Massapequa's Old Grace Church stands among the trees on Merrick Road on the northern side, a short drive from a shopping center and a condominium complex. The Floyd-Jones family built the Old Grace Church from 1844 to 1848 as a chapel for their own use, and it is the oldest church in the Massapequa, NY. Behind the church is the family's cemetery.
the Old Grace Church officials removed the six large stained glass windows on either side of the small wooden structure and replaced them with plywood after the vandals struck. The plywood was painted brown to complement the exterior of the church. All the religious artifacts, including the altar, candlesticks, and pictures, have been removed.
The modern New Grace Church, across the street, stores all of them. The present church, with its skylights, was designed to replace the old church, which had a bell tower at its front.
Several years ago Anne Marciewicz was a volunteer at the Delancy Floyd-Jones Free Library that stood adjacent to the old church. She said she overheard the rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Father Jobson, say that the old church was going to be demolished. ''They built the new church and could not raise money to maintain the Old Grace Church. It had not been used for services for a number of years.''
The rector was incredulous when Mrs. Marciewicz said, "Raze the church? - over my dead body." When he asked her what could be done, she didn't know what to do.
''I saw the ball drop on beautiful Victorian mansions to make parks in a place where everyone's lawn was virtually a park,'' said Mrs. Marciewicz, who had moved to Massapequa almost 30 years ago. All of this history can be torn down, I thought to myself. I think I just had to reserve that little spot.
She sought help from the Massapequa Historical Society only to discover that it had been inactive since 1969. ''I found I was a society of one,'' she said. She printed out a newsletter and delivered it to every home she could. Her next step was to ask the local papers to encourage the community members to join the Historical Society.
''Many were hesitant to come forward at first,'' she said. "The word 'historical society' conjured up images of old Yankees when most of the community was immigrant families from the city."
In this time, her husband found out that he was suffering from cancer. Marciewicz continued to play a leading role in saving the church and her husband's life for the next three years. During meetings and fundraising events, she assisted her husband in his successful efforts to improve his health.
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