Grace United Church has been an important element of Dartmouth life since the mid-1800's, and is an important part of metropolitan worship life today. It is a community of faith that has seen it all from its vantage point at the corner of Ochterloney and King Streets. Grace has sheltered and nurtured its wide family of parishioners through so much; the forging of a nation, Confederation, wars, the Great Depression, disasters and countless personal trials. Yet, through these many years Grace and its congregation have remained vibrant, supportive and progressive. In 2007, it vote to perform same gender marriages and in 2017 ut was recognized as an Affirming Minister within the United Church of Canada.
Grace's roots go back to the early days of our community's history, beginning as a Methodist congregation in1785. Grace was first built in 1853. There is a saying that the church is what is left the morning after the building burns down and Grace would be living proof of that saying in every way. The first building was damaged beyond repair by the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917. Through much hard work and sacrifice, a rebuilt Grace opened its doors to worship a scant 2 ½ years later, on the last Sunday in July of 1920. Another important part of its history occurred in 1925, when Grace Methodist Church became a part of the United Church of Canada.
The reality is that the true worth of a church is not the building, nor the fixtures, nor the trappings of a faith, but rather the people who enter the church. The building which houses Grace's congregation is unlike any other in Halifax/Dartmouth and the same and can be said for the congregation. From its very inception Grace has had the reputation of being a friendly and caring congregation. No doubt this reputation has been enhanced by the congregation's Maritime roots and the close-knit community from which Grace's early parishioners came. However, Grace of today is a very cosmopolitan and progressive congregation, drawing its parishioners from many countries, as well from many parts of Canada - while maintaining its open, friendly and caring ways.
Watching people greet each other on a Sunday morning, or whenever they meet, gives one a good appreciation for the soul of any church. Watching Grace's family participate in Sunday service one realizes that it is akin to a regular Sunday supper for a very large family, resounding with laughter and enjoyment, and complete with babies to those of 90+. Grace is blessed with a congregation that does not simply share pew space on a Sunday morning; rather, they enjoy their time together, like a large family, as they share the most important part of their week - a meal for their souls.
Grace is blessed with a very talented and active community of faith. Sunday service is the highlight of any week; however, there are many other activities that one can partake in, if you wish to do so. And any discussion about Grace would be incomplete if one did not learn of this church's "other" reputation, as one of the "eatingest" church in metro. Anyone watching the comings and goings at Grace would soon conclude that almost every church activity seems to have food associated with it in one way or another; perhaps the analogy of a large family supper is truly appropriate!