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New Bedford, Massachusetts

Rev. Christopher Morck installed as rector at Grace Episcopal Church in New Bedford

On Oct. 10, the Rev. Christopher R. Morck was instituted as the 22nd rector of Grace Episcopal Church in New Bedford. Bishop Alan M. Gates officiated and William Boyce served as chaplain to the bishop.

The Renewal of Ministry began as the church’s wardens escorted Morck to the front of the assembly, stating that they had chosen and called Morck to be their rector and he had accepted.

Bishop Gates commended their choice and affirmed the call.

In a prepared program Gates said, “We have celebrated this new pastoral relationship in great prayer of the church. Chris, I commend to your care and love the people of Grace Church.

“My brothers and sisters in Christ, I commend to your love and care, your new rector, colleague and friend, Chris.”

In closing, as the church’s new rector, Morck blessed the assembly, “May God who clothes the lilies and birds of the sky, who leads the lambs to pasture and the deer to water, who multiplied loaves and fishes and changed water into wine, lead us, feed us, and change us to reflect the glory of our creator through all eternity, and the blessings of God almighty, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.”

In recalling the ceremony, Morck said, “It was marvelous and joyous. About 300 people attended.

“The highlights and the language of the ceremony were not just about the rector being installed. I am so glad the focus was taken off of me and was about the whole community and about how we are doing this together,” Morck said. He noted that there was symbolic gift-giving between the rector and the ministries of the church.

After ministering in Ecuador, Morck came to New Bedford three years ago with his wife Patricia and their daughters, Claire, now 13, and Isabel, 9.

“My kids definitely consider New Bedford their home along with Quito, Equador,” Morck said. “They feel they have two homes. We went back to visit in April to reconnect and see things.

“They are very glad we are staying here. They are in the public schools and are doing well. My wife works for the school system at the Family Welcome Center where she gets to use her Spanish a lot,” he said.

Morck has served Grace Episcopal Church as priest in charge for three years. “Being installed as rector makes it an open-ended term,” he said.

Through most of the three years, Morck was the sole clergyman at the church. “The only way I could have done it was with the help of the incredible lay leadership. They are tremendous. There are a lot of people who are incredibly involved in the life of the parish,” he said.

In August, the Rev. Andrea Wyatt joined Morck as his assistant. “She came and she hit the ground running,” he said.

With a membership of approximately 500 people, the church is actively involved in the community.

There is an outreach ministry called Laundry Love where homeless and others who need assistance are able to do their laundry for free from 3 to 5 p.m. on the last Monday of every month at Super Laundry on Kempton Street. The church also operates a food pantry.

For the last year, the parish has been undergoing repairs to the ground level of Grace church hall due to water damage from Hurricane Arthur in July 2014.

“The walls are up and painted and we are in the process of buying furniture,” Morck said. “We expect the project to be done by the end of the year.”

At the time of the hurricane, the church bells had recently been repaired. “The bell tower is now being torn down and rebuilt. The steeple will be repointed before the bad weather comes,” he said.

The renovations are a costly endeavor. The church will be holding the second of three fundraisers to assist with the expenses at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Wamsutta Club in New Bedford.

For ticket information, or more information on the church, any of its outreach ministries, or to support the renovation projects, call the office at 508-993-0547.

Located at 133 School St., at County and School streets, services with the Holy Eucharist are celebrated at 5 p.m. Saturday, 8 and 10 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Their website is www.gracechurchnb.org. Sermons are on the homepage. Videos of the sermons are at at http://gracechurchnb.org/church-videos/. The church office number is (508) 993-0547.

Debra Ryan writes about religion for The Standard-Times. Contact her at dryan@s-t.com

This story originally appeared HERE