History of the Congregation

How Grace Church Began

Grace Church began in the 1840s with a group of Bath families interested in forming an Episcopal community, and since then anyone seeking a spiritual home who has entered our doors has become a part of our history. Early on services were held in the homes of those first families and the group later moved to the local Music Hall, which was heated by a wood stove and lit by whale-oil lamps. When it was time for church, if only a few were in attendance, the service was delayed while those present went out into the street to invite people in. People did come in, the congregation grew, and soon it became clear that a church building was needed.Old Church

At a meeting in August 1849 the Parish of Grace Church was organized and plans were made to build a church at the corner of Oak and Middle Streets in Bath. A portion of the construction funds was raised through the sale of pews in the church, and the first service in the new building was held on Christmas Eve 1852 with Grace’s first rector, The Rev. Frederick Gardiner, celebrating.

Women were allowed to attend the Annual Parish Meeting for the first time in 1905, and a woman was elected treasurer, but she was not permitted to attend Vestry meetings until 1921. In that year The Rev. Charles Tubbs became Grace’s rector and he served for 30 years until 1951. By that time Grace had become a thriving parish with a large children’s ministry.

In 1958, when The Rev. Richard Adams was rector, the Vestry discovered that the 100+-year-old church building was structurally unsound and deemed to be unsafe, and the building was closed in 1962. Services were held at the Masonic Hall and soon members voted to build a new church. Ground was broken in 1963 at the church’s present location on Washington Street. Stained-glass windows, many of them original Tiffany windows, and the altar from the old church were moved to the new chapel, and the large rose memorial window was installed in the Narthex. A new Parish Hall was built and consecrated in 1964 and was named for the long-serving Father Tubbs.

Grace Church continues to be a vibrant church in the Bath area and the parish has contributed to the life of the community in many ways through the years – not only through its worship services and its spiritual life but also in its enthusiastic participation in numerous events and projects which benefit the wider community.

Grace Church is a spiritual home and a welcoming community for everyone who visits. We invite you to join us, to get to know our community, and to become a part of the continuing history of Grace Church.


For More Information on Bath Maine, the Diocese of Maine, or the National Church – follow the links below.

Diocese of Maine

City of Bath

National Episcopal Church