July 7: First Worship Service in Church (1844)

Almost a year after the laying of Epiphany’s cornerstone, the building was ready for use. Physically, it was a plain rectangular structure lacking transepts or chancel, with red brick and mortar walls 18 inches thick, and with a low-gabled slate-covered roof. Two small granite towers ornamented the corners of the façade, and in the middle a large window opened into the choir gallery. A narrow vestibule separated the front from the church’s interior, which had three aisles and seated about 500 people in comfort. On a sanctuary platform were a simple altar, pulpit, and reading desk. The Ladies Association provided some carpeting. The side windows had brown cloth curtains to control the sunlight through their rectangular lower part, and colored paper over their Gothic part above.

With the new building ready for use, Epiphany’s vestry on July 5, 1844 resolved unanimously to hold the first services in it two days later on July 7. The formal beginning of the new building came a week later when Bishop Whittingham preached and administered communion to a large congregation that filled the church to overflowing. The bishop spoke of the church building as a “spacious and neat edifice, the completion of which in so short a period…and with a very trifling proportion of indebtedness remaining to be discharged, was a blessing that filled the hearts of all present with deep thankfulness.”

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