As you enter Grace’s sanctuary, what physical features do you observe? First time visitors often remark upon the sparkling shafts of sunlight that enter through our remarkable stained-glass windows. Yet architect Alexander Esty also hoped that we would notice the unusual number of pillars – which he designed as a visual metaphor for the determined founding mothers and fathers of Grace Church. These columns, stone and wood, short and tall, skinny and wide, were intended by Esty to represent both the physical shapes and sizes of the people, as well as their individual contributions to building up the Grace Church community. Even a person small in stature could be “mighty” in their determination to insure the success of the new parish. Alexander Esty was impressed by their resolve, and wanted to create a visible depiction of the contributions of each. The main roof supports are massive, yet the pair at the front pews each have help from twin skinny “assistants”. Look about the high altar…look in the corners… Enter Grace Church’s sanctuary again for the first time – noticing the many and diverse pillars.
In her sermon on Welcome Back Sunday, Regina recounted her experience of visiting a brick church in the West. The structure was constructed with damaged, cracked bricks scavenged from the reject pile of the local brick factory, and saved by the rector until he had accumulated enough bricks to build the church. Just as each cracked brick supports the other in this structure, so do the members support each other in the church community. Her charming story brought to mind our own story of Alexander Esty’s respect for the members of the Grace Church community, and his wish to depict the diverse contributions of these individuals, using the pillars and columns as his metaphor.
Don Kennedy, Parish Historian