Gettysburg congregation celebrates 50 years

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Weekend activities at Grace Bible Church recall God’s grace

By Myra Holmes

Grace Bible Church, Gettysburg, SD, celebrated 50 years Oct. 11-12 with a weekend of activities focused on “50 Years of Grace: Look What God Has Done.” 

The celebration began with an evening meal on Saturday, featuring music by the church’s worship band and The Black Hills Quartet, a gospel group based in South Dakota. An estimated 160 people attended.

About 200 attended the Sunday morning service, including seven of the eight pastors who have served the congregation. Those former pastors were given time to share; current pastor Scott Crooks also spoke.

The Gettysburg community and all former church members were invited. A catered meal was served following the service.

“All were blessed as we reflected on God’s faithfulness and outpouring of grace over the past 50 years,” says anniversary committee chair Ginger Storer.  

 

A history of grace

According to a historical account that accompanies an anniversary-edition church directory, Grace Bible began with Sunday school meetings in a country school. These meetings later became weekly Bible studies held in a home and led by Robert Radtke, then-pastor of Emmanuel MB Church, Onida, SD. The group called their first pastor, Palmer Hohm, in 1964.

On April 16, 1965, 14 people signed the charter, and Grace Bible Mennonite Church became an official church. Nine people were baptized that summer. By fall, average attendance was in the 50s, and the group rented an old church building in town.

Two years later, the congregation broke ground on a new church building and was accepted into the Central District Conference (CDC).

The support of Emmanuel MB Church in Onida was instrumental in Grace Bible’s early years. Not only did Radtke lead early Bible studies and serve as interim pastor in 2012, but the Onida congregation gave generously toward that first church building, helped in the building’s construction and contributed in various leadership roles.

Over the years, Grace Bible reached into their community through Bible studies, Neighborhood Bible Time, AWANA and special events. As the congregation grew, so did the church building, with the addition of a parsonage, a free-standing building for youth and classrooms, a sanctuary and fellowship center and an extension.

The church has been pastored by Palmer Hohm, Wilfred Fadenrecht, Charles Harder, Bob Wheatly, Jim Weems, Carey Gossen, Dick Nickel, Ken Cartlidge and Scott Crooks. (Pastors and spouses pictured right.)

“Over the years Grace Bible Church has walked through some valleys and has seen its share of mountain top experiences,” says the historical account. “Through it all, God has been faithful, and the church has been blessed.

“As he leads us into the future, we pray he will continue to use us for his glory.”

Photos provided by Grace Bible Church, Gettysburg, SD.

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