HISTORIC GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN THE TOWN OF JAMAICA, NEW YORK
Grace Church is the first Church organized in what is now the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. As the second oldest Episcopal Church in the State of New York, (Trinity Church in Manhattan being the first), Grace Church is considered the “Mother Church” of the Episcopal Churches in the Town of Jamaica, and the “first church” in the Diocese of Long Island.
In 1699, the “Old Stone Church” was erected and was shared as a place of worship by the Presbyterians. In 1702 Grace church was established and the Reverend Patrick Gordon, a Chaplain in the Royal Navy, was appointed Rector of Queens by the Bishop of London.
Through the generosity of the Honorable Rufus King, the first Ambassador to England, a new building was constructed and consecrated in 1822. It was destroyed by fire 30 years later, as was the second building in 1861.
Grace Church, a congregation known for its resilience and perseverance, began a new church building within the year and in September 1862 opened its doors for worship to the Jamaica Community. This is our present church building, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of American Gothic architecture. In 1967 the Landmarks Commission designated the church an historic landmark.
The next 245 years was marked with the many accomplishments and growth under the various administrations. During this time, the Sunday School was established and outreach programs began. In the 1930’s the murals that adorn the church walls were painted, thereby adding to the ambiance and solemnity of the church services.
In 1978, the parish called the Reverend Herbert Thompson, Jr. as its 19th rector. It was under his leadership that the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Grace Church four million dollars to erect an 80 unit building to provide accommodations for senior citizens and physically challenged residents. In 1988, Father Thompson was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of Southern Ohio. In 1989, the Reverend Percival George Brown was called by the parish as the 20th rector until his retirement in 2004. Father Darryl F. James began serving as priest-in-charge two years ago after a long standing ministry in the Diocese of Chicago.
Over its 306 years, Grace Church has stood as a beacon of spirituality to its members and those who work in downtown Jamaica. Our doors are open everyday of the work week, providing opportunities for God’s people from every walk of life to engage in worship, reflection and deepening their spiritual growth.
In the midst of the development efforts of the town of Jamaica, the steeple of Grace Church is a constant reminder that God’s presence is ever in our midst as we near the 307th year of our existence.