61 East Main Street
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
(516) 922- 6377
This church was where Teddy Roosevelt’ and family worshipped on Sundays. Oyster Bay, part of the “gold coast” of Long Island is the site or Roosevelt’s summer home Sagamore Hill. The Village is also home to Billy Joel among other celebrities both past and current.
The walk to the church is not only easy but interesting as well, if you stay at the outstanding Oyster Bay Marine Center. The OBMC has a very large mooring field and some slips. The launch service is excellent from the moorings and the village is full of interesting things to see on your way to church. Among points of interest is the Railroad Museum and the audio tour you can plug into your cell phone.
The church is small and lovely, filled with spectacular stain glass and a very enthusiastic congregation. Facing the entry door there is an ancient cemetery of 9 graves that fascinated my nine-year-old son, while the headstones are brittle you can still make out the headline – Here lies the remains of James Doughtery.
The Pastor Michael Piret, is fascinating in his own right. A native of Buffalo he ended up at Magdalen College, Oxford for so many years that when he came back to the States and Oyster Bay he had a British accent and trouble driving on the right/wrong side. His sermons are excellent not too long, not too short, just right for a muggy summer morning. Christ Church is blessed not only with stain glass and a friendly congregation but of special note they have excellent air conditioning so you can concentrate on what Father Piret is saying!
Every parish I visit I am amazed at the uniqueness of the parishioners and the services, while still following the Book of Common Prayer Rites giving everyone that familiar (sometimes unfamiliar) guide. Unique to Christ Church is the holy water at the entrance, the inclusion of Pope Francis in the prayers for the people and wonderful gentlemen in bermuda shorts and blazers topped off with bow ties. While the “old school” uniform and the plaques to Teddy Roosevelt’s family is a reminder of the old elite waspy church the congregation is warm, unpretentious and welcoming in keeping with the diverse “new church.” Father Piret even gave us sailors a shout out during announcements, so be sure to let them know you arrived by boat. I had such a great experience at Christ Church that the very next Sunday I changed my plans so I could come back again.
After the service we got offered a lift to the marina, but we wanted to stop at Tabby’s, Oyster Bay’s answer to a diner for breakfast. It is a pretty popular place. Walking back from the service to the marina most likely the Railroad Museum will be open and it is worth a visit. Next to the museum is a large park with some great playscapes if you are traveling with younger children.