Grace Anglican Church offered its first service in its permanent location on East CR 462 in Wildwood, Florida on Thursday, November 15, 2015. The concept for Grace, however, had been developing since the winter of 2014, when Reverend R. Wayne Ogg realized that there was a pressing need for a traditional Episcopal or Anglican church in the Wildwood area.
With the future in mind, the Church opened its doors on February 15, 2015 and offered its inaugural service in Father Wayne’s home. Given the support and interest in Grace, the Church purchased over two acres of property in Wildwood on June 19, 2015. Next plans were speedily developed to renovate the existing structure in order to hold religious services. On Thanksgiving Day, Grace’s very first service in its beautifully reworked building took place.
The 1928 Book of Common Prayer is the liturgical guide of Grace Anglican Church. The well-loved language of prayer evokes a spiritual response from Church members and guests alike. In addition, Grace Anglican uses the 1940 Hymnal which contains many magnificent hymns. Composers such as J.S. Bach and R. Vaughan Williams have created incomparable hymns to the words of authors as diverse as St. Thomas Aquinas, Rudyard Kipling and Harry Emerson Fosdick.
The heart of Grace is a warm and caring church family that comes together as the Body of Christ to pray and worship God. We are a Catholic church. By Catholic we mean that we are a Church of the Gospels. The Gospels refer to the ancient, undivided Christian church:
-Announced by Christ in his preaching;
-Instituted by the Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension;
-Confirmed by the anointing of the Apostles by the Holy Ghost on Pentecost
Our branch of the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ is the Anglican church. The word, Anglican, simply means “English” in the same way that we speak of the English language. Grace is part of an international fellowship of Christian churches that were founded and nurtured by the missionary work of the Church of England.
Christianity first arrived in Great Britain during the middle of the First Century AD when it became part of the Roman Empire. At that time, all Christians worshipped in and belonged to a single church which became the Roman Catholic church. In 1570, the Church of England formally emerged after Pope Pius IV separated it from the Church of Rome.
During the colonization of this country by Great Britain, many members of the Church of England immigrated to America for religious freedom and toleration. After the recognition of American Independence at the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Anglican Church in the United States became the Protestant Episcopal Church.
These two words, “Protestant” and “Episcopal” are particularly meaningful. They underline the continuity between the Church of England and the newly-named church in America. “Protestant” meant that this branch of the Church, like the Church of England, was not under the authority of the Bishop of Rome, i.e. the Pope. “Episcopal” which is derived from the Greek word for bishops, is a shorthand way of demonstrating the new American Church’s fidelity to the historic Catholic Church. In this way, the American church announces its belief in and adherence to a church created by the Gospels and faithfully led by ministers and bishops in Apostolic succession.
Apostolic succession is similar to a genealogical tree. Jesus commissioned the Apostles to spread his Word. This commission was confirmed when the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles at Pentecost. They, in turn, created fellow apostles to spread the Good News. As time passed, these men and their descendants followed the Apostles’ example, always keeping scrupulous records of who became a minister or bishop. Thus, any Anglican minister or bishop can today trace his clerical lineage back to the Apostles, i.e. Apostolic succession.