The Lord has given us a very rich heritage, filled with many trials and blessings. We would love to share with you the story of how we came to be. Below is the story of Grace Baptist Church.
The Yankee Road Years
In January of 1945, a small group of Christians contacted Brother Audley Turner, then pastor of the Westside Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio expressing their desire for starting a church. They desired a church that would believe in teaching and preaching the old-fashioned Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Mission was started in a leased store building on Yankee Road. The Mission was under the direction of Brother Audley Turner and E. Fred Jones. The first service was held on February 3, 1945.
A revival meeting was held in June. At the close of the meeting, on June 9, 1945, the Mission was organized into Grace Baptist Church with 23 Charter Members. On April 29, 1947, Howard Sears accepted the call to pastor the church.
In July of 1948, the Wilbraham and Wilmore lots were purchased. Construction of the first building began on July 27, 1948.
The first building was dedicated on April of 1949. By this date, the Sunday School attendance had reached 260.
In 1950, the Sunday School addition was added to the south side of the auditorium. By 1952, the Sunday School addition, with a full basement and the first Pastor’s study, was complete.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1953, the mortgage on all the property was burned. Soon, plans were made for a large auditorium. The construction began for this auditorium on April 19, 1954. The church was growing, new families were being reached, and many were finding Christ as Savior. Only God knew the future of His church and what He would bless Grace with next.
The Union Road Years
After many years on Wilbraham Road, the church decided to step out by faith and build again. Once again the congregation, under the direction of the pastor and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, stepped out by faith and purchased property located at Interstate 75 and State Route 122 on Union Road. A large red brick building began to emerge on this barren piece of land. Its glistening white steeple would stand as a symbol of worship and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ. The manicured grounds, the free flowing brook, spacious wooded picnic areas and Grace Memorial Gardens would add to the enchantment and splendor of our present facilities.
In July 8, 1973, the church moved from Wilbraham Road to our present facility.
After much prayer and consideration, Middletown Christian Schools was founded as a ministry of Grace Baptist Church. Our Gymnasium, the Howard Sears Fieldhouse, was used for the first time during the 1979 school year. The dedication service was held on Sunday, November 18, 1979.
In 1981, Dr. Howard Sears, who had pastored the Grace Baptist Church for nearly 35 years, resigned as Pastor. In November, 1981, the church called Dr. Ronald L. Schaffer as Pastor. Dr. Schaffer served as Pastor for nearly eight years. He resigned in October of 1989 and entered the work of evangelism. For the next five months, Dr. Howard Sears served as our interim pastor. He then returned to his evangelism work based out of Grace. Dr. Sears is Pastor Emeritus of Grace and is currently teaching the Grace Bible Class.
In March of 1990, Dr. Roger D. Green was overwhelmingly called as pastor of Grace. Believing it to be the will of God, he accepted. Pastor Green moved here from Sandusky, Ohio where he pastored the Sandusky Baptist Temple for ten years.