By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights celebrated the 164th anniversary of the very first worship service in Grace Church during services on Dec. 2. This past Sunday was also the first Sunday of Advent, which Christians consider the start of a new liturgical year.
Grace Church-Brooklyn’s seeds were planted when parishioners grew tired of having to commute by boat across the East River to its sanctuary in Manhattan, especially after the latter moved from Downtown to its current site at Broadway and 10th Street. For a while, the Brooklyn delegation worshiped at another Protestant Episcopal church on Sidney Place, named Emmanuel Church. The parish grew so rapidly — with 120 new members in one single year — that Emmanuel couldn’t assimilate them all. In 1847, the congregation formed a new parish, called Grace Church, which was incorporated in 1847. The site on Sidney Place eventually became the new home for St. Charles Borromeo Church, a Roman Catholic parish that is active to this day.
According to the Grace Church history webpage, “a building committee was appointed under the leadership of the newly elected Wardens, Colonel Tunis Craven and Henry E. Pierrepont, and the parish’s first rector, the Rev. Francis Vinton. Richard Upjohn, a distinguished architect known for his contributions to the Gothic Revival, was chosen to design the new church building. A lot was purchased on the corner of Hicks Street and Grace Court for $15,000. The church’s cornerstone was laid on June 29, 1847, and the first service in the completed building was held on December 10, 1848. The total cost for the structure: $46,737.52.”