- Parish House
“Christ Church continues to grow from its rich tradition into a flourishing future as it lives out its mission in downtown Little Rock.”
On Sunday, March 10, 1839, the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk, missionary bishop of Arkansas, held an Episcopal service in a Presbyterian Church in Little Rock kindly loaned for the occasion. This small wooden church was located at Main and Second, at that time called Cherry Street. After the service, the group met in the home of Senator Chester Ashley and organized Christ Episcopal Church, named after Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, of which several of the group had been members.
Shortly after its organization, Bishop Polk arranged to buy property at the church’s present location, 5th & Scott Streets, and in June of 1840, the little flock welcomed its first pastor, the Rev. Wm. Henry Christopher Yeager. His leadership led to starting a fund for a church building. Two years later, in October 1846, the small but beautiful church was ready for worship.
In 1873 the church was destroyed by fire, thought to have been caused by lightning. All parish records were lost. Services were held in various public buildings from time to time, but plans were immediately drawn up for a new church. After five years a chapel was ready for services, which continued until the entire edifice was finished, and used for the first time on Easter Sunday, 1887.
After about fifty years of much use, the congregation decided to redecorate the entire interior. On Saturday night, October 2, 1938, the day before the planned dedication, the church burned to the ground. The cause was never determined, but one theory is that painter’s supplies left in the undercroft may have spontaneously combusted. Plans were again drawn for a new church, this time in a neo-gothic style, with the exterior of Arkansas stone rather than the red brick of the former church. The present church building was ready for dedication on September 28, 1941.
Today Christ Church continues to grow from its rich tradition into a flourishing future as it lives out its mission in downtown Little Rock. Each week our community gathers for worship, fellowship and growth, experiencing the love that we then bring into the world around us. Our building and grounds also serve as a sacred place in the midst of a busy city, offering midweek worship and a quiet place to experience beauty and peace in a hectic world. With our belief that God is present in all things true and beautiful we also offer opportunities to engage with the arts through our gallery space, our Undercroft music shows, and regular opportunities to interact with contemporary writers and poets.
Christ Church, from its beginning, has been important part of the fabric of life in downtown Little Rock and we look forward to continuing to discover the work God has for us in this beautiful and complex southern city.