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Aug 03, 2022

Three Shrewsbury Churches Celebrate July 4

By Lori Draz

Rev. Katja Gruening, pastor of the Presbyterian Church and Mother Lisa Mitchell, rector of Christ Church

On Sunday, July 3, the Presbyterian Church in Shrewsbury welcomed members of the Quaker Meeting and Christ Church, along with the broader community, for an ecumenical Independence Day celebration.

These three churches occupy half of the historic four corners intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Broad Street in Shrewsbury – a relationship that historian Rick Geffken explored in his presentation during the event. While at the time of the American Revolution the three congregations had their political differences, Geffken noted that cooperation and mutual respect among the churches also occurred. One example he cited was that at the turn of the 19th century, Christ Church allowed the Presbyterians to worship in Christ Church for 20 years while the Presbyterians rebuilt their church, which was destroyed by fire in 1800.

Iris Chen, music director at Christ Church, and her family led the singing of patriotic hymns.

The day began with a worship service at 10 am on the lawn of the Presbyterian church, led by Katja Gruening, pastor of the Presbyterian Church; Rev. Lisa S. Mitchell, rector of the Episcopalian Christ Church; and Allen Brenner, clerk of the Shrewsbury Quakers. As the rain held off, the service was followed by an old-fashioned community potluck brunch featuring everything from fried chicken to vegetarian plates and desserts. Close to 100 people young and old enjoyed this day of fellowship and food in celebration of our nation’s birthday and the congregations’ centuries-old, shared geography history.