This Church Closed in 2020 and now faces demolition

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield New Jersey
Date added: March 12, 2024 Categories:
Parish House (2001)

At the village schoolhouse, the first gathering of Episcopalians in Plainfield took place on January 11th, 1852. At that time, Plainfield was a small rural village that had yet to develop into the country retreat and commuter suburb it was to become. Already, though, four religious institutions had been established, the earliest being the Quakers in 1782, followed by the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and the Roman Catholics who, in 1851, established St. Mary's Church. Grace Church was founded under the guidance of Bishop George Washington Doane, who as Bishop of New Jersey from 1832 to 1859, was instrumental in promoting the Gothic Revival in New Jersey. Bishop Doane was a patron of the. Cambridge Camden Society of England, an organization that jump-started the Gothic Revival in England and whose purpose was to ensure the construction of ecclesiastical edifices of historically accurate Gothic design, both in England and abroad. Bishop Doane presided over the dedication of the parish's first church building, erected in 1853 to simple Gothic Revival plans. The parish continued to grow and additions were made to the building in 1869 and 1872. In 1876 the church building was picked up and moved from Front Street to the present site along Cleveland Avenue. Additional renovations were made to the building at its new site. It was in the same year that the Rector, the Reverend E.M. Rodman and nine leading laymen of Grace Church founded Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, which continues as one of the larger healthcare facilities in central New Jersey. For many years it was the custom for the rector of Grace Church to serve on the board of that institution, which was named for William Augustus Muhlenberg, a famous Episcopal clergyman, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion (20th Street and Sixth Avenue, Manhattan) and founder of St. Luke's Hospital, Morningside Heights (now known as St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center).

By 1890, Plainfield was a wealthy suburban town with many large homes of a wide variety of styles of architecture, a thriving downtown, and several hotels that attracted city folk to partake of the country air. Expanding along with the town, the parish of Grace Church had quickly outgrown its church building causing the vestry to authorize construction of a new and larger edifice. The new church, built for $40,000, was designed by Robert W. Gibson, an English-born and trained architect and a leading architect in New York. In November 1890, the vestry charged Gibson with designing "a stone church with a seating capacity of about seven hundred". Gibson chose a design influenced mostly by the Gothic Revival, which was, and continues to be, the predominant style of Episcopal churches. In common with many buildings designed by Gibson, Grace Church is not a pure expression of one style, but also contains elements of other styles. Perhaps inspired by Henry Hobson Richardson, over whom Gibson prevailed in being selected for the All Saints Cathedral project in Albany, Gibson's design for Grace Church incorporates certain Richardsonian elements. These include the choice of large cut ashlar stone; the Romanesque curves of the sandstone above the front and tower entrance doors; and the red sandstone trim around the wheel and side windows and the front and tower door entrances. The new Grace Church was built by the contracting firm of Charles W. Kafer, of Trenton, with whom a building contract was executed on April 13th, 1891. The cornerstone was laid on May 5th, 1891 and construction continued through the following spring. The first service in the newly constructed church was Easter Day, April 17th, 1892. The church was not consecrated until 1907 at which time the mortgage was satisfied.

In 1903, with the parish expanding, it was decided that the old church edifice no longer sufficed as a parish house, and a new one needed to be constructed. The old church was situated behind the new church building abutting the Sixth Street side of Cleveland Avenue. By 1905, the old church was demolished and the present parish house was constructed behind the extant church building on Cleveland Avenue. The parish house contained several classrooms for Sunday School and office space for the vestry, rector, and parish secretary. By 1913, the parish decided that it could no longer continue without providing a rectory for its clergy. Though the issue had been raised before, nothing had come of it. In 1913, through the munificence of a parishioner, Thomas Jefferson Mumford, a spacious three-story Tudor Revival rectory was constructed on one acre of land at the cost of $55,000. The rectory is located one-half mile from the church in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District and to this day serves as the rectory of Grace Church.

The stained glass windows of Grace Church were designed between approximately 1870 and 1961 and were added to the building as memorials for numerous parishioners. The firms utilized in their design, Charles Connick Studios and Heaton, Butler & Bayne complement the Gothic Revival architecture of the building. In their window design and method of construction, these firms sought to recapture the medieval style and craftsmanship of the stained glass windows originally built for the Gothic cathedrals and churches of Europe. The two large windows by Tiffany Studios reflect the turn-of-the-century popularity of the style of opalescent glass pioneered by that firm.

In 1927, the parish purchased, for $24,000, a new organ by Casavant Freres. This organ incorporated many pipes from the previous organ, which was installed in 1899. The Casavant organ continues to be used as the parish organ, and was recently and extensively renovated.

Since the church was erected in 1892, some in the parish felt that the chancel was too short and out of proportion with the nave. This perceived aesthetic deficiency was corrected in 1929, when the chancel was extended to the drawings of architect William Everill. The parish, in an act of frugality, chose Mr. Everill's $12,000 project, over the proposal by Cram & Ferguson, which would have cost $28,000. At this time, additional stained glass windows in the chancel were added as well as the carved wooden screens shielding the organ pipes.

The decades of the 1940s and 1950s saw certain aesthetic improvements to the interior of the church. In 1940, a new limestone altar was given in memory of Edward and Annie Finch, by their children. Above the high altar is the carved white oak reredos given in memory of Orville Griffith Waring, a warden and vestryman for over fifty years.

Under the guidance of longtime rector The Rev. Harry Knickle, a parish hall and kitchen were constructed in 1957. The parish hall is used by the parish for social functions. It also contains a stage for theatrical productions. Also in 1957, the second floor of the parish house was reconfigured to create additional classrooms.

In November 1964, the carved white oak pulpit was dedicated as a memorial to Dorothy Fleming Waring. The transept chapel was dedicated in June 1966 as a memorial to Walter Charles Scott, by his wife. In 1968, the last major memorial donation to the parish came into being: the Ackerman Memorial Garden. It was designed by the landscape design firm of Innocenti & Webel. It is located directly alongside the church on the opposite side of Cleveland Avenue. It was offered as a memorial by the Ackerman family in honor of Marion and Sarah Ackerman.

In both design and workmanship, Grace Church is indicative of the high quality of late 19th-century ecclesiastical architecture in Plainfield. The building is an example of the Gothic Revival architectural influence and is characterized by the use of asymmetry, cruciform plan, pointed arched windows and arches, gothic style door carvings, and decorative sandstone trim around door and window openings. The large square bell tower is also a decisive element of the style and provides a focal point in the neighborhood. One of the larger churches in Plainfield, and the largest Episcopal church in the Diocese of New Jersey, with a seating capacity of over 700, the imposing structure is a dominant presence in its neighborhood.

Robert W. Gibson, the architect, though English, began his practice in Albany where he received the commission for All Saints Cathedral (Episcopal), which began construction in 1881, and Christ Church, Rochester, 1888. Becoming a naturalized citizen in 1887 and moving to New York City in 1888, Mr. Gibson received such commissions as West End Collegiate Church and School (77th St. and West End Avenue), New York Botanical Gardens, 1896 (Administration Building), Church Mission Fund, 1892 (now the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, 20th Street and Park Avenue S.) and the Morton Plant mansion, 1904 (now Cartier's, 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue), as well as several country estates and club houses around New York and churches beyond the City. Notable among the former is the Sewanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, 1892, on the North Shore of Long Island (Oyster Bay) and among the latter is St. Stephen's Church, Olean, New York (circa 1886), which the Vestry's Committee on the New Church Building selected to be the model for the current Grace Church. Mr. Gibson also designed several commercial structures including the New York Clearing House (77 Cedar Street), U.S. Trust Co. Building (45-47 Wall Street), and the Women's Hotel (29th and Madison Avenue), all in Manhattan. Mr. Gibson was a versatile architect who was not identified with any one architectural style. His buildings, whether designed using the Gothic Revival (St. Stephen's Church), Classical Revival (Morton Plant mansion), Dutch Revival (West End Collegiate Church), or Richardsonian Romanesque (numerous country homes) demonstrate his ability to design quality buildings in many styles. The nature of his commissions indicates that Mr. Gibson was connected to upper-class society in New York and consistent with these connections his ecclesiastical commissions were almost exclusively at the behest of Episcopal parishes, such as Grace Church, or institutions such as the Church Mission Fund (the social service agency of the Episcopal Church).

An outstanding feature of Grace Church is its stained glass windows. Over 40 windows by such renowned firms as Tiffany Studios, Charles Connick Studios and Heaton, Butler & Bayne. These windows are an excellent representative sampling of the leading stained glass designers of the early 20th century. Two of the three windows by Tiffany Studios are of their trademark opalescent glass. The other windows were fabricated with European antique painted glass, some with detailed depictions of landscape scenes and vivid colors. The wheel window, chancel window and 16 side aisle windows are by the English firm Heaton, Butler & Bayne. This firm, founded in 1862, created stained glass that was artistically inspired by medieval Italian painting and its English incarnation, the pre-Raphaelites. They employed the antique glass technique of applying several layers of glass and paint to achieve a depth of perspective rarely found in stained glass. Among the most talented of Arts and Crafts stained glass craftsmen, the firm Heaton, Butler & Bayne manufactured stained glass windows for hundreds of English churches in the mid-1800s and then America in the early 20th century. Their technique results in a uniquely realistic depiction of human faces on glass. Their stained glass windows at Grace Church, which were created between 1906 and 1911, exhibit the technique's trademark physical detail of the human body. In the medallions of the wheel window the treatment of the apostle's faces are featured examples of painted glass. The windows by Charles Connick, which are in the clerestory and All Saints Chapel reflect his commitment to restore the medieval style in stained glass design. The Connick

Studio has been described, by Virginia Reguin, professor of visual arts at Holy Cross College as "the most active proselytizer of the Gothic Revival in the 20th Century". His obituary in the New York Times referred to him as "'the world's greatest contemporary craftsman in stained glass". Connick was the chief stained glass collaborator with Ralph Adams Cram, the premier neo-Gothic architect, and his windows grace many of Cram's buildings, including the Rose Window of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. At Grace Church, Connick's windows, created between 1956 and 1961, are representative examples of his style. His heavy reliance on blues and reds, consistent with the medieval practice, is exhibited in his windows at Grace Church.

A unique feature of Grace Church is its carillon. One of the oldest and largest on the continent its bells continue to chime each week, seventy-nine years after its installation. Carillons were introduced to North American audiences in the early 1920s largely as the result of the writings of one man, William Gorham Rice. Mr. Rice wrote extensively about carillons for such popular journals as National Geographic. In particular, he described the carillons of Belgium and the Netherlands, where they have been since the Middle Ages, and where it is common for every mid-sized town to have its own carillon. At Grace Church, it was a parishioner, Dr. Albert Pittis, who was solely responsible for the carillon. Originally interested in purchasing a set of chimes for the parish, the news of John D. Rockefeller's signing a contract for a 42-bell carillon with the same firm with which Pittis was dealing, spurred him to do the same, though on a smaller scale, for Grace Church. As reported in the New York Times, on December 6th, 1922, in an article describing Rockefeller's purchase of 42 bells for Park Avenue Baptist Church (later renamed Riverside Church), "The only other set of the kind in the United States will be at Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield, N.J., to which an anonymous donor has given a carillon, also ordered from the [Gillett & Johnston] firm." The Grace Church carillon has been played by the best carillonneurs in the world, as noted by the Courier News, on October 6th, 1934, that recitals on the Grace Church carillon "have been given by Kamiel Lefevere, recognized as the best and most popular carillionneurs in the world". Constructed by Gillett & Johnston, the premier bell makers in England, it is a further example of the parish's historic commitment to selecting the premier artisans in their field to work at the church. There exist only 165 non-electric carillons in the North America, four of which are in New Jersey (in order of size; Princeton University, Grace Church, and two other Episcopal churches, St. Peter's Church [Morristown] and the Church of St. George's-by-the-River [Rumson]). The Grace Church carillon has achieved recognition in the field, as when, in 1995, the parish hosted a recital by the Guild of Carillionneurs of North America. In 2000, Robin Austin, the former carillionneur, who presently holds that position at Princeton University, returned to Grace Church to record a CD in conjunction with the parish's community girl choir. The carillon is played each week, both before and after Mass, by the parish carillonneur, Mr. David Magee. He is the latest in a long line of carillioneurs, beginning with the eight local men who were instructed by Mr. Percival Price, carillioneur of Metropolitan Church, Toronto and at the time one of the world's most gifted carillioneurs, and who played at the dedicatory recital on March 23rd, 1923. The Pittis Memorial Carillon is the second-largest carillon in New Jersey (after Princeton University) and the fourth-oldest in North America. The carillon continues to be maintained by the Pittis family, whose forebear, Dr. Albert Pittis, was the benefactor of the carillon and the force behind its creation.

The Ackerman Memorial Garden adjacent to the church complex was designed in 1968 by Richard Webel, of Innocenti & Webel, who was a landscape architect for over sixty years. During his career, he designed at such renowned locations as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (American Wing), Blair House (presidential guest quarters across from the White House), Frick Art Museum in Pittsburgh, Governor's Mansion (Albany), Wellesley College and Aqueduct Racetrack (Queens). He received, in 1992, a lifetime achievement award from his alma mater, Harvard University, where he also taught landscape architecture.

The current parishioners of Grace Episcopal Church have achieved a balance of commitment to restoring their historic legacy while at the same time serving the community's most basic needs. The parish, having just been awarded a $422,500 matching grant from New Jersey Historic Trust, is set to begin exterior restoration work on the stone facade, sandstone, wood trim, stained glass windows and roof. While the work is ongoing, the parish ministries, housed in our historic structures, continue. They are: Grace's Kitchen (a feeding program involving nine parishes and 200 volunteers, who last year received a Congressional Medal for Volunteer Service, and who serve 1,000 lunch meals during the last five days of each month); Plainfield Girlchoir (an after-school music tutorial choir program based on the Royal School of Church Music curriculum, that has performed at Lincoln Center, New Jersey State Museum, and each year at the St. Bartholomew's Church (Mantattan) youth choral festival); Plainfield Computer Center: funded by Lucent Technologies Foundation and Trinity Church, Wall Street to teach youth website design skills, and entrepreneurial skills and to run a multicultural program with a video component to enable teenagers to mentor elementary-aged children in the challenges and lessons of living in a multicultural environment; Interfaith Homeless Center: 12 families are fed and housed two weeks each year by parishioners. In addition to the aforementioned parish activities, space in our buildings is also used by neighborhood non-profit groups, including several congregations, Sentir Criollo, a Colombian dance troupe and the Youth Entertainment Academy (a recording studio educational project for inner-city kids), which on March 14th, 2001 hosted a visit by President George W. Bush to Grace Church. The parish of Grace Church is fully committed to housing its various ministries to the disadvantaged of Plainfield in a restored historic church complex.

Facing decades of diminished attendance, decreased income, potentially dangerous building conditions, and the inability to afford critical repairs to its 130-year-old church building, the Episcopal Church of Plainfield decided in 2020 (during the onset of the pandemic) to sell the building and find another worship space to continue their services to the community. During this transition, Grace Church was the subject of discussions of demolition and redevelopment of the property. In the fall of 2022, the municipality's planning board voted to move forward with preparing plans to redevelop. The current zoning for Grace Church permits mixed-use structures including uses such as apartments, townhouses, childcare, retail, office space, restaurant, tavern, bank, or health and fitness club, banquet hall, parking lot, laundromat, and open space. Preservation New Jersey

Building Description

Grace Episcopal Church, located at 600 Cleveland Avenue, in downtown Plainfield, is a two-story cruciform plan Gothic Revival church. A unique religious edifice in Plainfield, it features a 47-bell carillon housed in the bell tower, and a historic collection of stained glass windows, including several by Tiffany Studios, Heaton, Butler & Bayne and Charles Connick Studios.

The church is based on a cruciform plan with a central nave flanked by narrow side aisles, transepts and, as originally built, a relatively shallow chancel apse. Clerestory windows above the aisles illuminate the interior. At either end of the wide crossing are two large windows by Tiffany Studios (circa 1911) which brighten that area of the church. The chancel was extended in 1929-1930 in keeping with a liturgical style making more use of an expanded altar space and allowing for an increase in the size of the choir. The chancel ends with a large lancet arch stained glass window. Except for the chancel extension, the church building as it presently exists was constructed in 1892.

The division of spaces within the plan is reflected in the church exterior. The asymmetrically composed entrance (7th Street) facade consists of a central, two-story, gabled, slate-roofed nave approached by a podium of six steps. This leads to the narthex which runs the full width of the church and is set in with six rectangular wood framed two-light lancet arch leaded glass windows. A double-width wooden entry door with brass fittings provides the main entry into the narthex. At the base of the doorway pointed arches are engaged columns with flower and acanthus leaf capitals. Above the doors entering the nave is a large wheel window, encased in a mahogany frame, which in turn is surrounded by red sandstone in a circular pattern. The cross gable roof has hipped transepts and is slate-shingled with ridge cresting.

The asymmetrically composed facade, which occupies the southerly (or 7th Street) side, features a two-story gable dominated by a central rose or wheel window in a mahogany frame set into a red sandstone surround. Directly below this window is one of the two main entrances to the church. That entrance, which consists of a pair of oak doors set into a lancet arch under a steeply-pitched gablet, is reached by a short flight of six steps. This entrance competes visually with a second principal entrance in a bell tower at the east corner of the church; the tower faces both 7th and Cleveland Streets, and is entered from the Cleveland Street side.

On the Cleveland Avenue side, just beyond the east transept is the sacristy, with a gabled slate roof and with its own separate entrance reached by four steps. The oak door is fitted with brass designs similar to those of the narthex and tower entrances. Adjacent to the sacristy is the rector's office, with a flat roof and bay window design containing the same sandstone window surrounds as found elsewhere on the edifice.

The exterior walls on the front and side tower facades are rough-faced reddish-grey sandstone random ashlar with concave tooled mortar joints. The walls are trimmed with carved red sandstone belt courses, sills, door and window surrounds, parapet caps, and finials. The building corners are reinforced with sloped buttresses.

The Parish House, erected in 1905 as a separate building that is attached to the church building, was designed to complement the church exterior and is also made of rough-faced reddish-grey sandstone random ashlar with beaded mortar joints. Also matching the church building are carved red sandstone window sills and heads, blind pointed arches, and cornices. The projecting stairwell walls are capped with a cornice and crenellated parapet similar to those of the bell tower. The several windows on either side of the Parish House are rectangular double-hung wood, with transom windows above the second-floor windows. The parish house's gabled roofs are slate and at a lower pitch than the Church.

The Parish Hall, erected in 1957 as a separate building and connected to the Parish House, is a simple design that references the Gothic Revival in the entrance. The exterior walls are light red brick with cut limestone trim and backed with concrete masonry. The windows are double-hung wood, with transom lights above the tall parish hall windows. The lights are clad with bronze anodized aluminum.

The church complex is sited between East Sixth and Seventh Streets and Cleveland Avenue, Block 837 Lot 1. On the west side, the church complex is bordered by an approximately one-acre garden enclosed by a wrought iron fence. This garden was designed by the well-known landscape architects Innocenti & Webel in 1969 and was the recipient in 1971 of the Church Garden Award made by the National Council of State Garden Clubs. It consists of mature shrubs (i.e. mountain laurel, azalea, rhododendron, and holly) that follow the contour of the church and alongside the fence on Seventh Street. Along the length of the property line from Seventh Street down towards Sixth Street is a row of pine trees. In between the row of pine trees and the shrubs by the church building is a wide lawn interrupted only by English yews in two square patterns beginning in the middle of the lawn and continuing toward Sixth Street. Along the side of the parish house is a row of flowering cherry trees.

The narthex provides a desirable space transition from the street to the nave of the church. It measures 55' long and 10' wide. The southern pine floor is a match of the original wooden floor, which had been covered for decades with linoleum tile. The southern end of the narthex has a double-doored entrance to the nave while the northern end has a double-doored entrance to the tower vestibule. The walls of the narthex are finished in plain plaster. The ceiling is a tongue and groove oak ceiling. The diagonal tongue and groove entrance door contains its original brass fittings. The eight windows are of colored glass.

The tower vestibule has plaster walls and a tongue-and-groove oak ceiling. Double doors lead from the vestibule into the nave. In the corner is a small wooden door leading to a spiral staircase that culminates in the bell tower. At two points in the stairwell are pointed arched leaded glass windows. Hanging in the bell tower is a 47-bell carillon with the bells ranging from 70 pounds to 2,296 pounds. Of the 47 bells, 23 bells were made by the pre-eminent English firm Gillett & Johnston, (the Royal Foundry), and were installed in 1922. These bells carry the Royal Family's coat of arms. The same firm cast the bells of the world's largest carillon at Riverside Church, which were dedicated three months before those at Grace Church. In 1969, the Church enlarged the carillon with the addition of 24 bells from the French firm Paccard. At that time, Gillett & Johnston was no longer in operation. This enlargement was carried out under the auspices of Mr. Arthur Lynds Bigelow, the bell master of Princeton University from 1941 until the late 1960s. The French bells are embellished with the fleur de lis. All the bells hang stationary from a steel framework and the clappers are connected by a system of wires and transmission wires to the clavier upon which the carillonneur plays. The bells are a "b" weight grade.

From the narthex, the center double doors swing into the nave of the church. The flanking doors open into the side aisles. Above the center doors is a large Heaton, Butler & Bayne hand-painted wheel window of stained glass (installed in October 1909) depicting busts of the twelve apostles surrounding Christ enthroned at the center. From the rear of the nave, a sweep of high arches carried on wood columns focuses attention forward to the sanctuary and high altar. The arches support clerestory walls filled with stained glass windows that illuminate the nave. In the clerestory, on each side, are three sets of two windows, all by the studio of Charles Connick. Above each set of clerestory windows is a round lancet window. The clerestory windows on the Gospel (pulpit) side, which were dedicated in the period 1958 through 1961, feature mostly renowned Anglican clericals, including the famous 19th century preacher Phillips Brooks; Bishop William White, the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Matthew Parker, an Archbishop of Canterbury under King Henry VIII; Saint Augustine, who spread Christianity to the British Isles; St. Paul; and St. Joseph of Arimathea. On the Epistle (lectern) side the windows feature mostly Old Testament figures such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, in addition to Saints Matthew and Mark. The Epistle side windows were dedicated during the period 1956 through 1958. A quarter of the way up the nave several pews on each side were removed to create a crossing. A baptismal font has been placed at the intersection of this crossing with the center aisle.

The center aisle which leads forward to the chancel is flanked by wooden pews with their carved end panels which date from the 1892 construction. The ceiling of the nave is of wooden truss design with exposed wooden trusses which support the ceiling. The triangular open forms of the trusses add to the airiness and lightness of the nave.

Each side aisle is illuminated with four sets of three stained glass windows. These windows date from 1911 and are by Heaton, Butler & Bayne and Tiffany Studios. On the Gospel side, the windows depict such scenes as the women approaching the empty tomb on Easter; Old Testament figures David playing a harp and Saul holding a scepter while seated on a throne; and the Virgin Mary with her hands clasped as in prayer; and a shepherd and shepherdess carrying a staff; a youthful Jesus addressing elders in the temple; a bearded Jesus together with Joseph; and a baby Jesus on the lap of Mary. On the Epistle side the windows depict such scenes as angels holding thuribles (censors) together with Jesus and Mary; the Three Wise Men presenting their gifts to the baby Jesus; and a floral scene of white lilies by Tiffany Studios and the sole window original to the second church building, erected in 1876.

At the crossing in the transept is a further set of pews beyond the side aisles. These pews are alongside the four-paneled windows by Tiffany Studios, one at either end of the transepts. The scene in the window on the Gospel side is of angels trumpeting the news of the Resurrection surrounded by white lilies and clouds of opalescent glass. This window was dedicated in September 1906. On the Epistle side, the window shows an angel holding a torch and crown and surrounded by blue flowers and lilies. This window was dedicated in June 1908. The pews in the south transept face a side altar with a woven silk panel behind the altar. The columns creating the pointed arches along the side aisles are topped by stylized capitals featuring a floral design. Each side aisle is a lean-to roof that buttresses the main structure.

To the left of the crossing is an oak pulpit, which replaced the original brass pulpit in the 1950s. The current pulpit is carved with figures of the Evangelists. To the right of the crossing is a carved eagle brass lectern stand. On either side of the entrance to the chancel are prayer stands. Each is made by Tiffany Studios and is in brass. At the ceiling in the crossing are wooden decorative trusses which imitate the hip roof of the exterior.

Upon crossing the transept, one enters through a limestone arch into the chancel. Just under the arch are three steps leading up into the chancel. On either side of the chancel are long oak choir stalls with carved end panels. Behind the choir stalls on the left side are carved wooden panels, in the Gothic style, which hold the almost 2,400 organ pipes. On the other side of the chancel, and behind the choir stalls, is the 1927 Casavant Freres three-manual organ. To this day, Casavant Freres updates and maintains the organ in its excellent working condition. The floor of the chancel is a black and white patterned marble. The ceiling of the chancel is of exposed beams in an open gable space.

A one-step elevation divides the sanctuary from the chancel. At this juncture, a brass and wood communion rail extends the width of the sanctuary. Beyond the rail is another three-step elevation to the Finch Memorial high altar, installed in 1940. Behind the altar, the wall is covered with an intricately carved oak reredos of the Last Supper. Above this depiction of the Last Supper is the 1909 Heaton Butler & Bayne lancet arch stained glass window. On either side of the sanctuary, within the chancel and twelve feet from the floor, are two lancet-arched stained glass windows. Also, there are two carved wooden doors, the south side door leading to the garden and the north side door leading to the hallway outside the sacristy.

Opposite the organ, across a hall, is the sacristy and a small vesting room, where the clergy and acolytes don their vestments.

Continuing through the hallway outside the sacristy, and up a flight of three stairs, one passes the rector's office, parish office, vestry lounge, and the Chapel of All Saints. The Chapel windows, executed by Charles Connick Studios in 1958 and installed in May 1958, are pointed arch-leaded stained glass. In each window, Christ is depicted with a three-rayed nimbus (three red rays on a white halo), which signifies divinity. The northern-most window illustrates a Madonna holding the Christ child; the window following depicts Christ as a young man; the third window shows Christ holding a lighted lamp, signifying Christ as the light of the world; the fourth window shows Jesus kneeling and looking upwards towards an angel figure holding a cup; the next window is the only cruciform window in the church; the final window depicts the risen Christ with his stigmata and holding a rod topped with across and pennant signifying victory over death. The Chapel has the original 1892 high altar.

Beyond the Chapel is a stairway to the right that leads to the second floor of the Parish House which contains 8 classrooms and office space. On the first floor, and just beyond the stairway, is Knickle Hall (the 1957 parish hall) where parish and community functions are held. Between the vestry lounge and the parish hall is the kitchen. The Basement contains a large gymnasium now used by a community group. Alongside the gymnasium is a choir room, with rows of original wooden lockers and a computer room where after-school classes are held.

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Bell Tower (2001)
Bell Tower (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey East 7<sup>th</sup> Street front facade/narthex (2001)
East 7th Street front facade/narthex (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Wheel Window on front facade (2001)
Wheel Window on front facade (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Narthex/front facade (2001)
Narthex/front facade (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Bell Tower/Clerestory windows (2001)
Bell Tower/Clerestory windows (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Decorative Trim around Tower door (2001)
Decorative Trim around Tower door (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Side of Church along Cleveland Avenue (2001)
Side of Church along Cleveland Avenue (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Parish House (2001)
Parish House (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey East Transept, Sacristy, and Rector's Office (2001)
East Transept, Sacristy, and Rector's Office (2001)

Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield  New Jersey Garden and wrought iron fence (2001)
Garden and wrought iron fence (2001)