About Us

Our History

Christ Episcopal Church of Burlington, Iowa, has a long and eventful history. On September 21, 1832 the United States acquired six million acres of Sac and Fox land west of the Mississippi River from a treaty signed with Chief Blackhawk. This created what was originally known as the Wisconsin Territory, a part of which would become the State of Iowa. Burlington became the capitol of this Territory and later the first capitol of the Territory of Iowa.

The signing of the Blackhawk Treaty opened the western shore of the Mississippi to the settlers eager to move into the opportunities this New West Offered. One of the early settlements on the Western Shore was Flint Hills. In the early spring of 1836 the steamboat Olive Branch made its way through a river full of floating ice to Flint Hills. It carried among the settlers a Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Jackson Kemper, and a young attorney, David Rorer. The two met on this journey and Mr. Rorer, who planned to practice law in Flint Hills, encouraged the Bishop to establish a mission in the town.

By 1838 Flint Hills became Burlington and had been adopted by the Episcopal Church as Missionary Station. Bishop Kemper sent out a broad appeal for a priest to serve the Station and received but one volunteer, Rev. John Bachelder from Rhode Island.

The first service by Rev. Bachelder at this Missionary Station was held on March 15, 1839 in the only religious building in Burlington, Old Zion, courtesy of the local Methodists who also were permitted its use as the meeting house of the Iowa Legislature. By 1840, the mission was organized into a Parish and the congregation proceeded to formally organize under the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.

For several years the Methodists allowed the Episcopalians to occupy Old Zion for church services. Finally, in 1849, the Vestry resolved to acquire land for a church building at Fifth and High Streets where the present church now stands. At the same time the Vestry adopted the name “Christ Church.”

After the Civil War, the congregation flourished, outgrowing the original church building. In 1870 the Vestry began searching for a suitable site. Then for several years the church was conflicted over the choice of a site. At last, in 1884, a site for the new church was chosen: the land occupied by the original church. The old brick church was demolished and the cornerstone for the existing church was laid. Construction proceeded rapidly utilizing the classic native stone we see today. The church was occupied the following year and on May 16, 1886, the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Iowa.

As Christ Church entered into the twentieth century, the church continued strong in size and spirit. Her members contributed generously in service and treasure through two world wars and the Great Depression. As the last century progressed, Christ Church encountered many tragedy and challenges. In 1973, disaster struck when a gas heater ignited glue fumes from newly installed carpet causing a fire that destroyed the Church building leaving only its stone walls standing. Lost were valuable church records, the Flemish carillon, the pipe organ and a priceless collection of nineteenth century stained glass windows. Symbolically the resurrection window about the Altar escaped the blaze. After the fire, Sunday services continued without interruption through the kindness of the First Presbyterian Church. Like a phoenix, Christ Church rose from the ashes, generous aid poured in from the community, area churches, and a range of other sources.

In 1991, Christ Episcopal Church celebrated her 150th anniversary and as the Church moves through the twenty-first century it continues a strong history and is anxious to share its good news with the community under the guidance of Rev. Carl Mann, our Priest in Charge.


Our Spiritual Heritage

 The Nicene Creed

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. ~ Book of Common Prayer pp. 358-359.


Christ Episcopal Church follows the Anglican traditions established from previous generations. We believe in God, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We draw our inspiration through prayer, the Holy Bible, the Gospel and the Book of Common Prayer. We also believe that God is in each of us, that Jesus was both human and divine, and faith is trusting without knowing. As we move forward into the twenty-first century, our membership is open to new ideas and concerns. While there is concern with the serious issues facing the National Church, members have a wide range of thought as well as opinion and shows that Christ Church is open to questioning, learning, and growing.


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