|History||The Planting of a South Anchorage Church|
In 1980, at the suggestion of Bishop David Cochran, a group of
Episcopalians drawn from the three then-existing congregations in
Anchorage met to form a mission in South Anchorage. The first
service was conducted by the Rev. Norman Elliot on All Saints Sunday,
November 2, 1980, at St. John United Methodist Church with five families
in attendance. A formal petition for recognition as a
mission was presented at the diocesan convention in November, 1980 and
Rev. Ray Dexter, Director of the Salvation Army Clitheroe Detoxification
Center, was named non-stipendiary priest-in-charge.
Mission status was obtained from the Standing Committee on January 1, 1981, and the congregation was officially named Christ Church at our first annual meeting later that month. A Sunday School was started in March of 1981. Because we needed a space that made morning worship possible, we moved to Rabbit Creek Elementary School. Our first service there was held November 29, 1981. In December we had our first baptism. Before the year ended, we also had formed a youth group.
The year 1982 began with a budget of $14,819 and ended with a membership of 25 and a Vicar selection committee looking for a full-time vicar. A pledge of $10,000 a year for five years from St. Mary's Episcopal Church enabled us to begin looking for our own property. An adult Bible study class was formed in addition to a regular Sunday School program.
At the third annual meeting in January of 1983, Rev. Ray Dexter retired as priest-in-charge and David Cates became the interim priest with additional support from several supply priests. Due to renovations at Rabbit Creek Elementary School, we moved to Oceanview Elementary School on September 3, 1983. Also in September of 1983, the Diocesan Convention authorized the purchase of five acres of land at Huffman and Bragraw for the eventual building of our own facility. In December, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church invited us to share its facility at the intersection of Old Seward Highway and Oceanview Drive for a rent of $135 per Sunday. Our first service in our new location was held December 10, 1983.
At the January, 1984 annual meeting, we set goals to double the number of families and to have a rector by September. The first wedding was held in May and an adoption service was held in November. Also in November, Bishop Harris proposed that Sue Hewitt be hired for pastoral care during her deaconate, with the diocese paying her $500 a month in salary. On December 1, 1984, Sue Hewitt began her six-month contract with Christ Church. An office was established and a telephone number for Chirst Church was listed in the phone book.