Macon’s First Church and Mother Church of the Diocese of Atlanta
Christ Church stands in the heart of our historic city. The town of Macon was created by an act of the Georgia legislature in December, 1822. Three years later, the Rev. Lot Jones traveled on a missionary tour to the new town and helped to establish the congregation of Christ Church. The Church was officially incorporated in 1825, and is known as the first church in Macon, Georgia. The first church building, located on our present one-acre lot, was opened for services in 1834 and was consecrated in 1838. The growing congregation of Christ Church quickly outgrew the first building, which was torn down and replaced in 1851 by the present stucco-over-brick, Gothic style building.
A smaller worship space, Jones Chapel, was added to the church grounds in 1879. Today, it houses a newly renovated chapel and a modern commercial kitchen. Jones Chapel serves as an alternative place of worship with flexible seating of 70 and used also for our Weekend Lunch Program.
The congregation of Christ Church continued to grow. In order to accommodate the need for additional space, the Parish House was built in 1926. A two-story building of approximately 17,000 square feet, it houses a choir room, two nurseries, a parlor, twelve church school classrooms and a large fellowship hall with a stage, two kitchens and robing rooms.
We also have a long history of caring for others. In 1886, Julia Parkman Jones left money in her Will for the establishment of a home for “the indigent ladies of the Parish, and such other persons as the wardens and vestry of Christ Church may select as worthy and in need of its protection”. From that time until 1937, the house was a haven for many, but its operation became overwhelmingly expensive during the Depression and the house was closed. Thereafter, income from the fund has been used to assist those in need.
Christ Church was the first church in Macon to house an organ. In 1999, the building underwent considerable renovation to accommodate a new organ to fill our sanctuary with beautiful music. With the purchase and installation of a tracker organ, the organ and choir were relocated from the chancel to the gallery. The organ and the renovations were completed in the year 2000 in time to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the church. Our nave seats 360 parishioners. The stained glass windows were recently refurbished and restored.
The “Great Hall” is located upstairs in the Parish House. It regularly serves as the venue for many church events. Recently, it has been renovated with improved lighting, a new sound system, and a modern audio/video system. It includes a large stage, which is used for many special presentations, including church meetings, children’s plays, musical, and social events. It is a special gathering place, where our parishioners enjoy fellowship and make memories.
The Harrold House is a two-story, 4,000 sq. ft., 19th century building located adjacent to the church building. The Harrold House was renovated in 2001 and provides office space for the rector and other members of our church staff.
Given the age of our buildings, there are always ongoing maintenance projects, which require constant attention. Other capital projects remain on the drawing board as future funding will allow.
Our Recent History
In May 1995, The Very Rev. Harriette Simmons was hired by then Rector Vic Fredriksen to be our assistant rector. She was later named by then Bishop Frank Allen to be Dean of the Middle Georgia Convocation. Since her initial hiring, Harriette has served as our assistant rector and later as our “priest in charge”. In October 2002, she accepted a call as the associate rector of St. Paul’s in Augusta, Georgia. In December 2008, Harriette returned as “priest in charge” for a second time. Subsequently, she was named rector of Christ Church and served in that capacity until her retirement in May, 2015. Many young families joined Christ Church under her leadership.
Our demographics are as follows:
Number of Parish families: 286
Number of Baptized children (under age of 19): 90
Number of adults for the following age categories:
75 and over: 70
Average total of Sunday worship attendance: 211
Our Diocesan History
To view a parish properly, it must be seen both against the background of its community, and in the context of its diocese. The Diocese of Atlanta (Province IV) comprises the northern counties of Georgia and is one of two dioceses established in Georgia. Interestingly, the meeting to establish the Diocese of Atlanta was held at Christ Church. The Right Rev. Rob Wright became our Bishop in 2012, and has his diocesan offices at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. There are 94 parishes in the 10 convocations of the Diocese. The Macon Convocation includes Episcopal churches in Macon and throughout Middle Georgia.
The Diocese of Atlanta maintains five full-time chaplaincies and supports a number of ministries, including the Appleton Family Ministries located in Macon. The Diocese also has a full-time youth coordinator and an up-to-date resource center library.
Mikell Conference Center, located in the beautiful hills of Northeast Georgia near Toccoa, serves as a year-round getaway for everyone, from children attending summer camps to vestries on retreat. With its variety of sleeping quarters, meeting rooms, large dining room and swimming pool, Camp Mikell can accommodate groups from 2 to 200.