Historical Highlights

“O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come” 

The first service of the Episcopal Church of Riverton was held on Sunday evening, December 23,1855. The Reverend Dr. H. Hastings Weld, Rector of the Trinity Church, Moorestown, drove to Riverton in his carriage and conducted Evening Prayer in the “White House” on the river bank. The bell of the steamboat “Wave”, moored at the Riverton wharf, was rung to call people to worship. 

The Rev. D.C. Millet became the first Rector in 1856 and was succeeded in 1857 by the Rev. Marcus F. Hyde who served the parish until 1862. Services continued to be held in various homes (even in a barn) until 1859 when a lot was purchased at the corner of Broad and Main streets. The cornerstone for the first structure was laid on June 9th, 1859 and on Saturday, June 9th,1860 Bishop William Henry Odenheimer consecrated the first frame church building where Holy Communion was administered at Riverton for the first time. 

The Parish of Christ Episcopal Church was incorporated in 1860. The Rev. Levi Johnson, was our first resident Missionary, came to the parish in 1862 and from 1866 to 1869 the Rev. Robert F. Roche served as Rector. In 1868, vestryman William P. Ellison purchased and presented to the parish the land which houses our present complex. The original Church building was moved here in 1871. By this time, a Sunday School and the “Christ Church Guild” including several parish organizations, had already been established. The present Rectory was completed in 1868 at the cost of $6,500 and became the home of the first resident rector, the Rev. Dr. H. Hastings Weld, who served the parish for the next eighteen years. On July 10, 1884, the present stone church was consecrated by the Bishop John Scarborough. The original frame building was moved to Palmyra and still serves as Christ Church, Palmyra today. 

To learn more about the original Tiffany’s stained glass window that sits at the back of our beautiful church, visit the Historical Society of Riverton!