Grace Church was established in the mid-nineteenth century and renamed in 1903 to honor Robert E. Lee, who served as Senior Warden some 30 years earlier. In 2015 our parish began discussing and debating about whether to restore our name back to the Grace, the name it had in Lee's day. On September 18, 2017 the Vestry voted to restore our name to Grace Episcopal Church. The Vestry is currently exploring meaningful and significant ways to continue to honor Lee.
Our church has almost 400 communicants and an average Sunday attendance of about 200. We have worship services each Sunday at 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM. and 5:00 PM. Christian Formation for children, youth and adults is offered between the morning services. from September to May.
All Sunday services include the Eucharist. The 8:00 AM service tends to be traditional and contemplative, and has no music. An active and growing adult choir leads music at the 10:30 AM. service. The 5PM service, during the academic year, is primarily serves students at Washington and Lee University and cadets from Virginia Military Institute. A contemplative Taizé Eucharist is offered on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 5 PM. At all services, we embrace Anglican traditions of worship while remaining open to alternative forms of meaningful worship inclusive of children, youth, church seekers, and long-time members.
We have a Vestry of 12 members, most of whom chair or serve as liaison to one or more of our parish committees. We do not have a rector at this time. We are served by supply priest and an interim will be named in January when we begin the search process for another rector. The staff consists a director of Christian education and programs, a part-time college chaplain; a director of music; a parish administrator; a part-time financial secretary; and a part-time sexton.
Our congregation includes many retired people; faculty, students and staff from our local colleges; and young professional families with small children. One-half of our communicants have attended Grace Episcopal Church for 20 years or more, and about a third have been in the parish a decade or less.
We value a healthy sense of community, interaction among generations, and tolerance of a diversity of viewpoints among our members.
We pride ourselves on our Christian education programs for persons of all ages, our youth program, an active ministry to college students, a strong music program, and on our mission outreach, locally, in the diocese, and in the wider world.
For many decades, our parish has been a catalyst for efforts to address social problems in the Rockbridge community, founding, for example, the Rockbridge Area Relief Association, Meals for Shut-ins, and Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center. Members of the parish have also been generous with their time and financial support for numerous other local and international causes, such as Habitat for Humanity, Rise Against Hunger and the Marc Nikkel School in the Sudan. We consider these activities to be a significant part of our Christian mission