Grace Anglican Church started out as a flash of intuition in Reverence R. Wayne Ogg’s mind. Attending the sole Anglican church in the Villages, he realized that a significant portion of the current Villages had no Anglican church. Factoring in the planned southward expansion of the Villages into the Wildwood area, he became convinced that another Anglican church was needed.
As people who know him are aware, Father Wayne doesn’t waste time when he gets an idea! He quickly reviewed his thoughts for founding an Anglican church in Wildwood with trusted companions. In the end, six people including Father Wayne and his wife, Penny, founded Grace Anglican Church. Services began in the Ogg living room.
When asked why they followed Father Wayne and Penny, the answers varied. One woman replied, “I have great respect for Father Wayne and Penny. If they say that they’re going to do something, I know it will happen.” Another piped up, “His preaching is great. I get it.” One pronounced, “He was a natural as a minister—easy to talk to and easy to listen to!” The last replied, “They were friends first. I fell into the church’s founding without even thinking about it.”
Each of the founders had been raised in some form of traditional worship from Catholic to Methodist. One founder already had some experience building a church. Two of the founders were the Oggs’ next-door neighbors! All were committed to Anglican beliefs and worship. They were drawn to Father Wayne’s vision of a warm and caring church offering time-honored services. It all came together and Grace offered its inaugural service on February 15, 2015 in Father Wayne’s home.
Those early services were lovely but everyone knew that we had to find a building to turn into a church. With unanimous support, 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, November 26, 2015, Grace’s very first service in its beautifully reworked building took place. A little more than two months later, Grace was dedicated on January 31, 2016 by the Most Reverend Peter D. Robinson, Archbishop of United Episcopal Church of North America, UECNA.
Why join UECNA? Father Wayne always intended Grace to be part of a larger organization. He had attended seminary in another Anglican province and realized with God’s help that he was destined for the Reformed Anglican Way. Since UECNA focuses on reformed Anglican liturgy and Scripture, it was the right place for Grace. As part of UECNA, people who worship at Grace can feel confident that Father Wayne fits into a larger framework whose Archbishop is always ready for guidance.
Since joining UECNA, Father Wayne has served as a member of the Standing Committee and his wife, Penny, is serving as treasurer of UECNA. Both have been very active in the annual meetings or synods where all the members of UECNA meet to consider any and all proposed changes as well as to exchange ideas for “best practices. UECNA is a living, breathing institution with caring, dedicated professionals at its heart. After a synod, Father Wayne provides a summary of what was decided and how it affects Grace. Additionally, the Archbishop visits the church once a year to visit with the parish. So, the people of Grace feel connected to the larger body, UECNA.
The heart of Grace is a warm and caring church family that comes together as the Body of Christ to pray and worship God. The church’s congregation has grown since those early days. Grace appeals both to newcomers arriving from all over the country to settle in The Villages and to locals who have lived in the same community all their lives. The church attracts a diverse group of people because it is friendly and grounded in traditional worship.
Currently a small church, our outreach program consists of two parts. On a local level, we support a Wildwood family or two at Christmas time. On a larger scale, we have connected with the nearby Methodist church’s food pantry where we have brought donations. Father Wayne has met with local clergy to pledge our willingness to support some of their initiatives. As we grow, so, too, will our outreach.
This church may be right for you if:
- You come from a traditional church background, especially Catholic or Episcopalian. You’ll feel right at home with the prayer book, standard form of worship and book of hymns.
- You want to take Holy Communion. Grace celebrates a Holy Communion service every Sunday at 10am.
–Divorced Catholics are welcome to take Holy Communion as are all baptized Christians.
- You want to feel confident that you are hearing the Word of God without contemporary distortion.
- You are attracted to worship tied directly to reading and understanding of the Holy Bible. The close relationship of the service and sermon to the Holy Bible at Grace allows for a deeper development of Christian faith and practice.
- You are curious and want to understand Christianity and what it means to be a Christian. The Anglican church’s emphasis on the individual’s reason and ability to think about God as well as our reliance on the Holy Bible as the source of our beliefs and actions may satisfy your interest.
Grace opens its doors to everyone. We see each person as a child of God. Our mission is to walk after Jesus in thought, word and deed by opening our arms to those in search of truth.