moreover, a very active prayer group meets regularly to pray for those in need and to thank God for His many blessings.
Through the church's outreach program, individuals have many opportunities to serve Christ and community. The church also has a very active Youth Fellowship group that engages in social and service activities throughout the year. Garden Manor Nursery School, under the direction of Marylou Brown, is a part of that youth outreach.
Christ Episcopal Church will bid a fond farewell to the Reverend Byron H. Brown, Jr. on Sunday, Jan. 20. The farewell begins at 4 p.m. with a Solemn Evensong officiated by The Right Reverend Rodney R. Michel, Suffragan Bishop of Long Island, and continues with a gala buffet dinner at the Hempstead Golf and Country Club. Father Brown, as parishioners affectionately know him, has served as rector at Christ Episcopal Church since December of 1967.
"We've known that Father Brown's retirement was on the horizon but we just hoped he would put it off a while longer," Senior Warden Sturge Shields said. "To say we will miss Father is a tremendous understatement..."
Father Brown received his B.A. from Adelphi University; M. Div. from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin; M.S. Ed. from St. John's University; D. Min. from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana; and most recently his Post Doctoral tutorials at Christ Church in Oxford, England.
He has played an active role in the Garden City community serving as a member of both the Garden City Narcotics Guidance Council and Contact, Inc., a drug abuse organization. Father Brown was also a Rap group leader for Garden City High School students; a coach of approximately 40 boys and girls village soccer, baseball and softball teams; member and president of the Garden City Clergy Fellowship; a member of the Garden City school board; Chaplain to Adelphi University; and Chaplain and teacher at St. Mary's School.