Christ Episcopal Church c.1832 - Smithfield, VA

Christ Episcopal Church c.1832 – Smithfield, VA

Christ Episcopal Church c.1832 - Smithfield, VA

Christ Episcopal Church c.1832 – Smithfield, VA

History of the Parish

For more than 175 years, Christ Church has been the spiritual home for generations of Smithfield and Isle of Wight residents. Christ Episcopal Church of Newport Parish in Smithfield, Virginia is housed in the oldest church building in town. Christ Church has a unique sense of responsibility for the history and preservation of not just the church itself, but to the community that it serves. With a rich history, a diverse membership, dedicated staff and numerous volunteers, Christ Episcopal Church remains a strong part of the Christian community in Smithfield, Isle of Wight County and Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Historical Timeline of Christ Episcopal Church

1. Revolutionary War

2. Early Development

3. Civil War

4. Post-War Reconstruction

5. Christ Episcopal Stained Glass

6. The Modern Era


Jones Creek from South Gatling Point

Jones Creek from South Gatling Point

Demographics of the Community

Christ Episcopal Church members reside predominately in the Town of Smithfield, small communities, such as Carrollton, to the east and southeast along the James River, rural county developments tucked within the forests and along the creeks and the James, south to the Suffolk line, west to Route 460, and north to Elberon.

Rural farmland, forest and wetlands cover much of Isle of Wight County. Today, most members of Christ Church reside in these areas, and many on the land that was settled by members at St. Luke’s over 300 years ago in Newport Parish.

The natural landscape, Windsor Castle park, a fine museum, art galleries, a variety of music events and dedication to the preservation of historical landmarks, have made the Historic Smithfield community a recent tourist destination. The slower pace of the county’s

Foot Bridge to Windsor Castle Park

Foot Bridge to Windsor Castle Park

Wharf Hill Restorations and Renovations

Wharf Hill Restorations/Renovations

rural environment has attracted new residents seeking the personal connections, space and safety such an area affords. Over the years, Smithfield Foods (headquartered in Smithfield)

and The Luter Family have made generous contributions to the Town that initiated funding for: the Luter Family YMCA, purchase of Windsor Castle property which includes, walking trails, boating and fishing docks, gifted the Little Theatre, the Smithfield Center and other venues for public and private use. In addition, The Luter Family has given generously to our mother church, St. Luke’s, for its preservation. The local support for entrepreneurship has cultivated a unique offering of restaurants, shops and a wonderful Farmers’ Market open during special

St. Luke's Episcopal Church c. 1632 A National Shrine maintained by St. Luke's Restoration Inc. Mother Church of Christ Episcopal Church, Smithfield, VA

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church c. 1632
A National Shrine maintained by St. Luke’s Restoration Inc.
Mother Church of Christ Episcopal Church, Smithfield, VA

holidays, events and spring through fall.

The county boasts a solid public school system, an outstanding private school and a thriving homeschool community. The Town of Smithfield is idyllically situated one hour from the oceanfront and two hours from the mountains. The roads and bridges in the county provide easy access to the greater Hampton Roads Area.


Smithfield / Isle of Wight

1. 8,139 / 36,462 – Population

2. 10.1 / 363 square miles – Area

3. 43.1 / 43.7 – Median Age

4. $66,419 / $64,419 – Median Household Income


The Mallory Todd House c. 1750 Christ Church neighbor on Wharf Hill who deeded the lot on the corner with an existing building to the Episcopal Church for Christ Episcopal Church

The Mallory Todd House c. 1750
Christ Church neighbor on Wharf Hill who deeded the lot on the corner with an existing building to the Episcopal Church for Christ Episcopal Church

Community Landmarks

Old Courthouse (1750);

Isle of Wight Museum;

Smithfield Inn;

Historic St. Luke’s Church;

The Malory Todd House;

Smithfield Corporation Headquarters;

The Painted Ladies (Victorian style homes);

Christ Episcopal Church;

Fort Huger,

Boykins Tavern


Community Websites

Town of Smithfield –

Genuine Smithfield –

Isle of White County –


Worship at the 11:00AM Service on Easter Morning

Worship at the 11:00AM Service on Easter Morning

Budget, Attendance, Membership History

Our membership history had its early beginnings in 1832 with the original 36 members who moved from the c. 1632 “Old Brick Church” (later called St. Luke’s, which was 5 miles from Smithfield), to develop a new Episcopal church in the heart of Smithfield on land deeded to the Episcopal Church by Mallory Todd. The Civil War was an impact to the church’s growth and prosperity, and it took some time to repair the church infrastructure, restore membership, Vestry leadership and its rector after the War. An attempt was made to maintain both Christ Church and St. Luke’s without success.

Today, St. Luke’s and Christ Episcopal Church have a deeded relationship. This old church is maintained by an organization formed in 1953 known as St. Luke’s Restoration, Inc. Our focus today is on Christ Episcopal Church, its faithful maintenance and congregational care. Our relationship with St Luke’s, continues and includes a service there every 5th Sunday at 11am.


2015 Commitment Costs and Giving

2015 Commitment Costs and Giving

2015 Commitment Costs and Giving

2015 Budgeted Balance





Budgeted Commitment Giving


Pledge Offering

Non-Pledge Offering

Plate Offering

2014 Carryover



Budgeted Commitment Costs




Personnel Expenses

Office Administration



























Christ Episcopal Church is part of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, which is headquartered in Newport News, Virginia. The Diocese is home to 107 Episcopal parishes, altogether about 37,000 persons worship in the Diocese.

Originally carved out of the Diocese of Virginia in 1892, the Diocese has roots in the earliest decades of American History, going back four centuries to the English settlement of Jamestown. In 1607, the Rev. Robert Hunt, chaplain to the Jamestown settlers, celebrated the first Anglican Holy Communion on these shores. The Church of England, the forerunner of the Episcopal Church in America, was established in Virginia for the next 173 years.

Under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Herman “Holly” Hollerith , the tenth Bishop of Southern Virginia (2009), the Diocese is focusing on congregational development, the raising up of a new generation of leaders, ordination reform, creative approaches to stewardship, clergy wellness, the planting of emerging congregations and the development of bold mission endeavors (these comprise but a portion of the vision of for the Diocese).


Groups and Programs in the Church

Christ Church is known in town for its innovative programs and community involvement with a special focus on filling the gaps for community service and outreach. An example of Christ Church’s historic creativity and innovation was the creation of the Pennywise Shop which fulfilled a community need for inexpensive clothing. The Pennywise Shop operated out of the Church’s tiny basement until other thrift shops were opened in town. Souper Saturday is a fundraiser initiated and organized by Christ Church that provides heating assistance to those in need. The Christian Outreach Program provides emergency assistance to families in need and who have suffered loss. Our doors are also open to the community as a venue for special events. Christ Church established a performance series called Sundays at Four which draws an audience from both the local community and as far as 90 miles away.


Christ Church Offers the following ministries:

Bible Study

Children’s Christian Formation

Classic Over 70 Luncheons


“Good News” Adult Education

Prayer Shawls

Bread Baking Guild

Memorial Gifts

Altar Guild

Pastoral Care

Daughters of the King

Local Christian Outreach Program

Martha’s Table

MOH – Homeless Shelter

Performance Series

Flower Guild

Worship Committee


Annual Blood Drive



Lay Ministers

Music programs









We are committed to maintaining worship as the central life of the church. We welcome all newcomers and visitors and strive to make their worship experience meaningful and uplifting. Our two services (celebration and traditional) support varying worship styles in liturgy and music. True to Episcopal expectations, we are fortunate to have music directors who can select music to support and enhance the scriptures of each service.



The Reverend Connie Gilman

The Reverend Edith Gilliam Raby, Deacon

Church Administrator Deborah Webb

Music Director (traditional service) Heidi Bloch



Who Are We As A People?

  • Hospitable, vibrant and friendly. We welcome everyone.
  • Energetic – We live our faith passionately within and without the church walls and are known in the community as a meeting place for a variety of services and events.
  • Spiritually alive – Through our various ministries: inreach, outreach, worship, educational, music, those dedicated to responding to individual needs of congregants, love of our church building and its beautification. Our congregation continually lives the spiritual life and extends itself beyond Sunday services (e.g. Celtic service, Wednesday Eucharist, Evensong, services at St. Luke’s).
  • Practice open decision making/resiliency – our church has a strong commitment to congregational input, realizing that the Vestry, along with the clergy, make the important final decisions. Our church leaders show a genuine concern for parishioner’s opinions and consider different approaches toward resolving issues.
  • Vibrant in worship and music – we have two services at Christ Episcopal; one a celebration service and one a traditional service. Both are uplifting in liturgy and music with a goal of developing our service offerings to reach out to everyone.
  • Committed to Life-long Christian Formation — we have a spiritual responsibility for our Christian Education programs. We are placing special focus on our children and youth and look forward to new leadership that will assist us in developing these areas. We have an adult class and present various religious educational events/lectures for the entire congregation.
  • Excited about the future – We look forward to new leadership that will inspire growth in all areas and who can help us adapt to the “church of the future” whether new innovative ideas, or as some academic sources suggest the modern trend is to seek the church of the past.
  • Dedicated to financial viability so we can hire a full-time rector.