Phone: 1-864-855-5547

History

Grace Baptist Church
1957 – 2007

Grace Baptist Church“Because some had been saved and there [is] no church in the community,” (1) a small group of believers voted in January 1957 to organize the Grace Baptist Church in Liberty. Charter members, Jess and Ida McAlister, provided an empty house on South McAlister Road for the first meeting place of the new congregation. The Rev. George Kelley was elected as the first Pastor. In the first year deacons were ordained, there were two revivals and a Vacation Bible School.

1 – Recorded by Ida McAlister in the original Church Minutes Book


Grace Baptist ChurchRev. Buddy Smith of Liberty became the second Pastor in 1958.


Grace Baptist ChurchIn 1960, the congregation purchased ten acres on North Old Pendleton Road. Under the leadership of Rev. Smith and the labor of members of the congregation, a sanctuary and seven Sunday School rooms were built.


Grace Baptist ChurchRev. Harold Hanley became Pastor in 1965.


Rev. Bruce Mathis became Pastor in 1967 (no picture available)


Grace Baptist ChurchRev. Buddy Smith returned as Pastor in October 1968. During this tenure of Pastor Smith, the congregation added additional Sunday School rooms and a brick colonial-style parsonage were constructed.


Grace Baptist ChurchRev. Bill Burr was elected Pastor in 1974, and was succeeded by Rev. Coleman Watts in 1976. Under Pastor Watts the members built a fellowship building.


Grace Baptist ChurchIn October 1980 Rev. Clifford Kelley (from Chattanooga, TN) became the seventh Pastor. The twenty-one year ministry of Pastor Kelley was characterized by a strong emphasis on spiritual growth through Bible preaching, lay training, music, and facility improvements. Under “Preacher” Kelley’s leadership, the Church hosted an annual Easter Fellowship (1986 – 1996) which was attended by preachers and members of congregations from all over the southeast. Members of the congregation annually attended the Camp Meeting at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN, a Thanksgiving Service at the Bethel Baptist Church, Ocilla, GA, and the Winter Bible Conference at Bethel Baptist Church, Tullahoma, TN. From 1981 to 1999, the Harvest Time Broadcast aired live over three local stations on Sunday mornings at 9:00 from the sanctuary of the Church.

A strong emphasis was placed on developing musical talent resulting in special groups and orchestral music. In addition to the Sunday School program, the Foothills Institute of Biblical Studies was developed in 1995 for the purpose of training lay members. In 1985, the present sanctuary and educational building was completed. In 1988 the Fellowship Building was enlarged and remodeled and in 1993, it was named the Jimmie D. Nalley Fellowship Building, in memory of long-time deacon, the late Jimmie D. Nalley.

Grace Baptist Church
Grace Baptist Church

Grace Baptist ChurchIn November 2001, Preacher Kelley passed away unexpectedly at his home. In March, 2002, the Rev. Jeffrey Kelley was elected to succeed his father. Under the new Pastor Kelley, the church continues with traditional services and music, as well as new ministries that include the Pathfinders Youth Ministry, Bible distribution projects, and the Church website, www.gleaningsofgrace.org. Recently Grace Baptist Church hosted the International Fellowship of Fundamental Baptists 2006 Annual Meeting which was attended by people from fifteen states, including Alaska.

January 27, 2007 marked the 50th Anniversary of this congregation.