Join us Thanksgiving morning as we worship together and give thanks for all of our many blessings. (nursery available)
Thanksgiving Day also marks our "birthday" at GSL. Grace and St. Luke’s Churches joined for our first combined service on Thanksgiving Day, 1940.
Taken from Grace-St. Luke's, the First Fifty Years by Barbara Viser
Thanksgiving Day, 1940
"Costly stained glass memorials, hammered brass and hand-carved oak, steeped in traditions dear to members of both parishes, have been blended into a perfect whole. A dual Thanksgiving Day service will be held, communicants celebrating the national holiday with other Tennesseans and offering their thanks for the opportunity for a combined service to the community," was the way Religion columnist Mattye Willroy described the preparations for the first combined celebration of communion to readers of the Commercial Appeal on November 24, 1940.
On Thanksgiving morning, the neighborhood streets were filled with traffic as hundreds of people made their way to Grace-St. Luke's for the historic service. Cards of admission had been sent to all communicants of Grace and St. Luke's parishes to assure them of a seat at the 10:00 AM service. (see photo above, right) At ten minutes to the hour, however, the cards were of no value, and the general public was admitted. Both Mr. Gehri (Grace) and Dr. Hale (St. Luke's) officiated at the service which signified the union of two separate entities into one. Dr. Hale read the lesson and welcomed the members of Grace Parish on behalf of St. Luke's, emphasizing that one parish was being formed from two in the spirit of adventure. Mr. Gehri told the assembly, "This is a significant Thanksgiving for us - history is being made here this morning as far as the life of the Episcopal Church in this city and even in the state."
The new Grace-St. Luke's parish was to serve about 1,400 communicants, and would ultimately grow into the largest church in the Diocese of Tennessee and serve as a bellwether parish for changes in the church in Memphis, in the State of Tennessee, and in the nation.
The physical work had been done, the moving van had departed, the painters and paperhangers had packed up their tools and left, and the first great service was over. The real work now lay ahead, that of unifying a diverse and divided congregation into a powerful whole to do God's work.