Grace Presbyterian Church, 222 East Broadway, Winona, will hold a special worship service at 9:30 am on Sunday August 19 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the formation of the church
Grace Presbyterian church is the result of a merger between First and Bethel Presbyterian churches. First Presbyterian met at a church building on the corner of 5th and Main, now a parking lot. Bethel Presbyterianís building was on the corner of 5th and Franklin, now the Winona Art Center. The merger became official on July 27, 1952 with 101 charter members.
On September 20, 1953 the Rev. Layton Jackson was installed as the first pastor. Property at Broadway and Franklin streets was purchased from the J. R. Watkins estate. Construction began on the first unit of the church in October 1955. The first service in the new building was held on the last Sunday in August 1956. Grace church had been worshipping in the former Bethel church. Additional space was added to the original building - Sunday School class rooms, separate offices for the church secretary and pastor, handicap accessible rest rooms and enlarged fellowship hall, kitchen and basement in early 1994. Other updates have been made more recently.
The current manse, just west of the church, was dedicated on January 9, 1966 and the former manse on west Broadway was sold.
Grace church began as a mission church with loans they were able to pay off in the early 1970s. Since then they have been a self supporting church that contributes to many mission programs and local community agencies. Youth and adults have participated in several mission trips and members have taken part in working with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program in times of disaster relief. Members have also been active in local community service and church related programs.
Grace Presbyterian remains a small but vital church with active membership that gives strong leadership to the church and community.
Several pastors have served the church: The Reverends Layton Jackson, William King, Jerry Benjamin, Lynn Davis, C. Richard Mills, Scott Jansen, Hugh Drennan and James Scaife. Interim pastors have been: the Reverends Robert Axtel, Gordon Aldridge, James Beardsley, Glen Bickford and Susan Li. Doug Rosendahl served as Commissioned Lay Pastor.
The Rev. Pamela Gnagy is the current pastor of the church and the membership looks forward to many more years of service to Christ both locally, nationally and worldwide.