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The church had its beginning in May of 1969 when the Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle sent Harry (Mike) Hocker to establish a church in Shippensburg.  Hocker, a recent graduate of Reformed Episcopal Seminary, began with a Bible study in the family living room.

 

This timing proved to be a kind providence as a number of families from both Shippensburg and Chambersburg were at that time being awakened to the doctrines of God's sovereign grace and were looking for a church where they would hear those doctrines proclaimed.  This core group was joined by students from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University).  Rented meeting space was found in a sheltered workshop on South Washington Street, and the church,  known as Grace Baptist Church of Shippensburg, was administered by a steering committee under the faithful oversight of the elders of the Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle.

 

Pastor Hocker was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Carlisle church in April of 1970.  In April of 1971 the group relocated to Chambersburg where they purchased a large three story house on the corner of Fourth and East Catherine Streets.  At that time the name of the church was changed to The Westminster Baptist Chapel in an effort to attract the attention of Presbyterian believers in the community.

 

During the summer of 1976 a constitution and by-laws were drafted that reflected adherence to the 1689-confession.  On July 21st of 1976 the church became fully independent with thirty one members and duly elected elders and deacons. 

 

Early in 1981 Pastor Hocker stepped down and returned to secular employment.  On August 1,  1981 Robert O. Carr, a native of New Brunswick, Canada and a recent graduate of Trinity Ministerial Academy in New Jersey, was called to pastor the church.  He, along with his new bride Joy, moved to Chambersburg where he settled into a fruitful ministry that would extend for more than twenty-five years.

    

Over the years, the Lord also added other faithful men to the leadership of the church, including Ken Shannon, one of the early converts from the Shippensburg days, who became an elder in 1980 and remains an elder to this day, as well as Ron Jones and Barry Knerr.

 

The group outgrew the East Catherine Street building in the early 1980's, and in 1984 purchased the land that it now occupies on the north side of Chambersburg. In the kind mercy of God the present building was constructed, debt free, in 1986.  With the move came another name change, and the church became known as the Grace Baptist Church of Chambersburg.

 

Missions-minded from the very beginning, the church has enthusiastically supported the work of missionaries in various parts of the world.  A burden for believers in the former Soviet republics in the early 1980's eventually led to a visit by Pastor Carr to Russia in 1993 and the beginnings of a ministry of translating, publishing and distributing books that continues to this day (learn more about OUR RUSSIAN LITERATURE MINISTRY). Also late in 1989, the church sent Pastor Carr to supply furlough relief in the Philippines for six months.  Through the years, a variety of short-term mission projects have been encouraged and pursued. 

 

Members of the church have been active both in the establishment and operation of several local ministries.  These include Pregnancy Ministries Inc., the Biblical Education Center Inc., and Bible Release Time. 

 

Health issues made it necessary for Pastor Carr to retire from the ministry in August of 2006.  In October of 2006, Craig L. Harris, a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and former Associate Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, was called to pastor the church.  The Lord has been very gracious through-out that transition. 

 

Our congregation eagerly looks toward the future, praying for and anticipating the Lord's ongoing direction and blessing, as we seek to be a means in His hand of making the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel known both here in our own community and to the uttermost parts of the earth. 


On March 14th, 2010 we celebrated the expansion of our new church building.
    Here are pictures from that joyful occasion:
  THANKSGIVING SERVICE & LUNCHEON  

If you haven't visited our church lately you might like to see some pictures of
    our new addition in stages as it was being built.  Go to
BUILDING PROJECT.  


 
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