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Grace celebrates 50 years

Posted: May 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Churchgoers attend Grace Baptist Church’s 50th anniversary service at its worship center in Santa Clarita on May 6.

 

Grace Baptist Church was not always on Copper Hill Drive, and could not always boast of having more than 4,000 members.

The church, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, sprouted from humble beginnings.

In 1962, the church was incorporated after nearly a year of meeting in a home as a 12-person Bible study among friends.

Over the years, the church has changed locations, people and pastors have come through to serve, and many of the programs have evolved.

But church leaders say that through it all, Grace Baptist has remained a place where, “The Bible is honored and taught, and members love others because of Jesus,” said Mike Wilke, Grace’s director of communications.

Technology

The church decided to celebrate the anniversary over the course of eight weeks with a culminating celebration May 6. The church, which typically offers five services Saturday and Sunday, decided to hold only one mega service May 6.

“We haven’t ever had a service where everyone has had to be involved,” Wilke said. “It was a big celebration with a lot of energy.”

Nearly 3,000 people were in attendance for the service, which was conducted in two rooms to accommodate the large crowd. Live broadcast video was used to broadcast the service from one room to the other.

Senior Pastor David Hegg said the organization team was worried about technical difficulties.

Instead, a flawless service was celebrated that day. Hegg broke down the sermon into four parts, conducting two parts in each room moving back and forth from the worship center to the conference center, including both crowds.

“We live in a world of electronics,” Hegg said. “I thought some people might take that for granted and others might be overwhelmed by it. Instead, it was amazing. The overall effect was intimacy and connectedness.”

Hegg described the audiovisual presentation as offering a real sense of the service. The technology allowed the attendees to appreciate the presence of more than 1,000 people in a different room.

Looking to the future

Despite the technology, Wilke emphasized the importance of focusing on the graciousness of God and his faithfulness over the last 50 years.

The message centered around 50 years as not an end for Grace, but a milestone. It was a time of remembrance and looking toward the future.

“We wanted May 6 to be a catalyst for the next push for what God has for us as we move forward,” Wilke said.

Hegg shared the personal impact of the event, calling it exhilarating and humbling. He contemplated the influence Grace had on the city and reiterated the church’s love for Santa Clarita as a great place for it to grow.

“This wasn’t about anything in us (Grace),” Wilke said. “God chose to use us in spite of ourselves. This was him and his glory at work.”

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