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Grace History

On Wednesday, September 22, 2004, three families from the Clarks Summit area met together with Pastor Colin Smith and his wife Anita for a home Bible study. As the Wednesday evening studies continued, others joined and our hearts were knit together in Christ. By December, it was obvious to the group that the Lord was leading us to form a church. The name "Grace Baptist Church" was chosen to reflect both our form of government and the direction we were taking theologically. Steps were begun to incorporate and to find a permanent location. Officers were chosen and Colin Smith agreed to continue as our pastor. Jason Berrus was asked to be our associate pastor and David Harris our worship leader. We began to write our doctrinal statement, Articles of Faith, and church constitution. Deacons were elected.

On a very snowy Sunday (January 23, 2005), we held our first Sunday worship service in the Atrium West room of the Inn at Nichols Village. Twenty-six people were in attendance with two children in our nursery as well. We met at this location on Sundays and in members' homes on Wednesdays. When we outgrew the Inn at Nichols Village, we moved across the street to the Ramada Plaza Hotel. Our first service at that location was July 3, 2005. We were now able to have both Sunday and Wednesday services at the same site. A nursing home ministry was begun, as well as a children's ministry. As our congregation grew, we continued to look for a location that promised both space and the opportunity to minister to a community. On June 4, 2006, we joyfully began meeting at the Newton Recreation Center and have been doing so up until the summer of 2008. It was during this time that Ben Rust came on board as our Associate Pastor to replace Jason Berrus.

During the next two years, our church continued to solidify and strengthen in the Lord as we established our presence in the Newton-Ransom area. We went on monthly outreaches to the community, were greatly encouraged by the marriage of many of our new couples and the birth of their children, and began discipleship groups to train our men in godliness. In early 2008, Pastor Colin revealed that the Lord was leading him out of the pastorate to take up a full-time position at Piedmont Bible College in North Carolina. We accordingly asked Ben Rust to become our Interim Senior Pastor, and he graciously accepted our call. Not long afterwards, we were pleasantly surprised by a desire from Fleetville Baptist Church to join up with us, and we began the process of uniting the two bodies together. At a get-to-know-each other fellowship on June 22, 2008, it was obvious to both bodies that this was the next step in the lives of both churches.

That Day as we both mourned the lose and celebrated the home going of our founding pastor and friend Colin Smith; we also began a new and exciting time in our churches history. As the two churches joined together under Grace Baptist Church, it was with a renewed passion and excitement for what God could and would do through our local church. As we continue to write the pages of our churches history, we at Grace pray that it is consistently done with one theme; Christ centered, Gospel focused. It is through this theme that God will use us in both the community and the world.

In August, 2008, members of the Fleetville Baptist Church voted to merge their church body in with ours. It was then decided that we would relocate to the Fleetville location which provided us with a more permanent and stable place to gather and worship. Throughout the next year the church continued to grow and we realized we were going to need more space very soon.

The Lord quickly answered our prayers and the Parker Hill Community Church facility in Glenburn became available for purchase in November, 2008. At first the price was far beyond what we thought we could afford and it was dismissed as a possibility. We began to explore other options such as building on to the Fleetville location, but discovered that it was prohibitively expensive. However, by the spring of 2009 the price on the Glenburn facility had dropped to the point where it became feasible for us to again consider buying. Through the generous giving of the church, we moved forward in faith and voted unanimously to purchase the building. With great wonder, rejoicing, and thanksgiving we held our first service in this new facility on Sunday, December 20, 2010.