Almost from the beginning of the Moravian Church in North Carolina, Mount Airy — the Hollow, as it was called in the 1700’s — has figured in our history. Moravians made visits there, and it became a stopover point especially after mission work was begun farther up the road in the Virginia mountains in the 1830’s. Some Moravians moved there, a few from Salem but in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s from the mountain churches of Mount Bethel and Willow Hill.
The need for a Moravian church was there. Now the Province moved to fill the need.
On September 25, 1921, Douglas L. Rights preached in the Junior Order Hall, and reported, “The Mt. Airy people are asking for more.” In response, the Provincial Elders Conference instructed C. D. Crouch to begin meetings there “with the view to organization of a congregation there.” A “Provincial deputation” of Bishop Edward Rondthaler and James E. Hall scouted the town in July 1923, and in 1924 land was given for the building of a church.
So far, the name of the new congregation was Mount Airy even after Bishop Edward Rondthaler organized it on March 15, 1925. But that June the Provincial Elders Conference suggested the name “Grace.” That September 13 Bishop Rondthaler laid the cornerstone for Grace’s church, and preached from Ephesians 2:8: “By grace are ye saved.”
Relying on the local material — granite — the Grace congregation built the most rock-solid church in the Province. Over the years as the congregation grew so did the church. A new Sunday school building was built in 1955, and again in 1967 a second Christian education wing with fellowship hall was added — all in granite. For the congregation’s 50th anniversary in 1975 each member received a small slab of granite from Mount Airy’s quarry.
Throughout its existence Grace Moravian Church has been an influence of warmth and fellowship in the Mount Airy community just as the granite church has been an impressive sight on Main Street since its construction in 1926.