ANGOLA — Grace Baptist Church, 925 N. C.R. 200W, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Pastor Bob Koenig and his wife, Ruth, have been with the church since July 1987 and are celebrating 30 years. They plan to stay with Grace as long as the Lord allows.
“It has been an exciting 30 years for us,” said Koenig. He said the congregation has “grown up together” through a “fundamental approach to preaching the gospel and music.”
To mark the occasion, special events will be held in conjunction with services in November, starting with a Creation Evidence Expo led by Frederick Boyd on Nov. 5.
Sunday services will be held at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. throughout the month.
On Nov. 12, Missionary Dave Carter, who has been in Japan for more than 30 years, will speak during the morning services.
Nov. 19 will feature Paul and Betty Hiscock of Sermon ‘n’ Song Ministries. Along with praise, the Hiscocks use visualizations to augment familiar gospel hymns.
On Nov. 26, the Rev. Larry Hufhand will preach at all services. Hufhan is pastor emeritus of the First Baptist Church of Tipton, where he has ministered for more than 40 years.
A dinner will be held in the fellowship hall each Sunday in November between the morning and afternoon services.
“If Grace Baptist has had any influence in your life through its ministries, we invite you to join us,” said Pastor Koenig.
The Koenigs headed a private school based at the church, Grace Baptist Academy, until it closed in 2012.
Grace Baptist Academy opened in 1977 with the goal of providing high quality Christian education. There were classes for kindergarten through 12th grade. Financial and enrollment changes precipitated its closing.
The gym with full basketball court is still used by homeschool groups for practice and games. Lake James Christian Assembly uses the court during summer camps.
The church was founded in the early summer of 1967 when Pastor Flick from Calvary Baptist Church in Quincy, Michigan, began offering a Wednesday evening Bible study in Angola. It grew, and on Nov. 5, 1967 in a meeting at City Hall, Grace Baptist was organized.
The Rev. Harlan Larsen was called at the beginning of 1968 to serve as interim pastor then the Rev. Wayne Booker was called as pastor. Booker served for 12 years before moving to another pastorate in Virginia.
In 1983, the Rev. Jerry Davis took the pulpit and served until July 1987 when he retired due to failing health. Koenig was then chosen as pastor.
The Koenigs have three children, Ester, an administrator at Victory Baptist Christian School; John, a businessman; and Dan, a 15-year Christian educator; seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
They met at Bob Jones University in South Carolina 57 years ago. Bob received bachelor’s degrees in administration and divinity. He later earned a master’s degree and a doctorate. He planted a church in Springfield, Illinois, then served 14 years as assistant pastor and school administrator in Anderson.
Grace Baptist is currently looking to expand its congregation. Services concentrate on the King James Bible and classic Christian music, accompanied by piano and congregation members that include Steve Franks on trumpet, Robin Sears and teens Johnathon and Alizabeth Little.
For details about the November events or Grace Baptist, call 665-3192 or 833-1005.