Grace African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, located at 67 1/2 Winters Lane had its beginning in an old school house on the corner of Winters Lane and Edmondson Avenue, Catonsville, Maryland in 1868. It was known as St. John AME Church. Prior to 1868, black residents of Catonsville would travel to Mount Gilboa AME Church in Oella to worship.
There is conflicting evidence about when and how the old building was constructed It is believed that the black community was helped by Ibertus Van Bokkelen (Rector of St.Timothy). After 11 years, property on a beautiful knoll high on Winters Lane was purchased. A wooden frame building was moved from Fulton Avenue, in Baltimore to the current location in Catonsville.
The pastor and congregation changed the church’s name to Grace AME Church. The seating capacity was for 150 people. In 1912, the church was destroyed by fire. A larger edifice was built during 1916 to 1918. The church’s pipe organ was later installed in 1928. Many other improvements were made over the years. Today our congregation is growing. There are four buildings. One was used in the past as a residence for our many pastors and is now our Literacy Outreach Center. Another of our structures has been placed on the historic register as a commemoration of the lives of the late Rev. Ida Torsell, and her husband, Samuel Torsell. The third building serves as a Mission Outreach and Multipurpose facility, and the fourth building is being developed into a Youth Outreach Center.
As is the custom of the AME church, pastors are transferred from one church to another. Grace AME Church has been blessed with 30 pastors. Rev. Howard C. Wright, our present pastor, was appointed in April 2000 after the retirement of Rev. John W. Duckette. Prayerfully, the church will continue to thrive as a spiritual inspiration to our members and the community.