Christ Church Forest City History
It was in June of 1983 that Christ Church, Forest City, Pa. and Trinity Church, Carbondale, Pa. first formed a joint ministry called Christ and Trinity Episcopal Parish. Although the parishes have not merged into one faith community, we have maintained a relationship through a sharing of our clergy and administrative expenses. Both Christ Church and Trinity Church have determined that the status quo is not a plan for the future of our parishes.
Our immediate future includes retaining our current relationship however; we are working with our new full-time Rector, Reverend Donald Schaible, to grow each parish to become independent and self-sustaining. Fr. Don devotes a significant portion of his time to growing in size our respective communities of faith while maintaining a commitment to current parishioners.
A Timeline History of Christ Church Forest City
November 23, 1887
The first Episcopal service was held in Forest City by Rev. S. P. Kelly
August 12, 1888
The mission was organized and the name of the church settled upon was the Church of The Good Shepherd.
August 18, 1891
During the pastoral administration of Rev. A.D. Gring, the cornerstone of the church building was laid and the Vestry changed the name of the church to Christ Church. Because the front of the completed church was made of native quarried stone, it had been known through the years as “The Little Stone Church”.
1891 - 1943
A continuous ministry served the church community. But with decline in mining and timbering, the mission was not able to elevate into self-sustaining parish status.
1947 - 1956
A fire originating in the basement damages the church building. Visiting clergy and seminarians provide worship services on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s of each month. Attendance dwindles and financial support was on the wane.
A dedicated layman of Trinity Church, Carbondale, Mr. Frank Gaydosh agreed to pay one-third of a full-time Vicar’s salary if the Diocese would pay one-third and the local congregation the remaining one-third. Rev. J. S. Falzone, (one of the visiting seminarians) was chosen by the Bishop. Regular attendance of worship services filled the church to capacity. A new building addition and a renovated undercroft was dedicated . The church chancel was renovated.
A down turn in the regional economy contributed to membership decline. The Diocese combined Christ Church and 4 other churches into the North Lackawanna Valley Parish and later, as the Lackawanna Episcopal Ministry (LEM) served by a rector and paid assistants.
LEM was disbanded. Christ Church and Trinity Church, Carbondale formed one parish, Christ & Trinity Parish. The merger was for the purposes of sharing clergy and administrative expenses. Each church maintained its own Vestry. The combined churches were served by full-time rectors for most of this period. Under the pastoral administration of Rev. S.J. Matylewicz, Christ Church became a parish in 1996, able to sustain itself without Diocesan financial assistance.
After a period of direction finding, self –study, search and decision , Rev Donald Schaible accepted the call of Christ and Trinity Parishes to serve as Rector.