The Other Monroe Bicentennial
1823 - 2023
Monroe celebrates its bicentennial this year, but the official incorporation of the Town of Monroe on May 23, 1823, is not the only bicentennial we celebrate this year. There is another, that of St. Peter’s Church on the Monroe Green. Hold on, hold on, wait just a minute! How can that possibly be true?! Any Monroe history lover knows that St. Peter’s Church was raised in 1802 and consecrated on September 18, 1807 by Bishop Abraham Jarvis, the second American Episcopal bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. It’s mathematically impossible that St. Peter’s is celebrating its bicentennial in 2023. While all of that is true to an extent, there’s another facet to this history that many are unaware of, and sharing such details is what we strive for at the Monroe Historical Society. Want to learn more? Let’s dig in.
The formal parish was organized in 1805 as the Episcopal Society of New Stratford in the town of Huntington, which then including the present-day towns of Shelton and Monroe. Originally, this was the parish of Ripton (Huntington Center). At this time, what would eventually become St. Peter’s Church in Monroe was considered as an affiliate to St. Paul’s Church at Huntington Center, the two locations even sharing the same rector, Rev. Ambrose Todd, until his death in 1809. On April 7, 1823, the church at Monroe Center petitioned the general assembly for permission to form a new parish, independent from Ripton. Their request was granted under the title, The Episcopal Society of St. Peter’s Church in New Stratford Huntington. In the following month, the Town of Monroe was incorporated, our name inspired by our 5th president James Monroe. And so it began.
Now that we’ve learned something new about St. Peter’s early church history, It’s now time to mention some of its modern history. In late 2022, St. Peter’s Church officially merged with Grace Episcopal Church of Trumbull to form St. Peter’s Grace Episcopal Church of Connecticut. This merger strengthens both church’s shared community of faith and paves the way for a brighter future for the greater church and the members of both parishes. Historically, what began as a petition for independence from a neighboring parish has now come full circle to a decision to merge with a neighboring parish. Isn’t that a full history to be proud of? Now as it was then, it’s all for the greater good.