The story of Christ Church is a story... within a story... within a story. It’s a story that begins with God... travels through Celtic lands... and continues today in Delavan with me and you.
The story begins “When the right time came, God sent...” These words were written 2,000 years ago by a Christian leader named Paul to a congregation of Christians in the ancient city of Galatia. He wrote this to describe God’s plan for every person in the world who has, and will, ever live.
“But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ ” (Galatians 4:4-7)
God’s plan for the world is to set us free and to make us His own children. And He did it “When the right time came, by sending His Son...” This is the story of how Christianity began in the world.
Two centuries later the right time came again and God sent believers in His Son from the comfort of the Roman Empire to the frontier of the British Isles. So that through Jesus they could be set free and become His own children. When the right time came, great Celtic believers like Saint Patrick were sent by God to Ireland and Saint Augustine were sent by God to England so that people could be set free and become God’s own children. And when the story grew dark, at the right time, in the 16th century God sent Reformers like John Wycliffe to translate His Word into a language everyone could understand (The King James Bible) and Thomas Cranmer to teach a nation to pray (The Book of Common Prayer). This is the story of how Anglican Christianity began.
Fast forward to the year 1844 when the right time came yet again and God sent the descendants of these Anglican Christians from the comfort of the east coast to the frontier of Delavan, Wisconsin. So that through Jesus they could be set free and become His own children. This is the story of how Christ Episcopal Church began.
Christ Church’s story goes all the way back to Jesus, inheriting the unique Anglican identity that blends ancient Celtic and Catholic influences with the evangelical zeal of the Reformation and carries on today among the people that gather inside “the Red Doors” in downtown Delavan. Why? Because like our forebears and like our God, we’re committed with all of our heart to seeing the men and women of southern Wisconsin set free by Jesus and become God’s very own children.