ABOUT THE CHURCH BUILDING AND THE PAST

 

Zion Episcopal Church was founded in Rome, New York, in 1825 as a mission of Trinity Episcopal Church in New York City. At that time all of New York State was one diocese and the bishop, who was also rector of Trinity Church, was The Rt. Rev. John Henry Hobart, a great Anglo-Catholic bishop who brought the Episcopal Church into the modern world and who is now remembered on the Church's calendar on September 12.

Rome, NY is the place the Erie canal began, one crew digging east and one digging west, and 1825 was the year the canal opened for business. Shortly after the canal opened, Bishop Hobart visited Zion Church via the canal.

 


The present church building, a structure of exceptional beauty and harmony of form, was constructed in 1850 under the leadership of the first rector of Zion Church from 1849 to 1857, The Rev. Henry B. Whipple, Ph.D., LLD, a famous missionary who later became the first Bishop of Minnesota.

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As does every good church building, it encourages and supports the spiritual lives of the ongoing, evolving congregation that has met here ever since it was constructed. It's architect was Richard Upjohn, the foremost church architect of the mid-19th Century. Its style is known as neo-gothic. It is the oldest church building in the City of Rome, and its greatest architectural treasure. The church was enlarged in 1866-1867 after the Civil War and the parish hall was added in 1885 by Upjohn's son and grandson, respectively.
When the church was built, all its windows were opaque glass. Zion's exceptionally beautiful stained glass windows, among which two are several from the Tiffany studios, began to be installed in 1873.

 

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The present organ, the church's fifth, is a tracker organ from the Noack Organ Works of Georgetown, Massachusetts, built in 1976. It is recognized as one of the best tracker organsin any church anywhere.    

 

 


Zion has an illustrious history. The congregation has worshiped here and served God in the community of Rome for a 187 years. Two of the many outstanding rectors who have served this parish have gone on to become bishops in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Whipple and the Rev. Stephen H. Jecko, who was rector of the parish from 1977 to 1984.

 

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