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Church celebrates renovations

By Mary Cole

Special to the Smithfield Times

Christ Episcopal Church had a very special worship service on Sept. 20.

Like most churches, from mid-March through early summer, there was no in-person worship. During July, the congregation gathered at St. Luke’s, its c. 1632 mother church, while Christ Church was under construction. Since early August at CEC, the congregation has been gathering for a quiet service, carefully following all COVID-19 rules.

But on Sept. 20, CEC celebrated the completion of its Priority A Preservation Goals with a visit from the Rt. Rev. Susan B. Haynes, bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia. She dedicated the “Life of Christ” window and all structural work completed during the past two years and confirmed three young church members.

The weather was beautiful, and the recent restoration of this 1900 stained-glass installation sparkled as the sun shown through into the nave of the c. 1832 building. In addition, the service had music for the first time in seven months. Heidi Bloch, organist, and Christopher Mooney, baritone soloist from Bruton Parish Church, provided all expected Rite II music for the service. Mooney sang behind a screen as required by COVID regulations, taking advantage of the wonderful acoustics all musicians enjoy at this church.

Regular tours of the historic structure will resume after COVID is under control. In the meantime, watch for the new Isle of Wight Museum video series, “Behind These Walls,” available soon. Christ Church is featured in this production.