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Grace Finds a Home (1855)

posted Mar 13, 2012, 1:20 PM by Todd Randolph   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 1:21 PM ]
After several months of Sunday afternoon worship in Mrs. Perry's parlor, services moved to the second floor of Union Hall "over Mr. Brackett's Butcher Shop" in Newton Corner, thus Grace Church was born in 1855! Grace used the communion silver belonging to the Unitarians who also rented the hall. In this same year, Beacon Street, which ended at Centre Street, was extended westward to the corner of Washington and Woodward.  

Our "Parish Godmother",   Catherine Stevens Perry, was born a Congregationalist in Bath, Maine; she had a brother who became the Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania. The Perry's son, William Stevens Perry, distributed flyers to recruit Grace parishioners; his Harvard pal, Phillips Brooks, was still a college senior and may have helped Perry distribute the flyers (of which we have a copy). Young Perry later became President of Hobart College, then Bishop of Iowa, and Archivist of the Episcopal Church (of the U.S.).

From the earliest days, the Grace Church congregation included worshippers from Watertown, Waltham, Brighton, and Cambridge, as well as Newton. Grace attendance twice exceeded 300 during the first yearThese Grace Church services were led by Rev. Thomas Fales the Rector of Christ Church, Waltham, who was offered the job as rector of Grace Church. 

Did Rev. Fales accept the call? Find out in the next History Minute....