A group of seven enthusiastic Episcopalians met in June 1953 to discuss establishing an Episcopal mission in Boca Raton. At their second meeting later that year, ten attendees reviewed Bishop Louttit’s preliminary steps necessary before submitting a formal application to start a mission. On December 1, 1953, twelve people met with the Bishop and by the next Sunday, The Rev. Earle Closson, a retired priest, held services for ten families in the old Boca Raton Lions’ Club building on Second Avenue. To set up and dismantle a chapel each Sunday morning following a dance the night before took some ingenuity. However, the challenge was conquered through the ecumenical effort of the Boca Raton community.
A Roman Catholic carpenter built and donated the altar, a Bible Conference Church member donated the use of a larger facility when the congregation outgrew the Lions’ Club, and a Jewish friend of a vestryman offered two lots on Boca Raton Road with the understanding they were free only if a building was constructed within two years. In September 1956 services were held in the new church, and by 1960 the mission attained Parish status through the assistance of people of various faiths.
Ten years later, in 1966, after the purchase of adjoining property, the beautiful church in which we worship today was dedicated, and the original church became the parish hall and offices Church membership continued to grow. Two more building phases added the south Columbarium, and then St. Mary’s Chapel and the north Columbarium were built in 1975. By that time the congregation knew it was time to reach out and help others realize God’s love.
Assistance with the establishment of the Chapel of St. Andrew in West Boca became the major outreach project. With our guidance they became an independent congregation four years later. The Rev. George H. Price became our rector in 1981. Outreach continued to be a focus, along with education. In the mid-80’s, St. Mary’s Episcopal congregation in Deerfield Beach became our yoked parish. Our clergy shared the ministerial duties at St. Mary’s, and by 1997 a new church building was dedicated there. One of our clergy, The Rev. Nancy McCarthy, joined them as a part-time priest in 1998 when she retired from St. Gregory’s Meanwhile, St. Gregory’s outreach was making other inroads into the community with work among the migrant farm workers and others. Several programs to feed the hungry were started in addition to our lending support to St. Laurence Chapel which ministers to the homeless in Pompano Beach. Parishioners volunteer their services, and food and clothing are gathered and sent on a regular basis.
On the home front, in addition to a growing church school program, adult education, and ministry to the sick and home-bound, enhancements continued with the development of a Concert Series, another form of community outreach. In 1994 a new Austin pipe organ was installed giving greater focus to music in ministering to our congregation and community as well. The choir grew in number and a junior choir was formed. These programs realized a need for additional facilities, and in October 1998 a new building was dedicated. The Parish Center contains over 16,100 square feet, including six classrooms, administrative offices, music center, library, nursery, a caretaker’s apartment, and Harris Hall. The $2.8 million facility was financed through a three year commitment program.
In 2008 St. Gregory’s purchased a house across the street from the church. That house became our Parish Home/Rectory, where rectors live with their families and host events for the St. Gregory’s congregation. In December 2013, St. Gregory’s celebrated its 60th anniversary, with then-Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrating.