Early Days – 1942
Grace Baptist Church in Mid City Baton Rouge began on Sunday, April 12, 1942, with 49 charter members. The first newsletter of the church, published April 19, 1942, provides a brief statement of the church’s beginning, “Certain Baptists,” its begins, “seeing the need for and the possibilities of a missionary Baptist Church in the suburbs east of Baton Rouge, felt definitely led to attempt the organization of such a church.” The Church began with Rev. C.W. Fogleman as pastor, with services held in the Bernard Terrace School auditorium.
The young church was anxious to have its own meeting place. Property was secured on Richland Avenue and plans were initiated for the construction of the sanctuary. “Bids have been received on a finished auditorium which can be completed in about six weeks at a cost not to exceed $5,000.00,” wrote the pastor in the August 23 newsletter. The work was expedited, and on January 3, 1943, the first worship service was held. A dedication on January 17, with Dr. Sam Rushing, pastor of Istrouma Baptist Church as the guest speaker, was held.
After a fire …
After a fire destroyed the first church in 1947, a new auditorium was built in its place.
Grace Baptist Church experienced phenomenal growth during the early fifties. So much so that they felt they should sponsor a new church in the Goodwood area. Grace Baptist sponsored this mission church and on Sunday, October 25, 1953, Goodwood Baptist Church broke ground for the new combination chapel and education building. Sixty-two members of Grace Baptist Church transferred their letters to Goodwood Baptist Church. Their resources, excitement and leadership capacities added impetus and strength to the new fellowship.
During the next fifty years, the members of Grace worshiped God, raised their children, and worked as a family for the good of the community.
Replant in 2010
But by the year 2010 Grace had changed. Its members were few and all were older. The members prayed that if God desired Grace to continue in His work, He would bring new life to His church, and God sent CrossPoint. Just as Grace had sent out a leader and 60 of its members to Goodwood Baptist, CrossPoint also sent 60 of its members along with Pastor Byron Townsend with a commitment to “replant” Grace Baptist. On January 2, 2011 a new chapter with Grace began.
Over the last ten years, Grace has developed its identity of being a local neighborhood church devoted to the flourishing of the city. We saw the formation of a Christ-loving multi-cultural congregation of babies, young children, teenagers, college students, young families, and old folks.
Yet, what no one could predict was the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 was hard for everyone, but it was the demise of many small congregations. During this time, Grace saw many transitions: a revised governance structure, a revised Constitution and Bylaws, and a new pastor. Through the providence and faithfulness of God, Grace has survived these transitions and is now embarking on a new chapter to continue seeking the glory of Christ and the good of all people.