Groundbreaking ceremony at Grace Church



On Tuesday, July 19, Grace Church held a groundbreaking ceremony for the installation of new outdoor seating, as well as the upgrade of their playground area, both of which are being built and landscaped by Vineyard Gardens. Everyone in attendance gathered to listen to the words of the Rev. Stephen Harding in the back of the parish buildings and church. “I called it a groundbreaking, but what it is is a blessing of this space,” Harding said. 

Harding said a blessing over the area, and broke ground with Jeffrey Spear. The inspiration and funding for the project comes from the Spear family, in honor and memory of Gail Spear — a former community leader, French teacher, advocate for church and community integration, and member of Grace Church. Jeffrey Spear shared that Gail Spear would have wanted the space to be more than a place where people gather for church on Sunday, so that the church could be a symbol of the community. 

Situated at the south end of the playground, the outdoor seating installation is going to be used for meditation, worship, community theater, music, concerts, weddings, and other community events. “The idea is that the seating is four tiers of seats that will be built into the rise. There will be bluestone seating mortared on top of the stones, with supports behind it,” Harding said. The semicircle stone seating will be built in the shape of a small amphitheater, with a stage for these community events and an altar for services, situated down in front. “We are planning on putting a devotional object there, something for people to contemplate as they pray and sit outside.”

The other side of the space will house a playground that is being upgraded for kids’ imaginative outdoor play. The playground will include a tire swing, a climbing dome, a sand pit, a water station, and a place for art. An embankment slide is being built in as well, so the kids can safely climb up and down. “It is a place for arts, children, church, and community to grow and flourish,” Harding explained, emphasizing that this area is meant for outdoor enjoyment to help Grace Church be even more a part of the wider Island community. 


  1. My three daughters claim Jeff as an uncle, and we are all delighted to see this. He and his late wife have always been giving and loving…wonderful examples for everyone-young and old. One small step-if we could all take one small step to support moving forward and passing the love and compassion around during these trying times, what a wonderful world it would be!

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