50 years of Grace

Grace Life Church celebrates 50th anniversary

Photo by Sabrina Pankratz Crafts were part of the 50th anniversary celebration at Grace Life Church Saturday.

MARSHALL — Many original members from the Church on the Hill later to be named Grace Life Church came back to Marshall Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the church.

Mary McCracken who came back from the Twin Cities was with old friend Dee Luce from Colorado.

“We were a part of the roots back in the summer of 1969,” said McCracken.

“We went to Little Rock, (Arkansas) that summer, and we painted house numbers on curbs, that was our food money,” said Luce.

“We would get up at 5:30, and get to the church by 6 a.m. for worship and Bible study and then we would come back, do a little exercise and get ready and go off to work,” said McCracken.

The original church, Church on the Hill, started in Lynd after Duane and Joyce Klepel donated 21 acres of hilltop land to the congregation in 1969. When the church moved to Marshall it was renamed Grace Life Church. Moving to different locations throughout Marshall over the years, Grace Life Church recently built an addition — a new worship center was added in 2019, which will seat 600 people

“It was quite of journey from a group of college kids that started out kind of being discipled down in Little Rock, Arkansas for three months and come back and plant a church. Grow it from that to where we are today to a sanctuary that seats a little over 600,” said retired pastor Bernard Wing.

“For me, because I was a part of the original group that started here, it gives me a chance to see people I haven’t seen in 30 years, 40 years, that helped start the church,” said Russ Oglesby, a member of Grace Life.

Grace Life had games, crafts, face painting, and a bean bag tournament for the community and church members to participate in for the celebration.

“We wanted a celebration this weekend. We started with a concert last night (Friday). We had around 500 people here last night,” said Wing.

“It is a good opportunity to get together and share and have fun,” said Deb Gratz, a church member of four years.

“It’s kind of a exciting time, and to see the number of people that were a part of that charter group that came back to be with us this weekend. So that’s really fun and exciting to have them see what their early beginnings has grown to become,” said Wing.


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