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Second BCEF Call of 2018: Grace Church, Rutherford

Second BCEF Call of 2018: Grace Church, Rutherford

The Bishop’s Church Emergency Fund (BCEF) provides financial support for church buildings in the diocese needing repairs and renovation, usually with a special focus on emergency and unforeseen needs. Through the BCEF, you can support the critical needs identified by the Bishop.

The second BCEF call of 2018 is to repair the water line at the rectory for Grace Church, Rutherford. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to BCEF with Call #2 in the memo line to: BCEF, c/o Diocese of Newark, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.

Grace Episcopal Church in Rutherford is a beautiful brownstone building at the corner of West Passaic Avenue and Wood Street. Erected in 1872 in the English Gothic style, the church has lovely Tiffany windows and an impressive bell tower. The incorporation of the parish in 1869 predates the church’s construction by three years, and so in May, 2019 the congregation will be joyously celebrating their 150th year.

The Rev. Robert F. Browning, Grace Church’s rector since 2014, estimates that Grace’s Sunday congregation numbers around 60 at the 10 a.m. service. The liturgy is from the Prayer Book except for during the summer when Enriching Our Worship is used. There is a strong commitment to music with the adult choir performing an anthem each week accompanied by the church’s beautiful Austin pipe organ. There is also a weekday service attended primarily by seniors.  Father Bob says the parish leadership also places a strong emphasis on young people and children. Grace Church has a well–established ministry to youth of all ages, from pre-school to Senior High and beyond. 

As noted on their website, Grace Church also undertakes vital ministries outside the parish walls, taking “to heart our Lord’s commandment to love one another by reaching beyond our immediate community to care for those in need.” Grace partners with other congregations in serving the Rutherford Community Food Pantry. The congregation is also actively involved in the nearby Kip Center which transforms and enriches the lives of over 700 older adults.  Farther from home, Grace is beginning discussions for an outreach ministry with the Episcopal Church in Honduras, specifically with a congregation on Roatan Island where the country’s first Episcopal church was founded.

Capital improvement projects for 2017 included painting, roof maintenance, work on the church’s sprinkler system and on the congregation’s Garden of Repose.  More recently, a large expenditure had to be made to repair a leak in the water line running from the street to the church’s adjacent rectory. Besides serving as a home for the rector, the building is also used for various parish activities. The installation of the new water line—for which the church, not the water company, is responsible—was also not covered by the church’s insurance. The work required extensive excavation, as well as the removal and replacement of bushes and other landscaping. Your generous contribution to this, our second BCEF Call for 2018, will help alleviate this financial burden, enabling the people of Grace Church to concentrate their resources on the vital ministries they have within their congregation and the surrounding community.


The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Bishop of Newark