Home History
PDF Print E-mail

 

 

 

 

“House of God and a Gate to Heaven”

St. Mary's Church has been a "House of God and a Gate to Heaven" for thousands of Christians since 1702, when the first Anglican services were conducted in Burlington. More than a beautiful church and National Historic Landmark, St. Mary's is, and seeks to be, an active Christian community.

 

St. Mary's was established in 1702 as the first mission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the missionary body of the Church of England. At that time, Burlington was the capital of West New Jersey. The Old Church, still standing on the comer of Wood and West Broad Streets, was built in 1703 and served the parish as its house of worship until 1854, when New St. Mary's was completed. Recently renovated, Old St. Mary's is used for occasional services, meetings and other events, and for worship services in the summer months.

 

New St. Mary's Church, built 1846-54 and restored 1976-81 after a disastrous fire, provides a dignified place of worship, where the Episcopal Church's expression of the Catholic Faith is practiced.

 

The first Rector of St. Mary's was the Rev. Mr. John Talbot. In its nearly three century history, St. Mary's has had twenty rectors. Among the most notable were the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Odell (1766-1776); the Rev. Dr. Charles Wharton (1796­1833); and the Right Rev. George Washington Doane, second Bishop of New Jersey (1833-1859). Bishop Doane, a veritable Renaissance man, was not only a leading clergyman in the Episcopal Church but also a composer of hymns, an educational reformer, and a student of architecture.

 

The churchyard is the final resting place of many persons of historical significance, including Col. Daniel Coxe, early Proprietor of New Jersey; Joseph Bloomfield, general and governor; Elias Boudinot, a president of the Continental Congress; William Bradford, U.S. Attorney General under Washington; and, Franklin D'Olier, first commander of the American Legion. In addition, several bishops and rectors of St. Mary's are buried here.