A Brief History of Christ Church, Oxford Centre
Christ Church is one of three church congregations along with St. John’s, Eastwood and St. Paul’s, Princeton that form our Parish.
In the early days of the settlement of this district of Oxford Centre, many families attended Services at Old St. Paul’s, Woodstock, either walking or going in wagons or sleds drawn by oxen. For several years Services were held in the Township Hall, which stood on the land east of where Oxford Centre Hall stands today.
On June 10, 1864 land was purchased from Hartwell C. Griswold and his wife, and registered by the Church Society of the Diocese of Huron. Then came the task of raising the funds for the construction of the church. The estimated cost was $1,100.65. The first baptisms were Eucena and Mary Alice Green, and Sarah Louise Chambers on September 21, 1873. The first recorded burial was of John Green in 1887 followed by Sylvester Keyes on May 7, 1873. In the earlier years most marriages took place in homes rather than in the church, so it was not until February 10, 1877 that the first marriage was recorded and it between Charles William Howden and Isabella Margaret Lampman.
Early records show that for a few years the church was called St. Luke’s, but by 1878 it had been renamed Christ Church. Hydro was installed in the church and was first used for Harvest Thanksgiving, September 10, 1944. In the fall of 1945, when Rev. L. B. Jenkins was rector, the men started the excavation for the basement. The Ladies’ Aid purchased a furnace for $355.00 and the first fire was lit November 2, 1947. In the fall of 1948, the basement was completed.
On August 7, 1979, a tornado swept through Oxford Centre and took the church with it, very little was salvaged, what was recovered is displayed in our Memorial Chapel. While the congregation was without a building, the congregation worshipped at St. John’s, Eastwood.
The church was rebuilt in accordance with the original plans and many memorials were donated in thanksgiving and in memory of loved ones. The new church building was consecrated on We are preparing to celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2017. The foundation of Christ Church stands strong and firm as we continue to worship joyfully within its walls. The church land also serves as a resting place for our loved ones who are already experiencing the wonders of heaven.
One tradition that never ends is that we call our neighbours to worship by ringing our bell.