Charles M. “Sweet Daddy” Grace (ca. 1882-1960) incorporated the United House of Prayer for All People, Church on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith, in 1927 with national headquarters in Washington at 1117 Seventh Street, NW. Grace, originally from the Cape Verde Islands, was one of several Washington religious leaders, including Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, offering worshipers an alternative to traditional Christianity. He built his first chapel in 1926 in West Wareham, Massachusetts, and came to Washington in 1929.
Grace was a charismatic leader who amassed a great fortune. He was known for his flamboyant personal style, evidenced by his green and purple coats and long fingernails painted red, white, and blue, which also matched the trim on his house. (To the faithful, the fingernails were proof of his prophetic nature as the Bible speaks of a prophet with horns growing out of his hands.) He became famous for staging huge revivals, faith healings, and mass baptisms. With his large constituency, he and his successors became important players on the city's political stage.
Grace created a legacy that has greatly assisted the church's poor and working-class members, including day care centers, food banks, senior citizen centers, and well-maintained, inexpensive housing.
Courtland Milloy, “City Politicians Wait for Bishop's Word,” Washington Post, Sept. 5, 1978.
Lisa Rauschart, “Houses of Prayer United in Purpose,” Washington Post, April 5, 1996.
Molly Rath, “A House Divided,” City Paper, June 9, 1995.
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