Happy Birthday!

21 12 2008

Today, December 21st,  is the 200th anniversary of the founding of my parish, Grace Church in New York. She is, for lack of a better phrase, a “spin-off” of Trinity Wall Street in lower Manhattan.  Back in the early 1800’s, Trinity’s pews were all rented, so they built the first Grace Church on the corner of Broadway and Rector.  Less than fifty years later, the congregation moved to its current location at 10th Street and Broadway, just south of Union Square.

Here’s a picture.


Grace is a bit of an anomaly in that her prinipal service on Sundays is Rite I, Morning Prayer.  On the first Sunday of the month and for special occasions or major feasts, we will have Rite I Eucharist.  Its other services during the week are Rite II Eucharists.

Today I was serving on the Altar Guild for our 9am service.  Due to what I assume is the weather or the cold that has been going around, our crucifer was unable to make it, so I was asked to serve in that capacity in addition to the other duties today.

I was also a Chalice Bearer, so I was near the altar while the Eucharistic Prayer was being said.  I have to say, regardless of when or where it is said, whether in a place as majestic as Grace or in a more humble setting such as St Clement’s around the corner from me, I always get a sense as if the veil between heaven and earth have become just a bit more thin …

Festivities for our bicentennial will continue through mid-January when we commemorate the first Vestry meeting.  The Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Mark Sisk, will be in attendance (this I am sure will be cause for a Eucharist at the 11am service!) and I believe he is preaching in addition to celebrating.

I call Grace a bit of a microcosm of the Body of Christ.  We have a hisotry of being rather Evangelical as far as Episcopal Churches go, as we have clergy alumni such as Fleming Routledge and a former rector went on to become the bishop of South Carolina. We still have a healthy evangelical wing in the parish, as well as a very progressive wing dedicated to social justice and keeps us firmly planted in our call to be Christ in this world.  There is also what I call a “seeker-agnostic” group of folks that generally come in the evening service who may not know exactly why they’re there, but they enjoy the hymns and the great preaching from our clergy staff.

If you are ever in New York, to be sure you will want to stop by and visit places like the Cathedral of St John the Divine or Saint Thomas’ on Fifth Avenue, but I am telling you a service at Grace Church is not to be missed.  You will not find a more hospital group of people, some of the best preaching in The Episcopal Church, and a choir whose 8 voices fill up the space like no one else’s business!

Here’s a picture of the altar.  Y’all come visit!





4 responses

22 12 2008

I remember walking past your church years ago–a friend of mine and I had walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and up Broadway-as I remember there was a great used bookstore somewhere near by.

It sounds as though you all at Grace Church are blessed-an welcoming, eclectic congregation, in a beautiful building, in a great city.

22 12 2008

I am not familiar with “St. Clemens Around the Corner from Me.” I have so much to learn. (heh heh heh)

22 12 2008

Lovely post. I think I told you that I used to work down the street from there- right at 9th and Broadway.

I have been in the church many times – just to sit quietly and pray when the church was open during the day.

It is a beautiful spot.

27 12 2008
Elizabeth Kaeton

Merry Christmas, darling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: