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Our History

Grace Baptist Church has developed a rich heritage starting in the Florence area and extending around the world.

Magnolia Heights Baptist Church (prior to 1942) 2 The year was 1915. In a small residential neighborhood in north Florence, a group of people gathered every Sunday afternoon for bible study, fellowship, and prayer. During those early and difficult years of the twentieth century in America, a vision was cast to establish a strong Baptist church in an emerging community created by the growth of the railroad industry in Florence, South Carolina.

Mr. E. C. Page, a member of the First Baptist Church of Florence, went every Sunday to the Magnolia Heights community in north Florence to conduct a mission Sunday School. In addition, a special prayer meeting was held once a week. First Baptist Church with assistance from Immanuel Baptist Church worked to fulfill the vision of organizing a strong Baptist church. Soon the need for a building became evident to those seeking to fulfill the vision. Mr. Charles E. Commander donated a corner piece of property for the purpose of a church building.  In 1917, a small building (25’ x 35’) was erected to provide a place for the mission work at a cost of less than $700.00. The mission Sunday School and weekly prayer meeting created the foundation that led to regular times of worship. On January 12, 1919, Rev. M. C. Walton was called as pastor to preach two Sundays a month. Five months later, June 1, 1919, Magnolia Heights Baptist Church was organized.

The years between 1922 and 1933 were difficult years for Magnolia Heights Baptist Church. Because of the economic fallout of the Depression, the church could no longer maintain the building and property. However, First Baptist Church remained faithful to the church they had envisioned.

First Baptist Church assumed the work of the church by providing both Sunday morning and Sunday evening worship services on a weekly basis at Magnolia Heights. Mr. E. C. Page once again provided leadership in helping the Sunday School at Magnolia Heights during these difficult years.

By March 1933, Magnolia Heights Baptist Church reorganized with the blessings of First Baptist Church. Thirty-two members of First Baptist joined the reorganized Magnolia Heights. In addition, First Baptist deeded all property back to Magnolia Heights.

Grace Baptist Church - Magnolia St. (19xx) 2 With a desire to fulfill the founding vision of being a strong church, several features of Magnolia Heights have changed since 1933.  The first major change came in 1949. The church changed her name from Magnolia Heights Baptist Church to Grace Baptist Church. A second major change came as a result of the decreasing influence of the railroad system and the changing face of Florence. In 1973, Grace Baptist Church opened her doors in a new location in west Florence.

In 1993, Grace Baptist Church captured the mission of the church with these words: We’re making disciples who love the Lord, love one another, and love the lost. An understanding of this mission statement provides a basis of all that is done through the ministry of Grace Baptist.

Around the turn of the 21st Century, God began leading Grace Baptist Church to be intentionally missional. In 2005, Grace adopted the Mandinka people, an unreached people group primarily in Senegal,  West Africa. As a partnering church with the International Mission Board, Grace prays, gives, and goes to support the opportunity for the Mandinka people to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then in 2006, Grace adopted Delmae Heights Elementary School in Florence and began an afterschool Good News Club. The Good News Club provides an evangelistic ministry to students in the public school. In 2009, Grace Baptist Church began following God’s leadership to adopt a mission church in West Virginia and develop a partnership so that the kingdom of God can be expanded. Through the power of prayer, Grace Baptist Church is on a mission to develop people and deploy missionaries. 

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Last Published: July 3, 2019 11:49 AM
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