WHO WE ARE
Welcome to Grace Episcopal Church! We are a historic Episcopal congregation in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, embarking on a new, exciting chapter in our parish life. We are one of 57 parishes in the Diocese of Bethlehem, a diocese of the Episcopal Church, the United States province of the Anglican Communion.
Whoever you are, and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, there is a place for you here. We are an LGBTQ+ affirming parish, and we invite persons of all colors, ages, and physical abilities to take their rightful place as God’s children at God’s table.
Believing with Canon Stephanie Spellers that “the church has been cracked open,” we are pursuing new community partnerships and praying to discern how best to use Grace’s many gifts. We hope to live into our identity as the salt of the world, being the hands and feet of Jesus beyond our church walls.
Office hours are by appointment, Tuesday through Thursday. Email email@example.com to make an appointment with Rev. Jay.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As constituent members of the Anglican Communion in the United States, we are descendants of and partners with the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church, and are part of the third largest group of Christians in the world.
We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world.
We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God, and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of sexual identity or orientation.
We believe that God loves you – no exceptions.
(from The Episcopal Church)
A TWO-MINUTE PRIMER
ON THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
CLERGY AND STAFF
Priest in Charge
Rev. Jay O'Rear
The Rev. Jay O’Rear was born in San Jose, CA and spent 25 years as a communications consultant to many large high-tech firms and non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley before discerning a call to full-time ministry. Ordained in the Diocese of Bethlehem, Rev. Jay’s lifelong ministerial interests include men’s groups, ministry to people with disabilities, prison ministry, and Christian contemplative practice.
In 2018, Rev. Jay relocated to New York City to complete his Master of Divinity at the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary. Halfway through his studies, the COVID-19 pandemic caused him to complete seminary—and an internship at Episcopal Relief and Development—virtually, which taught him new ways of looking at how the church might thrive in the 21st century. After graduating, he completed an extended chaplaincy internship at Phoebe Allentown, a large eldercare community offering all levels of care.
Rev. Jay lives in nearby Paupack with his wife Robin and their terrier, Tengo. He looks forward to welcoming one and all, regardless of where they are on their faith journey, to Grace Episcopal Church.
Dr. Matthew Corso
Matt has been a member of Grace Episcopal Church for almost 20 years. He and his wife Paige (a lifelong member) were married in the Church in 2003.
Matt is a graduate of Bloomsburg University, The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and The University of Scranton, where he earned an MBA in healthcare administration.
Matt is passionate about being involved in his community. He currently serves as President of the Wayne Highlands Little League, President of the Northeast PA Optometric Society, a director on the Wayne Highlands School Board, and a member of the Honesdale Lions Club.
In addition, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, and serves as Chief of Optometry Services for the 105th Medical Group, 105th Air Wing, New York Air National Guard.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending as much time as possible with Paige and his two sons, Ethan and Dylan. He loves the outdoors and especially likes camping, hunting, and bike riding.
Alec Edwards, Junior Warden
OUR HISTORY IN HONESDALE
The history of Grace Church is intimately tied to the founding of Honesdale. When the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company completed its 108-mile canal along the Lackawaxen and Delaware rivers in 1829 in order to transport coal to New York City, people and jobs began to flow into Honesdale, the canal’s western terminus. By 1832, the new town was home to enough Episcopalians to warrant their own congregation. (Back then, Episcopalianism was known as the religion of presidents, including George Washington, James Madison, and James Monroe).
D&H donated the land for the church at the southwestern corner of Central Park and in 1834, a modest wooden building was erected. In 1856, the fast-growing congregation employed NYC architects Willis and Dudley to design the current Gothic structure, built of locally quarried stone, with seating for 200 people. The adjoining rectory was built in 1875 and the spire added in 1878. In 1949, the parish received a magnificent gift from Byron and Hortense Miller in the form of a three-story parish hall.
The church building features several Tiffany windows, wood carvings, and original paintings, many featuring historic scenes of Honesdale. It also houses a Möller pipe organ as well as a classic 1902 Steinway piano.
Our parish hall features an auditorium and stage, a large industrial kitchen, sacristy, and rector’s office as well as several meeting rooms, classrooms, and a library. Throughout the years, Grace has been and continues to be a venue for concerts and artistic presentations, community programs, youth groups, and 12-step meetings in addition to church events.
Land Acknowledgement of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem
The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem resides within Lenapehoking, the traditional home of the Lenni Lenape and a migration route for the Munsee, Susquehannock, Haudenosaunee, and many other Indigenous peoples. As we live, work, and pray on this land, we humbly acknowledge all Indigenous peoples connected to this land, named and unnamed, whose presence continues in the region due to their resilience in the face of colonization.
We are mindful of covenants broken and the need to strive to make right with all our relations. Thus, we recognize and repent of the Church’s part in the colonialism and oppression of Indigenous peoples, and we strive toward greater awareness, recognition, support, and advocacy for Indigenous peoples who live here now, and for those who were forcibly removed.