CONTINUED HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH
Rev. F. Ted Johnson had just completed seminary and was available to be vicar at the new mission.
From 1980 to 1982, Rev. Johnson held services in the Parish Hall of St. Mark’s Catholic Church on Discovery in San Marcos. Then from 1982 to 1984, we met at San Marcos Lutheran church on Grand in San Marcos.
When it came to selecting a name for the new church, Rev. Johnson opened the matter for suggestions from the congregation. Many good recommendations were made. It was recommended that we call the church Grace Episcopal Church, as we come together to receive the Grace of God. Many of the congregation supported the recommendation and that is how our church was named.
The San Marcos Historical Society gave the church at the corner of Pico and San Marcos Boulevard to Grace Episcopal Church. Under the direction of Rev. Johnson the church was moved to its present location at 1020 Rose Ranch Road.
That move is recounted in “A Biography of a Country Church” by Charlotte Geary as follows:
"lt was determined that the move would be much more economical if the roof and the steeple could be removed first and moved separately, eliminating the need for the temporary relocation of power lines along travel routes. Before that could be accomplished four layers of old shingles were removed from the roof, enough to fill several trucks. The lath and plaster were removed from the ceiling and walls. This removal revealed more than the bare bones of the building, it uncovered more vagrants living in the attic and belfry… bats! After fumigation, some 1500 dead bats were disposed of, along with untold quantities of “evidence”.
The move to the new site finally took place in January 1984. The building was again split into four parts - the roof, the main sanctuary, and the two side buildings. Without the roof to stabilize it, the structure loosened up considerably, requiring some skillful re-squaring before the roof could go back on. All the electrical wiring was replaced with new. The exterior of the church was sandblasted to remove layers and layers of old paint, and the beautiful redwood of the original construction was again painted white.
The old square nails, many rusted through, were replaced, and the interior wainscoting was sandblasted and stripped of many generations of paint. The steeple had to be newly braced and squared. A crane was hired to lift the roof sections into place, and then the steeple was swung onto its lofty perch.
In the reconstruction, the cross atop the steeple was somewhat askew, so the Vicar cut it off with a hacksaw. He approached a workman on a job in a nearby residential area and asked him if he would weld the cross in place sometime. The workman showed up early the very next morning, completed the welding, and smilingly told the Vicar that he did the job “for the Lord”, and there would be no charge. There have been many such instances of donated labor and/or materials from non-church members, given for the honor and glory of God, by way of people’s affection for this “born again” church.
The old, round stained glass window over the main door was preserved and as it catches the morning sun, its reflected colors paint rainbows inside the church.
Three new, round windows, including the “Apostle Window” over the altar, were designed, crafted, and donated by a local stained glass artisan’s guild."
On November 4, 1984, Grace Church was dedicated. The ability of Rev. F. Ted Johnson to put it all together will always be remembered by those of us who witnessed his ability and dedication.
When Bishop Gethin Hughes started the Season of Transformation, Rev. Eric Menees was at Grace Episcopal Church and many of us gave additional financial support to upgrading the church. The wall on the north side of the church was removed and the area where the church offices had been was opened up to be where the choir and organ are now. The pews that had been given to us in 1984 were replaced by pews that fit better, and new carpet was installed. The steps to the east of the main entrance were installed. A new exit from the north side of the church was installed. As an interesting side note, this transformation began on September 11, 2001. lt was comforting for those who were here on that day to be a part of new life on such a tragic day.
In 2005 we realized a long time goal of becoming a self-sustaining Parish after years of being a Mission Church.
On September 3, 2006 Rev. Eric Menees announced at the end of the service that he was leaving Grace Episcopal Church and starting Church of the Resurrection in San Marcos. About half of the congregation went with him. The bishop asked Rev. Wm. Lieber to be in charge until a new clergyman could be secured for Grace Episcopal Church.
On December 7, 2008, Rev. David Marshall joined the church and remained its pastor through April 2012.
Fr. Hugh Tudor-Foley is currently our transitional priest.
On December 15, 2013, the Rev. ClayOla Gitane joined the Grace family as our Priest-In-Charge. She is the first woman priest called to Grace.
Clergy of Grace Episcopal Church:
The Rev. F. Ted Johnson, 1980 to March 1991
The Rev. Dr. Robert Jepsen, September 1991 to June 1999
The Rev. Eric Menees, September 1999 to September 2006
The Rev. William Lieber, September 2006 to December 2008
The Rev. David Marshall, December 2008 to April 2012
The Rev. Dr. Hugh Tudor-Foley, July 2012 to December 2013 (transitional priest)
The Rev. ClayOla Gitane, December 2013 to September 2016
The Rev. Tom Wilson, October 2016 to present (supply priest)
Bishops of the Diocese of San Diego:
The Right Reverend Robert Walterstorff
The Right Reverend Brinkley Morton
The Right Reverend Gethin Hughes
The Right Reverend James Mathes
Dates to remember:
September 7, 1980: First service of our mission at St Mark’s Parish Hall.
October 5, 1980: Voted to call our mission Grace Episcopal Church of the Valley.
November 4, 1984: Dedication of Grace Episcopal Church of the Valley.
November 4, 1994: Tenth Anniversary
November 4, 2004: Twentieth Anniversary
November 4, 2014: Thirtieth Anniversary