In Nacogdoches, Grace Bible Church is celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend.The church's milestone reflects a much wider movement seen across East Texas during the 1940s. It was created following a debate still heard today.
Grace Bible Church was born from an argument.
Pastors say Grace Bible was founded by 36 individuals who wouldn't budge on a fundamental, literal belief of the Bible.
"Grace Bible Church is a nondenominational church," said Lead Pastor Kyle Easley. "We are independent and back in the '40s Grace began with some people who just wanted spend their time in the word of God weekly and also engaging community around them." >
The community closest to Grace Bible is SFA.
Fast forward 30 years when the university and Grace Bible experienced their biggest growth. Students gravitated to free meals and deep life discussions. It continues today.
"College students come here and they feel at home, but they are also around people who are all different ages and different stages of life," Easley said.
Such as 97-year-old Dottie Tucker.
"Well, If I don't get younger friends, I don't have anybody," Tucker said with a laugh.
Tucker is grounded on the Bible. She's hosted prayer groups in the same room of her house for about 50 years. She's been a member of Grace for 60 years.
"We used to pray for families and children and that was one of our early preachers," Tucker said. "I wish they could see see it now."
"I just love looking how people have changed over the years," said Executive Pastor Jeremiah Betron.
Betron says hairstyles and dress have changed at Grace Bible, but one theme is consistent.
"I am just so excited to see what the next 75 years has for us because even though we change, God does not change," he said.
There are individuals who will never accept the fundamental beliefs, but few can deny praise to Grace for its community mission work. It's done quietly. It's the service most celebrated in this 75th year of Grace Bible Church.
Grace Bible Church now has about 1,000 members. It will host a banquet on Saturday night at 6 in SFA's grand ballroom. Tickets can be reserved until noon Wednesday on the Grace Bible's website.