ROCHDALE, Mass. - A Central Massachusetts church is celebrating a very special milestone.

Christ Episcopal Church in Rochdale is commemorating their 200th anniversary. On July 6, 1823, the congregation's first service was held in the former Hezekiah Stone Tavern. 

Sunday morning, they had a special service to recognize the anniversary and would follow it up with food trucks and a concert by local band "The Otters" on the Leicester Town Common. Church members also gathered at the Swan Tavern Leicester Historical Museum to view memorabilia and historical items from the church's two centuries.

"It's amazing people don't know what it is," said Chip Leis, the church's historian. "But they refer to it as the little church on the hill with red doors. The Episcopal Church here, its various things. They were closed for a few years, but the faith of the people was still there even though there were no services held because the mill down the street had burnt down. But there was still a remnant of people and so when they built a new mill, people came back again. So out of our whole history, people have come and gone. We've had a number of clergy over the 200 years. In fact, we had 51 clergy, deacons and lay people administering services at the church through our 200 years."

Celebrations for the anniversary will continue throughout the year. In early October, the parish will commemorate the official 200-year anniversary of the laying of the first church cornerstone.