Grace Church was established in the mid-nineteenth century and renamed in 1903 to honor Robert E. Lee, who served as Senior Warden some 30 years earlier. In 2015 our parish began discussing and debating about whether to restore our name back to Grace, the name it had in Lee's day. On September 18, 2017 the Vestry voted to restore our name to Grace Episcopal Church.
Our church has almost 300 communicants and an average Sunday attendance of about 140. We have worship services each Sunday at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM. A contemplative Taizé Eucharist is offered on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 5 PM. A Choral Evensong is offered on the 4th Sunday at 5 PM. Christian Formation is offered between the morning services from September to May.
All Sunday services include the Eucharist. The 8:00 AM service tends to be traditional and contemplative, and has no music. An active and growing adult choir leads music at the 10:30 AM service. At all services, we embrace Anglican traditions of worship while remaining open to alternative forms of meaningful worship inclusive of children, youth, church seekers, and long-time members.
We have a Vestry of 12 members, most of whom chair or serve as liaison to one or more of our parish committees. The Rev. Tucker "Tuck" Bowerfind is our Rector. The staff consists of a Minister of Music, Director of Christian Education, Programs and Communication; a Parish Administrator; a part-time Financial Secretary; and a part-time Sexton.
Our congregation includes many retired people; faculty, students and staff from our local colleges; and professionals from our community. One-half of our communicants have attended Grace Episcopal Church for 20 years or more, and about a third have been in the parish a decade or less.
We value a healthy sense of community, interaction among generations, and tolerance of a diversity of viewpoints among our members.
We offer Christian education programs for persons of all ages, an active ministry to college students, a strong and creative music program, and mission outreach, locally, in the diocese, and in the wider world.
For many decades, our parish has been a catalyst for efforts to address social problems in the Rockbridge community, founding, for example, the Rockbridge Area Relief Association, Meals for Shut-ins, and Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center. Members of the parish have also been generous with their time and financial support for numerous other local and international causes, such as Habitat for Humanity, Rise Against Hunger and the Marc Nikkel School in the Sudan. We consider these activities to be a significant part of our Christian mission.
Welcome to Grace Episcopal Church. Whether you have visited us in person or are just exploring that possibility by visiting this website first, we are glad that you have found us. As someone considering visiting Grace, you are likely to have many questions. Here are our answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
The Mission of Grace Church
The mission of Grace Episcopal Church is to share in the redeeming work of God by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, by worshipping Jesus as Lord, by growing in the knowledge of God and God's will for our parish, and by building the fellowship of Christ's body, the Church. We seek to share God's love in witness and service to one another and our community, our neighboring institutions of higher education, and through the diocese, to the nation and the world.
What Happens on Sundays?
Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 8 am (no music)
Christian Education, 9:15 to 10:15 (September - May)
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 10:30 am with Choir
Taizé Eucharist, 2nd Sunday of each month at 5 pm
Evensong, 4th Sunday of each month at 5 pm
Bulletins are available for adults that guide participants through the worship experience. A weekly insert lets the congregation know what is coming up in the week ahead.
Ushers and Greeters are available before and after the service to answer any questions and help you find out more about Grace. We look forward to having you join us!
What is a rector? A parish? A vestry?
A rector is the chief priest at a parish; he or she is responsible for worship and the spiritual care and formation of God's people in a given parish. The Reverend Ellis Tucker "Tuck" Bowerfind is our rector. A parish is another name for a worshipping, learning and serving community that gathers together weekly for Eucharist in order to be the Body of Christ in the world. A vestry is a group of elected lay people (people who are not ordained) who help define and articulate the mission of the congregation; support the church's mission by word and deed, select the rector, ensure effective organization and planning, and manage resources and finances.
How do I receive Holy Eucharist?
All baptized Christians are invited to receive communion. If you prefer not to take the wine you may cross your arms over your chest as the chalice is passed. Receiving the host only is considered a complete communion.
Those not receiving communion are welcome to come forward for a blessing. Simply signify by crossing your arms over your chest.
I want to be baptized. Baptism is full initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ. If you want your child to be baptized or if you are not baptized and wish to be contact our rector and he will guide you through the process of scheduling your baptism.
What do we do if we want to get married at Grace? If you desire to schedule a wedding at Grace, please set up a meeting with the priest to begin the process. Either the bride or the groom will need to be a baptized member of Grace or have ties to the church. Professional counseling with a priest or a professional therapist will be required.
Whom do I call with questions? We urge you to meet our staff. They can answer any question you might have.
You may contact the church office at 540.463.4981 to discuss any specific questions you may have or to set up an appointment with our priest.