Grace Episcopal Church dates from 1702, when the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts sent over Rev. Patrick Gordon, with the title of "rector of Queens county" and an allowance of £50 per annum. In passing through New York he caught a violent fever then prevalent there, and, going on to Jamaica with intent to preach in his parish, was taken sick the day before he designed to preach, and so continued till his death, about eight days after. Lord Cornbury appointed to succeed Mr. Gordon Rev. James Honeyman, who writes (April 15th 1704) that "we have a church (the meeting-house) but neither Bible nor prayer book, no cloths for pulpit or altar." The society sent over a silver paten and chalice, inscribed, "The gift of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1704." This chalice is still in use.
After worshiping five or six years in the county courthouse the people began to exert themselves toward building a new church, and solicited, help from abroad. On Friday April 5th 1734 the new church was opened, with the name of Grace Church, and divine service performed there for the first time. About this time, the church's cemetery was established. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Grace Church served as the official church of the British colonial government.
The old church had been often repaired, but kept getting out of order, so that on receipt of a gift of $1,000 from Trinity Church, and $1,000 by home subscription, the plan of a new church was adopted September 7th 1820; $750 was borrowed. This church was consecrated July 15th 1822. Rufus King gave $500 and a stove, and he with Timothy Nostrand and L.E.A. Eigenbrodt assisted the carpenters in planning the edifice. The taste for church music was at a low ebb. Music books were few and not much studied, the singing being by rote rather than by note. Music such as it was vocal. In 1827 a flute was introduced, and then a bassoon. Not till 1835 was an organ introduced, a gift of the ladies of the missionary society. In 1860 the church was repaired, improved and beautified at a cost of $3,200, stained glass windows being put in at a cost of $300, mostly given by the ladies through Miss Anne Van Wyck; but on New Year’s morning of 1861 this comely edifice was burned to the ground by a fire originating in the flues of the furnace. The organ, two tablets containing the Lord’s Prayer, creed and ten commandments, a communion table of English oak and graceful pattern, a bell weighing over 400 lbs cast in 1748, two old locust trees and some tombstones were included in the ruin.
On May 21, 1861 the vestry contracted with Dudley Fields to design the third and present church, an Early English Gothic-inspired edifice with a tall spire. The church has an exterior of rough-cut Jersey blue stone, measures 43 by 90 feet, and it was built by at a cost of $14,900. The cornerstone was laid by Bishop Potter on July 6, 1861, and the building was consecrated on January 8, 1863. A chancel was designed by Cady, Berg & See and added in 1901-02.
The greatest benefactors of the church have been the King family. Rufus King procured much help to the church from "Old Trinity." His son, Governor John A. King, besides bountiful contributions in money gave land for enlarging the church yard at different times. In 1847 he gave a baptismal font of Italian marble. In 1862 an organ was given the church in the name of John A. King and Mary, his wife. Mrs. James G. King gave a large Oxford Bible and four large prayer books. Mrs. James G. King sen. gave a beautiful stone font. The bishop’s chair and books for the reading desk were gift of the King family. On January 15th 1867 Mrs. Charles King had three tablets for the creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the ten commandments set up in the rear of the chancel. On the death of John A. King it appeared that he had left $1,000 to the church to keep the burying ground in good order, and his executors gave the church more land for a cemetery at a nominal price.
In 1967, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioned designated Grace Episcopal Church and Graveyard as an historic site.