1828 William Henry Hosch, author of A History of Hall County, begins his history of Grace Episcopal Church by noting an Episcopalian named Warren Jourdain came to Gainesvile in the 1820s and purchased land on which the first church for Episcopalians would eventually be built. In 1828, the first few members of Grace Episcopal Church began to meet in private homes.
1859 Hervey Hall, a successful merchant, builds Grace Chapel or Hall’s Chapel as it was also known on his own property at his own expense. The lot known as “Chapel Lot” was located near current day Spring and West Academy Streets. This building was later sold to the Presbyterians, used as an office & storage building by the Gainesville Midland Railroad and at the time of this photo, had been rebuilt or remodeled and was in use by St. Paul Methodist Church. The building was destroyed in the 1936 Tornado.
1860 Rev. William M. Walton, Archdeacon (pictured) oversees Grace Chapel, Gainesville, and missionaries in the area. In 1860 the Rev. J.G. Downing is reported to be the missionary at Grace Chapel.
1889 Bishop Beckwith consecrated the new church with the name of Grace Church, confirmed three, and made an address
1894 According to a report of the Archdeacon of Atlanta, W. M. Walton, a first class pipe-organ was added, and the chancel front was scheduled to shortly be recast.
1910 The Rev. Edgar Sherrod, Vicar arrives in Gainesville in January and begins work at Grace. He formally takes charge of the parish on April 1, 1910.
1911 The church bought the home-place of Mr. W.A. Roper on east Washington Street near Boulevard. The people of the city congratulated the membership on having purchased a site to build a new house of worship which was deemed to be quite an addition to the city.
1913 The Grace Church building was rolled across town on logs from the College Avenue location the lot on Washington Street purchased in 1911. The last service at College Ave. was the last Sunday of June. The process took more than a month. The first service at Washington Street was held on September 7th.
1921 Under the leadership of the Rev. Cobey a covered walk along the front, a vesitbule, and Vestry room were added.
1930 A chapel was added to the church. Dedicated by Bishop Mikell, it was used for early service on Sunday, as well as other occasions. The first free library in Gainesville was started by Lillie Farrara Downey in the basement of the building.
1934 During Rev. Hinshelwood's tenure a new pipe organ was purchased to replace the old pump organ.
1936 Monday, April 6 at 7:30 a.m. Holy Communion was celebrated during Holy Week. At 8:30 a.m. a tornado struck, completely demolishing the church and taking the roof off the Rectory and otherwise damaging it. After the tornado, church services were held at the Presbyterian Church and Brenau College before settling in the Quinlan Home at 605 N. Green Street.
1937 After the tornado, a new structure was built through the donations of friends both within the Diocese and throughout the nation. On March 28, 1937, the cornerstone was laid by Bishop Mikell, and the following September, the new structure was consecrated.
1952 The Church became incorporated and the initial officers were Clarence G. Butler, chairman; J.B. Woodcock, vice-chairman; H.D. Castleberry, secretary/treasurer. The Stone Memorial Parish House (pictured) was added. The expansion also included an enlarged Sacristy and choir room.
1954 The first stained glass windows were designed and installed by Lamb Studios, who continues to create our stained glass windows today.
1961 The Milton Hardy home at 430 Brenau Avenue was purchased for a new Rectory. The old Rectory was demolished, the Nave was expanded and the Parish Hall extended.
1966-1987 During this time, Rev. Nathaniel Eldridge Parker, Jr. served as Rector and was instrumental in Northeast Georgia Medical Center's employment of a chaplain, helping establish the "Share a Home", the Christian Education Center (now CenterPoint), the House of Grace and Children of Grace Preschool.
1968 The Schantz Pipe Organ was completed and remained until the early 1990s when the church was expanded. The organ was incorporated into a new organ built for Covenant Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, AL in 1995. Daughters of the King is established.
1977 Grace Episcopal Church along with four other local churches found the Community Food Pantry. The pantry is Grace’s longest running outreach ministry.
1981 Grace Church parishioners living in Dahlonega organized Grace Chapel in Lumpkin County. The first service was held Nov. 8 in the chapel at Lumpkin County Hospital. In 1988, Grace Chapel officially became St. Elizabeth's Parish.
1985 After the Church purchased the Hayse property at the corner of Washington and Boulevard, The Guest House, a day center for older seniors needing medical oversight, social activities and the company of others began operating there and did so until the early 1990s when the building was demolished for the expansion of the Nave.
1987 Good News at Noon was founded by Gene Beckstein and Grace and other churches began to take part in the ministry to feed the hungry. Today, Grace continues its Tuesday tradition of preparing lunch for Good News at Noon.
1988-2001 Under the leadership of Rev. Frederick Lamar Jones, the church expanded its facilities from 11,800 square feet to 22,700 square feet. A mission church in South Hall was also established.
1992 Construction begins on the new Nave, Parish Hall and Christian Education buildings.
1993 The steeple and cross was placed atop the tower.
1994 The Rev. Mollie Pollitt, a seminarian intern, became the first female to celebrate Eucharist as a priest of the Parish. Although visiting women had celebrated, Mollie was the first as priest of the Parish.
1998 The Right Rev. Frank K. Allen, Bishop of Atlanta dedicates and consecrates St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Oakwoo, a mission of Grace Church. Mike Freeman, former Associate Rector at Grace, is the new Vicar.
2002-2012 Under the leadership of Rev. Douglas Grant Dailey, Grace Church expanded our outreach opportunities building seven Habitat Houses and supporting the "Carpenter's Kids". We also installed a pipe organ, bells in the tower, opened a church library, published a cookbook and undertook renovations.
2003 "A Taste of Grace" cookbook was published by the Parish Life committee featuring recipes and artwork submitted by members as well as choice selections from "Strictly Southern," the 1949 cookbook sponsored by the women of the church. Copies may still be purchased in the church office!
2005 The tower bells (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) were installed in the steeple. The bells were given by Robert and Linda Fowler in memory of their parents and in honor of their children and grandchildren.
2007 A new pipe organ was installed. With 2,853 pipes ranging in size from 20 feet to as small as a pencil, it took 18 months to build, 4 weeks to install and and another 4 weeks of voicing.
2012 The Vestry unanimously approved supporting Family Promise of Hall County, signed the contract in March and began hosting families in June.
2014 Rev. Stuart Craig Higginbotham became the 8th Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in its 186th year.
2015 Three families gifted the Stations of the Cross in honor and memory of their loved ones - Nancy Frankhouser, in memory of her husband, Sam; Meredith, Joey, Anna and Stephen West in memory of Meredith's father, the Rev. Gerhard; and John and Virginia Simpson by family.