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Brief History

Grace Episcopal Church was founded in 1841 when Bishop William Meade of Virginia sent a young deacon named the Rev. Churchill Jones Gibson to start a second church in Petersburg. With the help of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Grace Church was founded in downtown Petersburg. After holding services in multiple sites, construction began on a large church on High Street before the Civil War. Construction halted during the Siege of Petersburg, but services were held in the church basement. Once completed, this large gothic church seated 800 people.

In 1923 under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Edwin R. Carter, the congregation voted to purchase property and move Grace Church to the Walnut Hill section in southern Petersburg, where new homes were being built. Services were held downtown and at Grace Church Chapel for a couple of years. When it was time for Dr. Carter to move the entire congregation to the new church, a small group from the old church decided to remain in the downtown building. The new church was named Christ Episcopal Church.

Christ Church continued to grow under the leadership of Dr. Carter. Then in 1953 the remaining congregants of Grace Church asked if they could rejoin the congregation on Sycamore Street and call the church Christ and Grace. The Rev. Boston M. Lackey Jr., a young clergyman from North Carolina, was called as rector of Christ Church in 1952 and was the rector when the two churches merged. On Christmas Eve in 1957, congregants worshiped in a newly built nave, which seated 400. The Tiffany-style stained glass windows on the south side of the church came from Grace Church on High Street. At that time, the former nave was converted to a parish hall.

In 1988, after 36 years of fruitful ministry, the Rev. Dr. Boston M. Lackey Jr. retired. Two years later, in 1990, the Rev. David H. Teschner was called to assume the rectorship of Christ and Grace. The church subsequently secured the services of a lay assistant in Claire Brill and a part-time youth director in Sonyia Elder. After 26 years of faithful ministry, David Teschner retired on November 20, 2016.

The Parish Hall was named in memory of Dr. Lackey in May 2013, and the current music director, Thomas Guthrie, began his music ministry at Christ and Grace in the fall of that year.