History

Here is a short video from RESA about the History of Grace Church.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW from 2014 Profile

When Michigan became the 26th State in the Union, the total population of the five villages that then made up the Port Huron area was less than 1,000 people. This included the soldiers stationed at Fort Gratiot. In December of 1838, the Reverend Charles Reighley, a priest of the Episcopal Church, went on duty as the chaplain of the Fort. Mr. Reighley, with thirteen of his fellow Episcopalians, decided to form a church. In 1840 the Articles of Incorporation were filed with the St. Clair County Clerk and Grace Episcopal Church became the first church organized in the county. The first church was built on the corner of Huron and Grand River Avenues, now the site of the Sperry Building. A plaque on the building designates the site. The church seated 125 people.
Due to the lumber business and the population growth, the congregation had outgrown the church building and in the mid 1800s, a new church, the Little Brown Church, was built on Sixth Street, currently the site of the Port Huron Museum. This church seated 200. The parish flourished and in 1868, the first pipe organ in the city was installed.

The church continued to grow. The vestry made a deal with the city, trading their Wall Street property for three lots on the south side of Court at Sixth Street. In 1874 the church building was moved to the vacant lot and the present stone building was slowly erected. Quality materials were bluestone from the Pointe aux Barques quarry, while the interior is finished in natural woods of Norway pine and red oak. The first service in our current church was in November of 1891. The Goulden Memorial Chapel and current church house were completed in 1911.
The Skinner Organ was installed in the church in 1928 at a cost of $22,000. Currently it is valued at $750,000, having been refurbished in 1973 and 1998. In 1962, a Schulmerich Carillon was installed in the tower of the church and was controlled by a panel near the organ console. It was similar to the carillon at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Being in disrepair, the Schulmerich Carillon was replaced in 2000 by a carillon by Verdin. It was donated as a memorial by the Price and Thomas families, parishioners at Grace.
In 1956, the current Christian education building and Chapel of the Holy Innocents were consecrated. The Chapel is built with the children of our parish in mind as the pews are smaller towards the front. We have a Columbarium built in 1976 with 420 niches, the first of its kind in the area.
In 1989 Grace Church celebrated its 150th Anniversary. On the 11th of June, there was a procession led by crosses, banners, bag pipers, the choir, clergy, the Knights Templar and the congregation which began at 6th and Court, moving to Huron and Grand River, where the first church was built, on to 6th Street and then returning to the church for the rest of the service. In 1990, the Historical Society of Michigan presented Grace Church with the very first Centennial Award in the State of Michigan.
In 2000, the church expanded its vision, reaching out to the community by renting a home across 6th Street to Bridge Builders Counseling Services for $1 per year. Blue Water Habitat and Safe Horizons lease the Heritage Building on 6th Street for $1 per year also. Grace Church continues to serve the community on many outreach activities such as the Soup Kitchen and the Angel project providing gifts and food to children and their families from around our church area. On the south side of Grace Church there is a Memorial Garden which includes Stations of the Cross.

Our Rectors:
o The Reverend Charles Reighley, 1829-1850
o The Reverend George B. Engle, 1850-1859
o The Reverend Josiah Phelps, 1859-1861
o The Reverend Henry Banwell, 1861-1865
o The Reverend William Stowe, 1865-1874
o The Reverend Ammi M. Lewis, 1874-1876
o The Reverend Henry Banwell, 1877-1879
o The Reverend Sidney Beckwith, 1879-1894
o The Reverend John Munday, 1894-1926
o The Reverend Austin E. DuPlan, 1927-1958
o The Reverend Canon D. Roy Lees, 1958-1988
o The Reverend Dr. John Paul Boucher, 1988-1996
o The Reverend Gary Hamp, Interim, 1996-1997
o The Reverend Richard Mason, Interim, 1997-1998
o The Reverend Robert P. Trask, 1998-2012
o The Reverend Dr. Lydia Agnew Speller, Interim, 2013-

Grace Church, being located where Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River, continues to provide for our community, serving parishioners along with reaching out into the community.

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