The church is a place for Christ-followers to come together and experience the Lord’s presence, a privilege that Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, Calif. has enjoyed for 75 years. In order to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary, the staff and congregation held a fun-filled church event on Sunday, March 24, 2019.
With about 268 people in attendance, the celebration began with a time of worship in the sanctuary. Then, the associate pastor, Tim Culling, led a trivia game about Grace Seal Beach’s history and handed out some prizes for those that have attended Grace for the shortest amount of time, who drove the farthest to be there, and who was most excited. Verbal honor was given to the Willet family who had begun attending Grace Community Church in 1945. Three of the Willets were in attendance, coming in from Oregon and Indiana.
A prayer of invocation was given by Pastor Don Shoemaker, the former senior pastor. (He led Grace Community Church for 28 years and is still a member.) A slideshow reviewed past scenes, scripture readings by former pastor Steve Williams (who pastored Grace Community Church for five years and is still a member), a time of small group prayer, and a short sermon from the senior pastor, Bob Wriedt.
Afterward the congregation was invited to continue the celebration with a meal together, fellowship and a walk through a Grace Museum that was created specifically for the event.
Clearly, the Lord provided Grace Seal Beach with many reasons to celebrate on its 75th anniversary. One such extra blessings for both the staff and congregation alike was the “mortgage burning” that took place at the anniversary event. Two years ago, Grace Seal Beach took out a loan in order to complete building renovations. This project consisted of improving the aesthetics of the exterior of the buildings, installing a new roof, planting appealing landscape, and other various projects. The remaining amount on this loan titled “Wave 3” was $52,650.
One month before the 75th-anniversary celebration, the pastors of Grace Seal Beach challenged the congregation to give enough so that the loan would be paid off by the church’s 75th anniversary. The congregation embraced the challenge and enthusiastically meet this goal. The mortgage burning was a way to show the congregation the effects of their generosity. It was meant to show the congregation that Grace Community Church no longer has this burden and now can move forward completely debt free.
With God providing so much for Grace Seal Beach over the last 75 years, the staff and congregation hope that the church will experience 75 plus more years.
[Connect:] Send the staff of Grace Community Church a note of encouragement as they continue serving their community for years to come!
by Lindsay Schuster. (Lindsay Schuster graduated from Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., on May 8. From Brownsville, Tex., she majored in English with minors in marketing and creative writing.)