1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Blackmon, Johnson (19th), Horhn

Senate Concurrent Resolution 630

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk, Missionary Bishop of Arkansas and Provisional Bishop of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi held services in Canton, Mississippi, Sunday, April 26, 1840, writing "....I performed the service and preached to a very large and attentive congregation at Canton....A missionary should be sent to them....an earnest laborer would soon gather a congregation....Among the families of the town and county, are to be found those who are already interested in various degrees in the services of the church"; and

WHEREAS, the Rev. Elijah H. Downing was appointed by the Domestic Missionary Society as missionary to Madison County in October 1847, and under his guidance Grace Episcopal Church was organized February 23, 1848, and admitted to the Diocese of Mississippi in May of that year; and

WHEREAS, the Rev. Edward Fontaine began his ministry as the first permanent priest in the parish August 1, 1848, having at the time of his departure wrote "If the members earnestly seek to be able to give to every man a reason of the hope that is in them and endeavor to impart it to others, and if they will live in unity and love, and display in their works Christian zeal, this infant parish will certainly attain to a happy and useful maturity"; and

WHEREAS, in 1850, the Rt. Rev. William Mercer Green was consecrated the first Bishop of Mississippi and on his visit to Grace Church that year he "addressed the congregation on the best method of effecting their purpose of building a church" and when no agreement could be made as to what material should be used, a frame temporary structure was erected and consecrated by Bishop Green on December 8, 1853, and this temporary structure is still in use today; and

WHEREAS, since that time Grace Church, Canton, Mississippi, has continued to serve the people of Canton, the Diocese of Mississippi, the Protestant Episcopal Church, the State of Mississippi and the United States of America by providing early training for two bishops, William Mercer Green II and Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr. and a place of birth, marriage and ordination to the deaconate of Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr.; and

WHEREAS, Grace Church has also raised two ministers from its congregation and ordained to the ministry nine other ministers and provided to service in the Diocese of Mississippi two Chancellors of the Diocese, four members of the Standing Committee, one member of the Executive Committee and three delegates to General Convention; and

WHEREAS, Diocesan Council has been held at Grace Church five times; the Rev. J. Ord Cresap edited the Church News from Grace Church for a number of years; USO services were provided at Grace Church during World War II and, when a tornado hit Canton in 1976, the priest and members of the congregation quickly responded by providing the use of their parish hall for the Red Cross headquarters and by giving succor and support to those disaster victims; and

WHEREAS, on October 17 and 18, 1998, Grace Episcopal Church will observe a weekend of special celebration of its 150 years of service to the people of the County of Madison and the State of Mississippi:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That Grace Episcopal Church, Canton, Mississippi, be recognized and congratulated for these 150 years of service and contribution to her community, to the State of Mississippi, the United States of America, the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and the Protestant Episcopal Church.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be presented to the Rt. Rev. A.C. Marble, Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Mississippi, the Rev. Calvin Judson Meaders, Rector of Grace Church, and to the vestry and congregation of Grace Church, and that copies be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.