Welcome to Grace Anglican Church!
We are open for visitors! We have been very blessed to be able to meet in our Pastor's Fitchburg home during this season. With 11 regular members, the atmosphere is intimate and warm and we have enjoyed filling the home with hymns and organ music every Sunday. We host a traditional Anglican service every Sunday morning at 10:30 and we follow along in the Book of Common Prayer. If you would like to join us, please email or call our Lay Pastor, Gail Gardner, or Fr. Matthew (contact info on the left of the webpage) and we would be glad to give you detailed parking information and answer any questions you may have. We hope to see you soon!
Who we are
Grace Anglican Church is a small church, planted within the last ten years, that serves as a spiritual home for members from all over North Worcester County. Though we are a small congregation, we have begun with the basics:
“The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” – from the 39 Articles of Religion
We are a gathering of Christian believers centered around the preaching of the Bible and the celebration of the Sacraments, in accordance with the historic Anglican tradition, by the grace of God, not by the will or works of man. We strive to worship and follow Christ in good faith, and go forth into the world to do the good works he has given for us to do.
Fr. Matthew began with Grace Anglican Church as our keyboardist, before he was ordained and before we were even meeting weekly for worship. He went through his final steps of the discernment process, was ordained first a Deacon, and then a Priest while ministering among us, before becoming our Vicar in early 2014. He and his wife Becca have been married since 2010, and both have a background in music. They live in Fitchburg with their two young lads, William and Harold. Matthew has a passion for mentoring and tutoring, preaching and teaching, especially showing Christ in the Old Testament; he also has an appreciation for the Anglican liturgical tradition and enjoys helping others understand “why we do what we do” in worship.
Bishop Andrew meets Grace Anglican Fitchburg
Bishop Andrew Williams and Archbishop Foley Beach
The Ordination and Consecration of Andrew Thomas Williams as a Bishop in Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and Second Ordinary of The Anglican Diocese in New England.
College of Bishops Anglcian Church in North America
Growing Up: An Assembly 2019 Editorial
As the Anglican Church in North America enters her second decade, she will cross through her teenage years into adulthood, all the while strengthening her identity after having fought for the first decade to claim it.
What does it mean to grow up into adolescence? It means walking out into the world, away from our parents’ arms, tottering on alone. With increased independence comes greater risk, however; greater mistakes but greater successes. Each step marks a new phase in the growth of our identity. As the Anglican Church in North America enters her second decade, she will cross through her teenage years into adulthood, all the while strengthening her identity after having fought for the first decade to claim it. Adolescents are more able to understand who they are despite their continuing struggles and to integrate conflict into their sense of self. These are the years the province walks confidently towards.
Ten years ago, we were separated from caretakers no longer able to bring us the care and discipline we needed; but the Lord, in his mercy, provided new shepherds to carry us forward until we could walk on our own. In those first years, we reconnected with the wisdom of our grandparents and great-grandparents, whose legacy many of us had lost touch with, and we came to find that it was not we, in our infancy, who broke away, but many of our spiritual parents who abandoned us. Having reconnected with our heritage, we found ourselves firmly settled once again in a global family. We were given the freedom to grow, flourish, learn, take our first steps, wander, explore, come home, cry, laugh, and find our voice. This was the legacy of our first decade. Every mistake was met with a success born out of the helping hands of God extended by those who came to see us through our childhood.
We have finally found our footing. Now, having strengthened our identity, and having found out who we are, we will embrace what we were created to do. The adolescence that we step into is an opportunity to revitalize an orthodox Anglicanism built on a foundation of strength developed over our first ten years.
As we gathered for Assembly, this growing maturity was evident. The release of our Book of Common Prayer reflected a move from toddling to walking as we hit our stride in the Anglican tradition of prayer and worship. The book speaks to our ability to launch out and pray with confidence in the company of our forefathers. It says to the worldwide Church, “We are Anglican,” and it enshrines our identity by common prayer expressed in common worship through the centuries. While there will still be bumps in our adolescent years, they will be experienced with the backbone of a maturing ecclesiology, or understanding of Church leadership and structure, and a refined passion for mission.
The Assembly speakers, including keynote speaker Ravi Zacharias, further impressed on us the reality that we have grown not just in ourselves but also in our relationship with others. We grew in the language we would use to communicate our growing identity, fostering relationships with those who call us “friends” and support our call for dependence on God’s Word and our need for community outside the home. Likewise, the Assembly workshops presented the ins and outs of daily work in the Anglican Church in North America, the little ways we have labored to add our small pieces of the puzzle to a larger whole. They were the expression of ministries, projects, and deep theological thought that came together to help inform the whole body and launch her into the next phase of life.
It is with gratitude that we step forward into adolescence. We walk with gratitude to our forefathers and to our current brothers and sisters who have labored so hard to grow us up and get us out the door, to Archbishop Bob Duncan and others who led the way, and to Archbishop Foley Beach and many more who now keep us moving forward. Growing pains are never easy. We have suffered through many and will doubtless suffer through many more. At Assembly this year, however, we saw the fruit of that labor: over one thousand souls who have benefited from the life we lived together as the Anglican Church in North America and who will continue to draw from her life ahead.
Deacon Francis Capitanio is the Communications Director for the Anglican Diocese of New England.
The GAFCON movement is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Our mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.
Letter to the Churches GAFCON Assembly 2018
Adobe Acrobat document [132.6 KB]
The Future of Grace Anglican Church
As we are still a small and growing congregation, there is much that we could be doing but have not developed yet.
We have hosted periodic weekday services for those unable to make it on Sundays, and for those seeking weekday fellowship and spiritual nourishment.
We have hosted occasional midweek study groups and evenings of fellowship and informal worship, providing opportunity for believers and non-believers alike to visit and get to know us, as well as strengthen the bonds of our own little community.
We have ministered to local homeless children in temporary housing, funding one of our members to bring them food, love, and attention.
We have contributed to a local college ministry both personally and financially, especially through our Vicar mentoring individual students, one of whom came to be Confirmed as an Anglican and remains an active participant elsewhere in the diocese now that he has graduated.
We have enjoyed music ministry from two different people over the years, leading us both in contemporary styles and in the great hymns of our tradition.
But these have all been small and temporary projects. Where does your heart and passion for Christ point you? We are eager to grow, and there is plenty of room for the talents and passions of new members.
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly
Our mission is to be a visible church of Christ, a congregation of faithful followers in which the Word of God is preached. Our vision is to create an atmosphere where faith is possible.
"Come to church! You can do that of your own free will. You can leave your home on a Sunday morning and come to hear the sermon. If you will not, you are of your own free will excluding yourself from the place where faith is a possibility." Deitrich Bonnhoeffer
The Anglican Diocese in New England
ADNE is a united Anglican movement in New England seeking to exhibit such irresistible spiritual power in Word and Sacrament that people are drawn into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ and become members of the Body of Christ, His Church.
ADNE is a diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the worldwide Anglican Communion, united in our commitment to make disciples of Jesus Christ, plant churches in New England and work with other believers to plant churches in the United States and worldwide.
"Let the church be the church!"
A rallying cry from John MacKay, missionary statesman and ecumenical leader of an earlier generation.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses. . . . . to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
"Triduum" is Latin for "three days," and it refers to the final sequence of days during Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Together they tell, remember, and reenact the final days of Jesus' pre-resurrection life. Thursday was the Last Supper, his arrest, and abandonment by his disciples. That's why we have a mostly-normal Communion service that ends with the shock of stripping the altar and leaving in silence without any benediction or blessing or dismissal. That's also to highlight the fact that the story isn't over yet: Jesus' trials continued overnight and into the next day, leading up to his condemnation, crucifixion, and death. The picture attached is of the reserved bread & wine covered in white linens with a candle keeping vigil. This is what would normally be called an "altar of repose." Jesus' last day, Good Friday, is characterized by a much more solemn worship service than usual. The prayers include periods of silence, and Communion is not celebrated. Instead, some consecrated bread and wine is reserved on Thursday to be received today. The tradition of not consecrating any more bread and wine on Good Friday and Saturday is best understood in the context of historic Western Christianity: normally throughout the year priests celebrate daily mass - celebrating each day the death and resurrection of Christ. But on these two days that patterns stops. Because for two brief days, as we're walking through Holy Week and the Triduum and approaching Easter, we follow Christ to his death. Once the reserved bread and wine are consumed on Friday, his sacramental presence on earth is completely gone. This is a dramatic recapturing of his death! Holy Saturday is a short and quiet worship service meditating on the repose of Jesus in the tomb - his Sabbath rest, if you will. Like the first disciples, it is a time of quiet uncertainty, but unlike them it's a time of waiting, since we already know the whole story, and that he will rise again. Saturday night is the tradition of the Great Vigil of Easter. This is arguably the most sublime and beautiful worship service in the entire tradition of the Church. It begins in darkness with the light of Christ being symbolically re-lit on a special candle. It continues with a series of readings from the Old Testament, tracing the story of God's salvation for the human race throughout history, finally culminating in the moment all this has been building up to: the joyful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!
Fr. Matthew †
Vicar of Fitchburg