Grace St. Paul's Episcopal ChurchEdit profile
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church commonly referred to as GraSP or Grace St. Paul's is an Episcopal Church (in the Anglican Communion) located in Mercerville-Hamilton Square, New Jersey.History
Grace-St. Paul's parish, in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, is the realization of a vision by forward-looking parishioners from two congregations, Grace in East Trenton and St. Paul's in south Trenton. Both congregations began as missions of St. Michael's which provided financial support and the properties on which each congregation built its church. St. Paul's was organized in 1847 and became a parish in 1901. Grace began as a mission in 1875 and in 1896 became a parish. Suburban expansion provided the impetus for Grace to create new possibilities for ministry by deciding to relocate to Mercerville in 1946. During the transition period (October 1946 to November 1947) worship was held jointly with St. Paul's. But a spiritual presence was necessary to begin evangelism in the new area and from August 1947 to November 1949 worship was held at the Mercerville Firehouse. The church and parish hall were completed in November 1949. The parish hall was dedicated November 17 of that year to the memory of the first rector of Grace, the Rev. Milton A. Craft, whose devotion and leadership (1893 to 1935) forged a spiritual direction for many years and also made possible the establishment of two mission churches: St. Andrew's (1895) near Lawrence Township and St. Luke's (1913) in Ewing Township. In 1952, the rectory was built with the help of many parishioners.
Again, new possibilities arose by the joint decision of St. Paul's and Grace to merge in 1955, and the present church was built. A 1600 pound bell in the tower of St. Paul's was removed and placed in the inner courtyard of the church complex. During the 1960s and into the mid-70's the parish remained fairly stable but in the late 70's families began to migrate out due to corporate relocations. The resulting decrease caused restricted budgets. Turning points for renewal began in two ways. The first was the 1981 “Venture In Mission” campaign designed to fund new ministries in the Diocese of New Jersey which renewed a spirit of commitment at Grace-St. Paul's despite the financial condition. The second was a 1988 vestry retreat which convened to reorder priorities and responsibilities. In 1989, the mission statement was formulated and was adopted in 1990. In 1994, the Rector, Wardens and vestry, along with the Long Range Planning Committee, developed a vision to carry out the mission statement and to sustain parish life into the 21st Century. That vision included expanding Christian education, sharing life in Christ through evangelism and new member ministry, engaging in ministry to others by committing funds, opening our building to community groups, providing service through efforts of parishioners and renovating our buildings to provide a better environment for worship, education, ministry and fellowship. To make this vision a reality, two programs were initiated: the Emma Henderson Fund for Mission, Ministry & Education and the Building for Ministry Campaign. The 1995 building campaign was planned in three phases. Phase I was for major repairs, Phase II was to be interior renovations and Phase III, church renovations. Stage I was completed in 1996.
In 2003 Grace-St. Paul's raised money to install a rebuilt pipe organ to replace an electronic organ which had been installed in the 1950s. As the building projects and fellowship activities of the church continue, the vision of the parish's forebearers continues.Mission statement
- Provide a spiritual and physical environment for the worship of God and growth of faith;
- Spread to all people the Gospel of Jesus Christ by word, deed, and music;
- Conduct worship services and administer the sacraments according to the liturgy provided in the Book of Common Prayer;
- Provide supportive, forgiving, and caring fellowship for parishioners of all ages;
- Minister to the sick, the troubled, the infirm, and all those in need of God's love;
- Serve and assist others in our local and worldwide communities;
- Support the programs of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey, promote growth of the Episcopal Church, and encourage Christian unity.
In the Episcopal Church parishes are governed by a vestry, all decisions are made by the vestry which are influenced by congregational input and committee recommendations.Current Clergy
- Rector: The Rev. Dr. Susan Richardson
- Senior Wardan: Gladys Longmeir
- Junior Wardan: Michael Register
- Assistant Treasurer: Mark Talbot
- CLASS of 2011: Natalia Loh, Kim Bresler, Kevin Drennen
- CLASS of 2012: Pat Hines, Steven Krecicki, Val Noto
- CLASS of 2013: Charin Cetkowski, Patrice Lavanture, Barbara Nichols
- Sunday School Superintendents: Wendy Sullivan, Karen Carr, Taryn Dalton
- Youth Group Leaders: Kevin Drennen and Rachel Holland