HISTORY OF GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The first services of Grace Gospel Center were held in the Recorder’s Court Room at the Rome City Auditorium.
The first Business Meeting was held on January 26, 1945. At this meeting, Rev. Hill presided and the election of officers was completed. On February 8th, 1945, the date was set for receiving charter members with 47 present at this meeting. Since the present place of meeting would soon have to be vacated, a committee was appointed to locate another meeting place. On March 11, 1945, the announcement was made that Mr. A. S. Hufstetler had purchased a building at 127 South Broad Street, that would be suitable and that he would be willing to rent it to Grace Gospel Center. There was a unanimous vote to accept Mr. Hufstetler’s offer and to rent the building from him as a meeting place.
On June 20, 1945, with Rev. F. W. Hough presiding, By-Laws, which were drawn up by the Executive Board, were read by the pastor and accepted by unanimous vote.
On February 1st, 1946, the pastor read a proposal by the Executive Board to change the name of the church because of some confusion as to the term “Gospel Center”. “Therefore, because we want to be recognized in Rome as a fully organized, independent, Fundamental Bible Church, the Executive Board wishes to recommend that the name be changed to “Grace Bible Church”. The church voted to accept this recommendation by a large majority. The church Constitution was read by the church clerk on October 4, 1946. It was announced that the Church State Charter had been applied for.
At the Business Meeting on April 16th, 1947, a resolution was passed to purchase the building at 127 South Broad Street. At the September Business Meeting, 1947, Mr. Ralph Clough read a letter of resignation from Rev. F. W. Hough.
On January 11th, 1948, Rev. Nathan B. Penland was asked to preach for the next few weeks, subject to being called as pastor. Rev. Penland was elected unanimously at a business meeting held on February 15th, 1948 as pastor of Grace Bible Church. During his pastorate, the building was remodeled and enlarged. There was much work done with the youth and many were born again. The membership of the church grew rapidly. Rev. Penland resigned in November 1955.
Rev. Howard F. Burns came as pastor on January 25th, 1956, and remained until July 9, 1958. The parsonage at 103 Cherokee Street was purchased in 1955.
Rev. Donald Lumpkin was pastor from October 1958 to December 1959; Rev. John Ryal was pastor from June 26, 1960, until July 1961; Rev. Clifford Blevins was pastor from January 28, 1962, until February 1963. (Minutes of Church Business Meetings from March 7th, 1950 until May 14th, 1969 were not available for verification of names and dates. Information about pastors was gathered from notes in personal Bibles and from memory.)
On May 14th, 1969, the church voted to relocate. Mr. L. W. Evans presented an offer from another church group to purchase the building from Grace Bible Church. The selling price was $21,000.00. Of this, $14,000.00 was to come from a bank loan. The group would pay $3000.00 down in cash and we would hold the note for the balance of $14,000.00 at 8% interest. The church voted to accept this offer.
However, it was learned that the bank would not lend the group $14,000.00. The group had $3000.00 deposited in the bank and $4000.00 was available from their church headquarters. Either we were to accept a note for the balance of $4000.00 to be paid in monthly installments or forget the offer. After much discussion, it was voted to allow them two more weeks to raise more cash.
In 1970, an ideal location for the church was sought. It was found that the Glenwood Community did not have a church in the immediate area. There were 4 1/2 acres on the East side of the Old Dalton Road owned by the Berry Schools that might be purchased since the road separated it from the other school property. The Berry Schools were contacted and they agreed to sell the property to the church for $4500.00. Church services were held in the Glenwood School and later in the Glenwood Courthouse building.
A set of plans for a church building were purchased. It was decided to build just the basement at the present time. A detailed plan of the basement was drawn up and submitted to Hasco & Associates (H.B. Hansard) and their bid of $20,211.00 for a 36′ x 80′ building with the 32′ x 36′ ell was accepted.
Rev. John Andrews resigned as pastor on April 16th, 1972. Rev. Andrews is remembered for his work with Christian Service Brigade, Stockade Boys, and Pioneer Girls. These groups were instrumental in reaching many boys and girls for Christ.
Various men spoke at the church, with Rev. Charles Hufstetler as the interim pastor until the next elected pastor.
On August 26, 1973, a call was extended to Rev. Ray Bailey as pastor. The church purchased a house on Jones Bend Road as a parsonage. In addition to his pastoral duties, Rev. Bailey led the church in the completion of the basement part of the building.
The decision to sell the parsonage on Jones Bend Road was approved on June 6th, 1979. The reason for this decision was that the pastor needed a larger quarter for his family. Rev. Bailey announced his resignation as pastor on the first Sunday in July 1980, with the effective date as July 27th, 1980.
The next year saw various speakers filling the pulpit. Much prayer in finding God’s man for the church was made. During the summer of 1981, letters were written to people that might recommend someone available who might consider Grace Bible Church. The Moody Bible Institute forwarded our request to Dr. Marvin Turner. he contacted us and agreed to speak to us in September. On October 18th, 1981, the church voted unanimously to extend a call to Dr. Marvin Turner to be a pastor. A mobile home was then purchased and placed beside the parking lot, just south of the church building.
In 1982, the problem of a leaking roof over the basement rooms and the cost of replacing it prompted the church to begin plans for the upper structure. Under Dr. Turner’s leadership, the main sanctuary was completed.
January 2009 – The mobile home was demolished after it was damaged by a large pine tree. Hail damage was also discovered on the church building. A new roof and new exterior paint were completed in 2009.
You can view our photo archive of the church construction by visiting us on Facebook.
These archived items were donated by Joyce Hufstetler, in April 2015
Bible Cross from 127 South Broad, Rome, GA
Grace Gospel Center Charter Members
February 8, 1945
|Mr. and Mrs. D. S. Carlson||Mrs. J. Frank Jacks|
|Mr. Glenn Carlson||Mrs. Dolores Jacks|
|Mrs. L. L. Crowe||Mrs. Ethel Knowles|
|Mr. C. E. Burchfield||Mr. and Mrs. John M. Kay|
|Mrs. J. H. Burchfield||Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Love|
|Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Gay||Mrs. Eugene McClung|
|Mr. Barry Gay||Mr. Frank Nash|
|Miss Eunice Gay||Mrs. C. P. Osborn|
|Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Gresham||Mrs. Buelah Potts|
|Mr. J. B. Gresham||Mr. J. C. Potts|
|Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Hufstetler||Miss Sue Peoples|
|Mr. Charles Hufstetler||Miss Ann Peoples|
|Mrs. T.O. House||Rev. Ted Mercer|
|Miss Myrtle House||Mr. and Mrs. J Earl Toles|
|Mrs. Pearl Harris||Miss Virginia Toles|
|Mrs. Theresa Johnson||Mrs. Dean Walker|
|Mrs. A.R. Jones||Rev. and Mrs. H. E. Wright|
|Mr. Don E. Johnson||Mrs. Roy White|
|Mrs. J.H. Kelly||Mrs. Francis Wright|