"In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans:12:5
Grace United Methodist Church was the outgrowth of a Mission Sunday School organized by a group of sixteen men, who called themselves the Union Praying Band, so named because they came from several different Methodist churches in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. They started meeting in 1863, and became known throughout the Passaic-Bergen County area for good works they performed for people in need.
On May 21, 1868, they determined to set up their Sunday School in the North Ward of Paterson. The only rooms they could find were in an old paint shop that stood on High Street, and that, with a newly constructed chapel added on to it, became the first permanent meeting place for the new organization called the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.
On May 1, 1871, the Trustees purchased property on the corner of Water and Albion Streets, running through to High Street, and the paint shop property. The chapel was incorporated into a new church structure that seated 650 persons and was completed in 1873. On May 2, 1880, the church burned, and was replaced by a new building that was dedicated on October 3, 1880.
The next major calamity to strike the congregation was the Great Passaic River Flood of 1902, which virtually destroyed the sanctuary. Water was five feet deep in the church and the Sunday School. Grace Church was rebuilt in 1903, and the congregation continued to serve God and the community of Paterson from that third sanctuary on Water Street until October, 1961 when urban renewal required the land on which the church was built.
Relocating to Wyckoff, the congregation first worshipped in the Sicomac Community Association Building, formerly a one room schoolhouse on Sicomac Avenue. A seven acre tract was purchased in 1962 and plans developed for a new edifice to be built in several stages. The congregation held the first Worship Service in the present sanctuary on the Sunday after Labor Day in 1964. A Cloister and partial education building was also completed. The latest addition was a wing for Church School and Music Ministries, completed in 1988.
The congregation, whose membership had shrunk from a high-water mark of 760 members in the 1890's to fewer than 100 members who moved with it to Wyckoff, grew by leaps and bounds in its new quarters, and now numbers just over 800 members. An active program of worship, education, and fellowship opportunities is carried on all year. Having roots in Paterson, Grace UMC maintains connection to those roots through our work with sister ministries in Paterson--CAMP YDP program for children and youth, the CUMAC-ECHO United Methodist Community Organization, and Habitat for Humanity. We also work with the homeless ministry of Family Promise, based in Hackensack; and to overseas mission projects such as support of Sunday Schools in Ethiopia, among many other projects at home and abroad.
Grace Church is actively visioning for its ministry and mission in the twenty-first century, with emphasis on continuing church growth, expanding youth ministry and creating a warm and caring fellowship where Grace Church members and friends are in ministry to one another.