MADISON – On Tuesday, April 15, the Madison Historical Society will host Suzanne Bowles, Associate Professor History at William Paterson University who will present “The History of Grace Episcopal Church of Madison”” Bowles’s presentation will take place in the Chase Room of the Madison Public Library beginning at 7:15 p.m. Light refreshments will be available from 7:00. The meeting is open to the public, and there is no admission charge.
“Dr Bowles’s presentation will be the fourth in the society’s examination of Madison’s religious organizations, their history, and the impact that they have had on the community,” stated Program Chairperson and Society Vice President Cathie Coultas. “Last year Dr. Vivian Bull and Dr. Christopher Anderson described Madison and Drew’s long-time relationship with the Methodist Church. Bob Garman then explored the history of the Presbyterian Church of Madison and Madison leaders interred at the church’s Hillside Cemetery. In the fall we will explore the history of music at Grace Church.”
Dr. Bowle’s history of the church states that Madison Episcopalians initially attended St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown and that the Madison congregation began as a mission of St. Peters. The Grace Episcopal Church was formally organized as a separate parish in the fall of 1854 according to William Parkhurst Tuttle. For the first year, the newly formed congregation worshiped at the Odd Fellows Hall on Waverly Place. Then early in the spring of 1855, the congregation purchased the site of the current church, and the building became available for worship in September of that year.
Today Grace Church serves over 500 member households. In addition to its religious mission, the church serves the community through the Grace Counseling Center, Grace Community Music series, the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Drew University and the church’s Recycling Ministry.
Suzanne Bowles received her B.A. in American Studies from Syracuse, where she graduated magna cum laud and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her M.A. in History from Rutgers, an MTS in Church History from Drew University’s Theological School and her Ph.D. in history from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Prior to teaching at William Patterson, she taught at Upsala College. She is the author of three books, Jonathan Edwards to Aaron Burr, Lutheranism and Anglicanism in Colonial New Jersey, and A Widening Sphere of Usefulness: Newark Academy 1773 -1993. Bowles also served as editor of the book Uplifting the South; Mary Mildred Sullivan’s Legacy for Appalachia by Kathleen Curtis Wilson.