Today’s parish of Christ Church Bay Ridge was formed in 2014 when the former Christ Church Bay Ridge parish merged with the former parish of St. John’s Fort Hamilton.
In 1851, having built a home in what was then called Yellow Hook, Joseph A. Perry, Manager of Greenwood Cemetery, persuaded his parish rector, Rev. Dr. John Stone of Christ Church Clinton Street, of the need for an Episcopal Church in Bay Ridge. With permission granted and monies contributed by many local people, a small wooden church, steeple and rectory were built on Church Lane, now the corner of 68 Street and Third Avenue. Mr. Perry was elected the first warden of the new church, a position he held for nearly fifty years.
James Weir, florist, prominent businessman and church vestryman, proposed the topographically appropriate name of the area be changed to Bay Ridge. Local residents enthusiastically received this new name. Yellow Hook then became Bay Ridge. Mr. Weir remained active on the vestry of Christ Church until his death in 1891.
By the 1900’s, more and more people were moving to Bay Ridge. The 1853 structure became inadequate for the size of the growing congregation. The vestry requested that the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island approve a plan to purchase property for a new Christ Church on Ridge Boulevard extending from 73 to 74 Street. A generous bequest by vestryman Eliphalet Bliss, owner of Owl’s Head Estate (now Bliss Park), made it possible to engage famed church architects Ralph Cram and Bertram Goodhue to design the current Christ Church, which was completed in 1909. A new parish house was opened in 1917, also designed by Cram and Goodhue. With World War I raging, construction funds diminished, and the planned bell tower was never begun. The original Christ Church building was later sold to the congregation of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and moved to its present location at 75 Street and Fourth Avenue.
In 2003, the members of Christ Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of its ministry. At that time, the parish rebuilt and restored the church and organ. With a new roof and windows for the parish hall, repair of church murals and restoration of gardens and grounds, the parish facilities are ready for further service to the people of Bay Ridge. Work on this landmark facility continues to this day.
Our parish has also worked to make connection with the changing demographics of Bay Ridge. Our mutual ministry with Saint George Syrian Church, ecumenical worship with Our Savior Lutheran Church, our sponsorship of Brooklyn Association of Performing Arts, Girl Scouts, and the Christ Church After School & Summer Fun Program are among our varied outreach programs. We continue to support ministries of Episcopal Charities serving families, youth and aged worldwide.
The people of Christ Church Bay Ridge have been good stewards of this sacred building and grounds for over 100 years, and we are proud to share them with all.