Grace Anglican Church, Sutton, Québec
Grace Church
52 Principale sud
Sutton, Québec

phone: 450-538-8108



Local Information
Ski Mont Sutton

Sutton Weather Forecast

Sutton Tourism Office


A History of Grace Church

On August 1st, 1846, Bishop Mountain visited the newly constructed Grace Church in Sutton. He relates the following in his journal:

"We descended to Sutton Flats through which a clear little river winds its way, and upon which the church is situated. The church is a solid stone building of moderate dimensions with a tower in front and pierced Gothic arches for windows. These apertures are now filled with fresh branches of fir (there being no panes in the windows as yet) and the church is prepared within a rough temporary way for the service. There were about 200 people present."

Land had been donated by Mr. Billings and Captain Solomon Squier in 1835 but it was not until 1842 that a Church of England Mission was set up. This took in Foster, Knowlton, Brome, Sutton and Abercorn. Reverend Cusack, who resided in Knowlton (Coldbrook), was the first missionary to minister to the people of the area.

Reverend Joseph Scott (1846-1850) was a missionary in charge of Sutton when Grace Church was built in 1846. As early as 1839 the Reverend James Reid of Frelighsburg had conducted services in a schoolhouse in Sutton until the church was built. Those people in Sutton who wished to marry or have their children christened had to travel twelve miles to Frelighsburg. The stipends of the missionaries were paid by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands (the S.P.G.) in England.

Reverend Robert Lindsay (1850-1854) was in charge of Grace Church when Bishop Fulford arrived on June 17th, 1851 to consecrate Grace Church. During his stay a vestry and schoolroom were built near the Church which was rented for $60.00 a year for the next twelve years.

Reverend Hugh Montgomery (1854-1858) While serving the congregation of Grace Church, the Reverend Hugh Montgomery realized that the education of the children, beyond elementary school, was sadly lacking. He rectified the problem by opening a school of secondary education in the building which had been constructed next to the church as a vestry room. Montgomery taught here until he was moved to Philipsburg in 1858. This building was later moved north and served as a private dwelling when the present Parish Hall was built in 1907. In 1855 the Ladies Sewing Society was organized with the women of the church participating in the welfare of their church through this organization.

Reverend J.S. Sykes (1858-1862) The Reverend Sykes served the growing congregation for four years and was replaced by the Reverend Thomas Early, who was in charge for a short while in 1863. In 1858, the first horse sheds were built and were later enlarged in 1886. These were dismantled when the automobile replaced the horse as a means of transportation to and from church.

Reverend John Smith (1864-1888) The Reverend John Smith was inducted as the first Rector of Grace Church in 1864. He became the Rural Dean and served the Parish for twenty-four years. During this period, in 1874, Grace Church became self-supporting and was no longer a mission church. In 1879, the east wall of the church was broken through in order to add a chancel, which was built of wood instead of stone, at a cost of $633.00. When Grace Church was built in 1846 the cost was $1,850. Materials used in finishing were $217; and the church steeple, built in 1854, cost $333. Much of the work on the steeple was done by members of the congregation.

Reverend Charles Bancroft (1888-1893) Through the four years that the Reverend Bancroft ministered to the congregation the numbers increased and the services were well established.

Reverend E.T. Capel (1893-1903) In 1894 the Vestry (the minister and churchwardens) was prepared to take up subscriptions in order to build a new church. The congregation was worried about the safety of the building.The south wall was falling outwards. However, an architect was hired who said that the damage to the walls was due to frost and advised digging a ditch along the south wall. Steels rods were also placed inside the church connecting the walls together. This remedied the situation, and the idea of a new church was cancelled, saving this historic building for future generations. In 1899, the old rectory, which had adjoined the church, was sold to Mr. L.E. Dyer for $300, which included one quarter of an acre on the south end of the glebe and the house was moved there. A new rectory was built, at that time, at a cost of $1,700.

Reverend J.H. Bell, R.D. (1904-1911) In 1907 the present Parish Hall was built to replace the first one at a cost of $3,500. The previous building was moved north, next to the railway tracks and is still in use today as a private dwelling. Meetings of the Ladies Sewing Society and the women's organization called the Daughters of the King, were held here as well as Vestry Meetings. In the vestry minute book of 1905, there is a reference to the Daughters of the King paying for the painting of the rectory. In 1910, both the church and the rectory were wired for electricity.

The Venerable Herbert Charters (1912-1947) In 1912 the Reverend Herbert Charters was inducted as rector of Grace Church where he continued to serve the parish for thirty-five years. He became Archdeacon Charters and Rural Dean of the Brome-Shefford Deanery. He will always be remembered for his fatherly concern for all of his parishioners. He was both priest and friend to all, often going into homes to baptize whole families of children, whose spiritual needs had been neglected. When he became Archdeacon, a position which he held for many years he, on formal occasions, donned the gaiters and coat which were appropriate to his office. Everyone mourned his passing in 1947. When he first became rector of Grace Church in 1912, the front wall of the church was taken down, the stones numbered and after a reinforced base was put in, the stones were replaced in the wall in the same manner as before. The porch was replaced and its neat appearance graces the front of the church today. During the closing years of Archdeacon Charter's tenure, a junior choir was organized to assist at the Evening services. Both junior and senior choirs acquired vestments in 1946. Barbara Cowan was the directress and Shirley Cowan was the organist for both choirs at that time. The high point of the junior choir activities was the Candlelight Carol Service. The new Casavant Pipe Organ was dedicated in 1958.

Reverend Kenneth B. Keefe (1948-1953) Shortly after Reverend Keefe became rector, work began on the Memorial Cloister, a building to connect the Parish Hall with the church and to contain a vestry office, choir rooms and a storage room. This was dedicated in 1948 to the memory of the late Archdeacon Charters. During the Reverend Keefe's time the horse sheds out back of the church were finally torn down. With the Reverend Keefe's ministry there was an influx of members, both young and old. There were many activities in the parish hall, which involved the whole congregation. The Annual Auction Sale was started in 1950 and brought many people to the church grounds for the big event. In 1980, close to the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate, Canon Keefe retired to the hills of Sutton, which had exerted an irresistible pull for many years. He was Honorary Assistant at Grace Church and faithfully served at St. John's, Bromont and the deaneries of Brome-Shefford and Bedford until his sudden death on April 19th, 1984. Kenneth was a man who did so much for so many people, he was loved and respected by everyone. Ken and Margaret enjoyed their years together in Sutton. Margaret continued to live in Sutton and support Grace Church until she moved into Montreal in 1996.

Canon M. Brett (1953-1973) During the twenty years of Reverend Brett's ministry the congregation continued to be active with three choirs: senior, intermediate and junior. The Sunday School, with a full complement on Sunday mornings, kept the children involved and interested in their Christian education which helped them to discover their place within the Church. A Memorial Chapel and Vault was built and consecrated in 1968 at Grace Church Cemetery. Canon Brett retired and built a house in Sutton, where he and Mrs. Brett continued to participate in Grace Church activities until they moved to Ontario.

Reverend Roy Darcus (1974-1976) The Reverend Roy Darcus served the parish with dedication for two years.

Reverend George A. Long (1976-1986) The Reverend Long served the congregation of Grace Church for ten years and was appreciated for his concern for the sick and the elderly in the congregation. Reverend Long was responsible, along with Father Francois Tanguay of St. Andres, for the beginning of the Ecumenical Services with the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches sharing in worship. At the end of his ministry at Grace Church, Canon Long was called to minister to the veterans at Ste. Anne's Military Hospital.

Reverend Grahame Thompson (1986-1990) During the Reverend Thompson's four years as rector of Grace Church the services were well attended. In 1989 a section at the north end of the glebe was sold to the Quebec Government in order t construct low-cost housing units for senior citizens of Sutton. The money was used to repair some of the buildings in the parish. A Parish Council was held once a month with the other churches in this three point parish participating; All Saints in Abercorn and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Glen Sutton. The Book of Alternative Services (BAS) was used for the first time at Grace Church during the Reverend Thompson's ministry.

Reverend Timothy Smart (1990 -  present) Reverend Smart was inducted as rector of Grace Church in December of 1990 and continues to be our minister. He has introduced courses in Adult Education, more Ecumenical services, including Lenten Lunches where members of the other churches in Sutton share in a meal. He has established an increase in ministry with the children, such as the Kid's Club once a week, Summer Day Camp and an active Sunday School. In 1995 the Reverend Smart was appointed Rural Dean of the Brome-Shefford Deanery. The Parish Council continues to be an active group in the parish. Attendance at the 10:30 am Eucharist has increased in the past few years. We hope that Tim will be with us at Grace Church for many years to come.

The Anglican Church Women (ACW) The Ladies Sewing Society, started in 1855, became the Anglican Church Women in 1962. The ladies of the parish of Grace Church have worked very hard through the years and are highly commended in the Vestry records for their financial and spiritual support over one hundred and forty years. The ACW is an active group today and the members enjoy the fellowship of working together to support their church.

Many memorial windows of stained glass, along with numerous plaques, adorn the interior of this beautiful stone church. As the sun streams through into the nave and the chancel the colours of these beautiful windows are spread throughout the church, reminding us of those members of the congregation who worked hard to build and maintain, not only a house of worship, but one of great beauty.

Grace Church 125th Anniversary: Rev. M. Brett
Sutton Sesquicentennial 1802-1952
Contributions to the History of the Eastern Townships (1866): Cyrus Thomas
Copyright: by Jean Darrah McCaw

A Word from the Rector: the Rev. Tim Smart
Church histories often focus on the history of the buildings and its clergy. But there are many people whose names, while not recorded in official records, still were important in the building up of God's spiritual church, the body of Christ. We think of the impact of the rector's wife and children on the life of the parish and recognize their unique contribution. We recall the work of the many ladies groups whose fund-raising and fellowship down through the years kept the church alive and going. We recognize the wide ranging involvement of lay people as wardens, treasurers, choristers, sacristans, and so on. And there was the commitment of the people to Sunday worship and their daily witness to Christ in their words and in their deeds. Without these people, there would be no history of Grace Church to record. To these people, we give thanks, and to God we give glory, whose Son Jesus Christ is the foundation on whom we continue to build our faith and our lives.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain."
(Psalm 127:1)

Copyright: Grace Anglican Church, Sutton

Web page created January 10th, 2005.   BACK to Homepage