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History of Grace

Grace Episcopal Church was established in 1955 when the Diocese of Southeast Florida recognized the need for an Episcopal Church in the rapidly growing north end of West Palm Beach. The first vicar was Rev. William Lillycrop, and for the first two years worship services were held in a variety of settings - at parishioner's homes, a storefront, and in the recreation rooms of the Flotilla Club and Temple Israel. Grace Episcopal Church’s original church building was built in 1957 and designed by the famous Miami architect Robert Bradford Browne.

The church’s rectory and original sanctuary was housed in a hexagonal Tropical Modern style building with a steeple shaped almost like a rocket ship. It was a prominent structure and often recognized as one of the most significant architectural structures in Florida. The church, and beautiful sanctuary inside, embodied the spirit and pride of the church’s parish and worshiping community. By the time Grace attained parish status in the Spring of 1961, the church "was bursting at the seams" and could no longer house its rectory and sanctuary under one roof.

In the Spring of 1965 and under the leadership of Rev. Phillip E. Perkins, improvements to the church building and sanctuary were completed, a parish hall was added, and the old rectory was replaced with a new one which is currently located on a waterfront lot on Lake Mangonia. As the church grew in size and influence under Rev. Perkin's leadership, Grace distinguished itself as a pillar in the community and a leader in social justice. The arrival of Rev. Fredrick P. LaCrone in 1981 resulted in the implementation of many new programs throughout the next 15 years. These included outreach ministries as well as other parish ministries.

In 1988, the Grace Episcopal Day School, now known as the Grace Episcopal Learning Center, was established and ushered in the church's subsequent 30th anniversary with a new emphasis on youth programs. The biblically named classrooms comprising the Grace Episcopal Learning Center accommodate up to 49 students and provide a safe, creative, Christian learning environment for children between the ages of 2 to 5.

Despite its work and influence in the community, Grace nearly came to an end when the wooden beams of its church building began to rot, the steeple gave way to the rain, and worship services had to be moved to the parish hall. Members of the church and community rallied together with the aid of an official restoration committee to fundraise for the necessary renovations and substantial money was pledged in an effort to save the building, but the projected cost to renovate proved to be too great. In 1998, the decision to demolish the original church building was made and the parish would continue to worship in its adjacent hall for a period of more than four years before its new and current church home was built.

The decision to demolish its original church building resulted in a significant reduction of Grace’s membership and a substantial loss of financial support. Crippled but not defeated, the church parish proceeded with plans for demolition and commissioned a search committee to find a new rector to revitalize the spirit of the people and restore the church to its great work. In September 2000, Grace was blessed to find and welcome Fr. Winston A. Wright as its new rector. Through his enthusiasm, energetic leadership, and guidance, Fr. Winston (as he likes to be called) provided opportunities for everyone at Grace to enrich their spiritual lives through worship, service, and fellowship. Because of his tireless work and commitment, Grace was able to rebound and its various ministries are more active than ever.

Under Fr. Winston's leadership, construction of Grace's new and current church building was completed in 2004 and services in the new building and sanctuary began. The parish has since continued to grow in both size and influence. Over 105 people have been baptized in the new church building and the parish’s average weekly attendance of 50 has grown to 250. The church has also reestablished its presence in the community and established a strong community outreach program. Every year, Grace holds an annual health fair, a spring classical concert, a fall festival, and a number of other events for the parish and surrounding community. It also hosts several neighborhood association meetings in the hall it formally used as an interim sanctuary, including regular meetings of an AIDS Task Force, activities for the Edward Healy Rehabilitation Center, and an annual MLK Kick-off reception. Among the events most loved and cherished by the church’s current rector is an annual healing conference attracting many parishioners and guests with a focus on healing of the entire body, mind, soul, and spirit.

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Our History

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Grace's New Church Building's 10th Anniversary

On December 15, 2013, Grace held a very special service in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of its new church building. The service included drummers, praise dancers, guest speakers and plenty of selections from the choir. The Right Reverend Howard Gregory, Bishop for the Anglican Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, served as the Celebrant and Preacher for the special occasion. Though established more than 50 years ago, Grace celebrates the construction of its current building in 2004 as a critical turning point in its history. As one member of the church appropriately put it, “the parish could have been destroyed with the destruction of its old building, but was not, and has a lot to celebrate.

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Our Services

  • One Team
  • One Focus
  • One Faithful People

Grace Episcopal Church is part of the wider Episcopal Church family, headquartered in New York.

We are a multicultural congregation representing 22 countries from different ages, races, and backgrounds. As a faith community we celebrate God, diversity and the fullness it brings to each of us.

The foundations of our faith and spiritual life arise from the following three basic tenents:

  • Scripture the Old and New Testaments contain the essence of our faith.
  • Reason we should use reason to explore and comprehend God's work.
  • Tradition respecting traditions, as in our hymns and prayers, helps us to interpret the scriptures, share experiences of early Christians, and present the historical underpinnings of our faith through our liturgy.

 

Rev. Canon Winston A. Wright is committed to diversity and works with other clergy in the Diocese of Southeast Florida to increase and preserve the diversity of churches in the diocese.

Diversity is more than a word or political concept, but a mission and way of life. We invite you and your family to join us on any given Sunday in all your individual and cultural distinction.

Worship & Bible Study

8:00 a.m. - Holy Eucharist (Rite I) Our 8 a.m. service is a traditional Said Eucharist and Sermon.

10:00 a.m. - Sung Eucharist (Rite II)Our 10 a.m. service incorporates a blend of traditional contemporary music.

9:00 a.m. - Sunday School Sunday School for all ages is held every Sunday at 9 a.m. in our Parish Hall. Adult classes include traditional bible study, counseling, confirmation preparation, baptismal preparation, and anointing.

10:00 a.m. - Children's Sunday School Sunday school for children ages 3 to 12 is held every Sunday at 10 a.m. in our Parish Hall.

11:30 a.m. - Youth Sunday School Sunday school for children over the age of 12 is held every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Parish Hall after the 10 a.m. worship service.

10:00 a.m. - Holy Eucharist & Healing Service

7:00 p.m. - Bible Study Bible Study is held on Wednesday during select periods of the year. Click Here for information.
Study Materials will be available one week prior to the start of the next session.

Third Sundays Sunday is Youth Sunday. Our children serve as lectors and ushers and present to the church in music, song, dance, and other forms of praise.

Fifth Sundays Every fifth Sunday, our young adults of St. Stephens Fellowship serve as lectors and ushers and present to the church.