AMHERST – Grace Episcopal Church, situated off the Common in downtown Amherst, is celebrating its 150th Anniversary with a series of events over the next ten months, culminating with its “birthday celebration” picnic on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
Grace Church’s 150th Anniversary Committee is working to develop a series of events open to the public. The events will celebrate the history of Grace Church and its contributions to the life of our local community, ranging from outreach initiatives to music. The celebration will also include a series of sermons by past rectors and priests of Grace Church (dates TBD).
“We’re excited about all the activities that are being planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Grace Church, and the opportunities that we will have to share our history with the entire community,” said Rev. Tom Synan, Rector of Grace Church.
To date, the anniversary celebration includes the following events:
Friday, Sept. 9 (12:15): "The Founding of Grace Church -- A Few Surprises” – Grace Church historian Ken Samonds will give a 30-minute presentation at the Amherst Historical Society's "History Bites" series at the Strong House
Saturday, October 22: Founders Tour (3 PM): Ken Samonds will lead this walking tour that commemorates the founding and founders of Grace Church. Starting at the West Cemetery, Samonds will speak at the grave sites of Mary Jones and Ithimar Conkey. A map will be available locating other founders’ graves. The tour will then continue to the Mary Jones house on Amity Street, the Strong House, the parking lot of the old Amherst Academy, the Baptist Church, and will conclude at the Amherst Common. A reception will follow at the Church. The tour will last approx. 1 ½ hours and is open to the public and media.
Sunday, December 4: History of Stained Glass Windows at Grace: After both the 8 AM and 10:30 AM services, Ken Samonds and Nancy Lowry will lead a tour of the historic stained glass windows within Grace Church, featuring the Memorial Windows on the north and south sides, the St. Michael’s window and the Chancel Window. This tour, which will share the history behind each of our stained glass windows, is open to the public and media.
Sunday, January 22: Historical Tour of Grace Church Building (interior): Open to the public and media, Ken Samonds will share unique historical insights relating to the founding and growth of Grace Church, with a focus on the interior of the church, including fascinating stories around the iconic Bell Tower clock, evidence of quarrying techniques used to cut the stones; a look at the original floor plan and the architect's submitted drawing of the church; location of the cornerstone, etc.
Sunday, Feb-March, 2017: Guest Preachers (TBA)
Sunday, June 4: Birthday Celebration Picnic: The 150th Anniversary Celebration culminates with our official birthday celebration picnic to take place on the Grace Church grounds. Media are welcome to attend.
Other events, open to the public and the media, will be communicated as they are confirmed. Additionally, over the course of our celebration, we will be sharing potential story ideas and photos from our archives that represent the history of Grace Church, including, among other things, our unique contributions to church music, community outreach, and the unique place of the Grace Church tower clock within the Amherst community.
Finally, our historian Ken Samonds is available to sit down with any and all members of the media to share his fascinating findings and stories on the history of Grace Church. Ken can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Steve McKelvey, 150th Anniversary Committee - Cell: 413-237-3446
Rev. Tom Synan – PH: 413-256-6754