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Grace Episcopal Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2021 Cohort

Grace Episcopal Church

Newton, Massachusetts

Grace Episcopal Church, with its 107-foot bell tower, is a defining feature of the landscape and soundscape of one of America’s first commuter suburbs: Newton, Massachusetts.

Grace Episcopal Church by Peter Vanderwarker

Grace Episcopal Church by Peter Vanderwarker

2021 Cohort

Grace Episcopal Church

Newton, Massachusetts

Grace Episcopal Church, with its 107-foot bell tower, is a defining feature of the landscape and soundscape of one of America’s first commuter suburbs: Newton, Massachusetts.

With the arrival of the locomotive railroad, merchants, clerks, and other workers commuted daily into Boston before returning home to the comfort of the suburbs. In 1855, these commuters helped found Grace Episcopal Church, which met in a private residence and then a small wooden chapel before constructing a large, American Gothic Revival-style church in 1873. Noted Massachusetts architect Alexander Rice Esty designed the church, and it is recognized as among his finest works.

Grace is a mission-driven church that supports education, arts, mental health, and programming in the community. The church recently started a garden and donates produce to a local food pantry. Along with five other congregations, Grace participates in the Newton-Brookline Asylum Resettlement Committee, which assists families and individuals fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the Boston area. The congregation donates books to children at one of Boston’s most under-resourced elementary schools and to the local justice system. Grace has been an active participant in the Bishop’s Safe Academic & Fund Enrichment program (B-SAFE) for 16 years, leading several days of youth programming each summer, and provides groceries and supplies year-round to community members facing unemployment or upheaval.

A $250,000 National Fund grant and $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will allow Grace Episcopal Church to address structural flaws in the bell tower. The congregation is unable to worship in its church until the tower is repaired. Work will include repairing interior and exterior masonry, rebuilding buttress joints, resetting cornice stones and quoins, restoring tracery, and repointing masonry.  

Grace Episcopal Church by Chris Walton

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