Excerpts from the 150th Anniversary Book (circa 1947) compiled by the Anniversary Committee

It appears from historical information that the South Fork Valley was first settled about 1760 by immigration from the State of Pennsylvania. They were mostly of German descent, and mostly Lutheran and German Reformed. They had no place to worship other than private homes, and in the summer time they held services in barns and on the lawns under the shade trees.

These original settlers were anxious to have a place of worship so they met in consultation about the matter and set about to find a desirable place to erect a house. Soon a site was secured and on January 14, 1797, a deed was made by Samuel Jarrett to John Yoder and John Heffner, trustees, consisting of three and one-half acres, for the sum of $8.00.

It seems by historical facts that it had been the rule and custom in their native land to build UNION HOUSES for public worship and school houses. After this agreement was concluded all the good old settlers, as faithful brethren, determined to erect a house, all worked together and soon the material was on the ground. It was a LOG HOUSE twenty-five by thirty-five feet and was erected about the year 1797. The work was done by Daniel Conrad and France Bikle. After it was completed it was dedicated to God as a place of worship, and was called GRACE CHURCH.

The history of Grace Church, covering the period of time from 1797 to 2012, may be divided into four parts, centering around the four buildings, namely:

The LOG House

The first Lutheran minister in this section was the Rev. Johann Gottfried Arndt. In 1771, Christopher Lyerly and Christopher Randleman of Rowan County went on horseback through the wilderness to Charleston, S. C., and there sailed for Germany and brought back the Rev. Adolphus Nussman to preach and John Gottfried Arndt to teach. They arrived in North Carolina on September 12, 1772.

John Gottfried Arndt was born …..

The Brick “Union” Church

During the year 1858 the new BRICK “UNION” CHURCH was built. The contractor was Joseph Irby from Cleveland County who did the mason work, and John Henderson who did the carpenter work. It was completed during this year.

A subscription list of the Lutheran members….

The Brick Lutheran Church

The New Brick Lutheran Church, erected on land on the east side of the highway just opposite the Brick “Union” Church, was opened for service on Easter Day, April 5, 1942. For a number of years faithful pastors had prayed and worked that a peaceful division might be made that each congregation might have its own property and be at liberty to hold services at any time without interfering with the other. During the pastorate of the Rev. B. S. Brown, D.D., the dream of a Lutheran church home came true. The total cost of the building and furnishings was $17,406.03. On June 6, 1943, the building was dedicated. The successful completion of this building program and the prompt payment of all indebtedness was the result the finest kind of cooperation.

On an icy Sunday morning, March 7, 1948, about two ho

The “New” Brick Church

Before the actual work began on the rebuilding, cleaning away of the rubble was done by the men of Grace Congregation. The men also cut trees and prepared lumber for the new building, contributing much time, energy, and use of their equipment to the project.

The first service was held in the basement Chapel on July 17, 1949, exactly three years from the date that Pastor Hoke Ritchie preached his first sermon at Grace Church. The completion of the upstairs Nave was delayed by the late arrival of the Art Glass win