Church History


In 1854 the Right Reverend George Washington Doane, second Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, commissioned the Reverend William Herbert Norris as Missioner to the newly-formed borough of Woodbury. Norris was already known as an adherent of the Oxford (or Tractarian) Movement, which pioneered the nineteenth-century Anglo-Catholic revival, first in the Church of England and then in the Episcopal Church.

Norris guided the budding congregation in securing property and erecting the current church building in 1856. Bishop Doane consecrated Christ Church on September 17, 1857. From that time, the church flourished under the watchful eyes of twelve rectors who helped it grow in membership, programs, and periodic renovations.

Our thirteenth Rector, the Reverend Brian K. Burgess, SSC arrived in 2005. In 2016, we celebrated 160 years of Anglican worship in Woodbury. Then, on December 11, 2021, Fr. Burgess was elected Bishop of Springfield, Illinois. A farewell choral Evensong was offered at Christ Church on February 27, 2022 in thanksgiving for his seventeen-year ministry here. A good number of parishioners traveled to Springfield to participate in his Consecration liturgy at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul the Apostle on May 21, 2022.

The Rev. John D. Alexander began as Interim Priest on June 1, 2022. Having now entered the transition period between rectors, we cherish our rich past, and continue to move forward in unity of spirit and purpose.

“And Christ Church, Woodbury, solid in stone, and ‘beautiful, exceedingly,’ and fitted for all sacred uses, stands, in the eye of God, the very gem of the Diocese”
– Spoken by Bishop George Washington Doane at the 1858 Convention of the Diocese of New Jersey on behalf of Christ Church Woodbury.