Grace Episcopal Church – Helping Others

Grace Church has a rich history of serving the community. Grace Hospital, (now Carolinas HealthCare System – Blue Ridge) the first hospital in Burke County, was founded under the guidance of an early rector. Along with the hospital a nursing school was also established, it is now the Nursing School at Lenoir-Rhyne University in nearby Hickory.

Other achievements founded by Grace Church or its members include: the first Red Cross chapter in Burke County, the first Boy Scout troop, the Community Chest (now United Way), Hospice, as well as the first Boy Scout troop for the deaf in the United States.

Members of the church were instrumental in establishing Hospice and Habitat in Burke County.  Members still serve the community in a myriad of ways.

Grace Church is a charter member of the Burke United Christian Ministries, a local outreach consortium.  As well, parishioners serve at the Soup Kitchen.

Backpack Ministry

The Backpack Ministry  is a very important outreach ministry for our church. The purpose of this ministry is to provide food for children during the weekend. Teachers noticed that the children were not performing as well on Monday as they were during the week when they were receiving a hot breakfast and lunch at the school. In 2010 Grace Episcopal partnered with MountainCrest Elementary School to provide 20 backpacks; each filled with approximately 10 pounds of food on Friday, for the weekend. Since 2012, First Baptist Church has been working with us. Our program has now grown to more than 225 backpacks and 2,000 pounds of food per month.

In 2017, Grace refurbished an underutilized portion of the undercroft in the parish hall to become the “backpack workroom”–a dedicated space for storing food and packing backpacks.

This ministry has had a far reaching impact in our community, as we have shared our ideas with other local churches and they have implemented similar programs and adopted other schools.

Sherry Willard – BackPack Ministry Interview

Grace ChurSecond harvestch is a partner agency of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (SHFBM). SHFBM partners and distributes food and essential grocery items to approximately 550 hunger feeding agencies in 19 counties in North and South Carolina. Agencies served include emergency pantries, soup kitchens, senior programs, shelters and low-income daycares.