14 March 2018
Grace Episcopal Church located at 1011 North 7th Street in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is an Anglo-Catholic parish of the Episcopal Church, part of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. It is one of four churches comprising the Downtown Churches Historic District that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Early in 1847 a small lot was bought in Sheboygan on which a wood-frame church was built. The first service of the new Grace Episcopal Church was held on Christmas Day 1847, and two years later a new church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, missionary Bishop of the Northwest Territory. The present church was built in 1871 in High Victorian Gothic style. It was listed on the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places on July 17, 2009 as part of the Downtown Churches Historic District. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 1, 2010.
Built within the structure of the church are several relics from the Holy Land. Inside the foundation are rocks from the Jordan River, and the chancel arch contains several small stones from Bethlehem. Inside the High Altar are pieces of olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane, and five stones from under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Grace Episcopal is well known in the area for its large and beautiful gardens. They contain many different varieties of flowers and plants including: Columbine, Daisies, Hyssop, Ivy, Lady's Mantle, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, Mint, Pansies, Periwinkle, Strawberries, and Violets.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
The Lady Chapel, on the west side of the transept, is considered to be the National Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham for the Episcopal Church. It was built in 1930 and consecrated in 1931. On the altar is the replica of the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. It is believed to be the first shrine to Our Lady dedicated in any Anglican parish church in the United States. Since 1980 the Lady Chapel has been the object of an annual Walsingham Pilgrimage. In the middle of the floor is a small wedge-shaped stone brought from Glastonbury, England. The five paintings above the altar represent the Blessed Virgin Mary enthroned, attended by Saint Agnes, St. Cecilia, and Angels. They were painted by T. Noyes Lewis of London.
The stained-glass windows within the church in the nave are the work of a local Milwaukee glass company. Each portrays a different part in the life of Christ. All have been installed since 1968.
All Saints Chapel
In the late 1930s the Rev. A. Parker Curtis began using a room at the Sharpe Resort, to offer Eucharist for Episcopalians on vacation at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, during the summer months. Eventually it was decided that a chapel should be built in the area and Grace Church bought a small piece of land. In 1951 the chapel was completed and consecrated. The chapel is constructed of native fieldstone. A wooden beamed ceiling is used throughout the chapel. The floor is a special slate used all over the area, and is also used in complement with the floor of the Walsingham Shrine in Grace Church.
Grace Episcopal is an Anglo-Catholic parish and has a very rich heritage of elaborate services and festivals. On Sunday the main worship services are Low Mass and a family Solemn Mass. During the week Low Mass is offered along with Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer, followed by the Rosary in the Lady Chapel. Confessions are heard every Saturday, and a Healing Mass is offered every Monday night.