1. Home
  2. //
  3. Who We Are

Who We Are

The Episcopal Church

Grace is part of the Episcopal Church, a branch of the Jesus Movement. We seek to walk the Way of Love, loving God and our neighbor. We believe if it’s not about love, it’s not about Jesus.

Our prayer life is rooted in ancient traditions, yet alive with contemporary focus. Our blufftop property overlooking the York River, where we have been worshipping since 1697, is surrounded by old trees, beautiful gardens, a historic cemetery and peaceful shops and neighbors. We worship God indoors and out, as the seasons change: Blessing of the Animals by the St. Francis Garden; Easter on the lawn; pandemic-time Evening Prayer in the churchyard and Easter Vigil on the banks of the York River near the Watermen’s Museum.

Our services follow the patterns found in The Book of Common Prayer. You can get a fuller understanding of the ways we think and talk about God by watching some of our weekly sermons on our YouTube channel.

We are a community of about 200 people who reach for life wholeheartedly. Our parish family includes Democrats and Republicans; military and civilians; gay and straight and questioning; single and married; young and old; the put-together, the falling apart and the making it day-by-day. We invite you to worship with us.

As individuals and as a community, we seek to be God’s people; we strive to grow strong in faith and purpose, wherever we find ourselves on life’s journey. We share bread and wine together every Sunday. If you are hungry for God, come share Eucharist with us; we believe that Jesus invites all to his table.

Our bimonthly newsletter offers a current snapshot of the vibrant, joyful life that thrives at Grace church today, more than 320 years since its founding. For up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening on any given day, check out our calendar or sign up for our weekly email, the FridayGram.

FAQs

Have questions? We’ve tried to answer some common ones below. Feel free to contact us if your questions aren’t answered here.

Should I sit or stand?
Typically, we stand to sing and pray; we sit to listen. If it is difficult for you to stand or kneel, please feel free to remain seated.
What is “The Peace”?
This is the time we exchange greetings with those around us in the pews.
Who can participate in Communion?
In the Episcopal church there are several different names for communion, but most commonly we refer to it as the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” Whatever the name, this is the family meal for Christians in which we share bread and wine in thanksgiving for the loving sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. As such, all baptized Christians are considered to be part of this extended family of the Church, and are welcome to receive the bread and the wine. Whether one is baptized or not, all of God’s children are welcome to come to the Altar to receive a blessing from the priest.
What about children?
Children are welcome to partake in Communion as soon as their parents feel they are ready.
Is there more to know?

Of course! You may get a fuller understanding of the ways we think and talk about God by listening to (or watching) some of our weekly sermons, which are available at graceyorktown.online.church and here on our website. You may also read more about what it means to be an Episcopalian by looking at our national church’s website link – episcopalchurch.org or listening to a podcast by Bishop Michael Curry (he’s the head of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.) as he explains what is the “way of love.”

Location

Grace Episcopal Church is located at 111 Church Street in Yorktown, Virginia.

Set on a bluff above the York River, the church property sits at the end of Church Street within walking distance of historic Yorktown’s Main Street or, down a staircase just beyond the church, to the Yorktown waterfront.

Grace has three buildings on its campus: the historic church building (113 Church Street); the Parish Hall, which houses our administrative offices and Day School (111 Church Street); and Riverview, a recently rebuilt house that hosts parish activities overlooking the water (109 Church Street).

All our worship and meeting spaces are accessible. There is plenty of parking, with spaces for the disabled located in front of the Parish Hall and in the public lot across from the church entrance.

Office Hours, Staff, and Vestry

Grace’s office in the Parish Hall is open generally (during non-pandemic times) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and closed Friday through Sunday.

Meet the Staff and Vestry

History

Grace Church’s history is a scrappy, tenacious one, intertwined with the history of the United States and Yorktown, from pre-Revolutionary days. First founded in 1634 on the site of the current U.S. Coast Guard Yorktown station (where we celebrate church once a year), the church has been nestled in the heart of the historic Village of Yorktown since 1697.

Read More

Sermons

Grace’s 10 a.m. Sunday worship service is live streamed here. There’s no need to have an account or log on (though you may). Your weekly bulletin is available there.

You may watch past services on our YouTube channel. A sampling of audio-only sermon recordings from longtime rector The Rev. Carleton Bakkum, who retired June 30, 2019 after 30 years’ leadership of Grace; now-retired Associate Rector The Rev. Dr. Connie Jones and former Associate Rector The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline R. Soltys are available by clicking here.

Historic Yorktown

Yorktown is a quaint, bustling village nestled on the York River and adjacent to the Colonial National Historical Park, which encompasses both Yorktown on the east side of the Virginia Peninsula and Jamestown on the west side along the coast of the James River. The two ends of the park are connected by the Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile scenic roadway stretching between Yorktown at the York River and Jamestown at the James River.

Learn more about the local events in Yorktown by checking out the county’s Visit Yorktown website. For what’s happening in the national park, go to the Colonial National Historical Park website.

Newsletter

Download the most recent issue of our church newsletter, Words of Grace. We update the newsletter quarterly. If you have trouble downloading the file, please feel free to contact the church office, and we will email it to you.