The Summer Chapel of Ease
History of Our Church
Episcopal services in Norfolk were first recorded in 1885, when Norfolk was becoming a summer refuge for residents of Hartford, New Haven and New York. Neighboring clergy led the services in the Town Hall, the Methodist Church and occasionally the Stevens Hotel. The stained glass window in the rear of our sanctuary is dedicated to innkeeper Edward Stevens. It depicts the story of the Good Samaritan and recalls the church’s early beginnings.
In 1893 Mr. Frederick Mills Shepard donated the land where the present Church of the Transfiguration is located. Ground breaking for the church began on Sunday, August 6, 1893, the Feast of the Transfiguration. On June 24, 1894 the cornerstone was laid and in 1894, on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the church building was consecrated.
Early members of the church included Broadway luminaries, Gilbert Boeker, a physicist on the Manhattan project, and Hartford’s own Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. A stained glass window near the front of our sanctuary is dedicated to the memory of Clemen’s wife, Olivia. Her name is actually misspelled as Olinia on the window.
The great Transfiguration window above the altar is dedicated to the memory of Francis Skiddy Marden, Jr., a Harvard Freshman, by his parents.
The name of our church arises from the fact that many of the original members were communicants of the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City, known as the Little Church Around the Corner or the Actors’ Chapel.
The Reverend Wendell Phillips was the last priest assigned to our church, preaching from 1934 to 1963. Since then the Bishop’s Committee and the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut arrange for visiting clergy. Our church is called a “Chapel of Ease,” devoted exclusively to summer worship.