WHO WE ARE
The Episcopal Church
The Anglican Communion is the gathering of Anglican and Episcopal churches from around the world. Today, the Anglican Communion comprises more than 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches in more than 160 countries.
The Episcopal church is part of the Anglican Communion, and is comprised of 109 dioceses in 16 nations.
At the head of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
The Episcopal church, established shortly after the American Revolution, has its roots in the Anglican Church. The Anglican Church, known as the Church of England, had a strong following in colonial America. But when the colonies won their independence, the majority of America’s Anglican clergy refused to swear allegiance to the British monarch as was required. As a result, the Episcopal Church was formed.
The vibrancy of the Anglican Communion reflects the lives of its congregants and their commitment to God’s mission in the world.
The Episcopal Shield
The shield was adopted by the General Convention of 1940 and is rich in symbolism. The red cross on a white field is the St. George Cross, an indicator of our link to the Church of England, the mother church of the Anglican Communion. The miniature crosses in the blue quadrant symbolize the nine original American Dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to adopt the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. They are: Connecticut (established in 1783), Maryland (1783), Massachusetts (1784), Pennsylvania (1784), New Jersey (1785), New York (1785), South Carolina (1785), Virginia (1785), and Delaware (1786). The blue field in the upper left is the color traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and is symbolic of Jesus’ human nature, which he received from his mother.
The outline of the miniature crosses is in the form of St. Andrew’s Cross in tribute to the Scottish church’s role in ordaining the first American Bishop, Samuel Seabury, in 1784. The colors red, white and blue symbolize, respectively, (Red) the sacrifice of Christ and Christian martyrs,(White) the purity of the Christian faith, and (Blue) the humanity of Christ received from the Virgin Mary. In duplicating the colors of the American flag, they also represent the Episcopal Church’s standing as the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.
History of Grace Church
The first Episcopal service in Waycross was conducted in 1881. For two years, the congregation met in homes of members. The present building site was purchased in 1884, the second church building in Waycross. The title “Grace Church” was selected.
Construction of the present building was begun in 1904, and the first service in the present Grace Church was on Easter Day, April 23, 1905. Grace church attained parish status in 1906. The parish hall was added in 1925. Memorial Hall, housing the present sacristy, an office and large upstairs classroom was completed in 1950.
Groundbreaking for major renovation and new additions was held May 9, 1990 with dedication of this new facility of February 9, 1992. The bell tower was completed November, 1999.
Two rectors of Grace Church, C.C.J. Carpenter and John Walthour, became bishops; and three communicants of the parish have been ordained into the priesthood.
Grace Episcopal Church is a parish of the Episcoapl Diocese of Georgia. For more than 100 years, Grace Church has been a sign of Christ, a visible symbol of prayer and worship in Waycross. For more than 100 years, people have come to grace Church to be spiritually nourished by God’s word and Sacrament, and to be empowered by His Holy Spirit for His ministry of servanthood and reconciliation.
May this always be so, as we seek God’s will in our lives and as we grow in His Grace. We welcome you to Grace Episcopal Church and invite you to worship with us.