For 100 years
this building was a landmark as the home of First Baptist Church.
All the other church
buildings in town were built in the mid-20th century but this is the
sole survivor of the 19th century. When the congregation
dwindled the Baptist conference wanted to preserve the building's
purpose as a house of worship and pass it along to
another congregation of Christians rather than sell it to become a
residence or business.
In 2006 our new congregation, known as Grace Christian Church, was
formed and began
holding services in the historic edifice purchased from the Baptists.
Graciously, nearly all of the furnishings and
equipment were left for us new folks. This has greatly assisted Grace Christian
to get started and a hearty thanks goes to the fine Baptist Christians whose
century of stewardship continues to serve the community.
In January 2009 the church called
Brian Thiel to
be the pastor, succeeding Dick Burlingame. Both men had
graduated from MN Bible College (later named, Crossroads College in
Rochester) as young preachers and later had careers in business.
Brian and his wife, Sharon moved to LeRoy from Austin where they were very
active with the Austin Church of Christ and in a variety of community
activities. When you see either of them around
town, just say, "Hi Brian" or "Hi Sharon."
The Leroy Independent and Austin Daily Herald newspapers ran
feature stories several years ago about the church's beginnings, providing lots of details
about how it came about, the people who were involved, and what kind
of church this is. They are probably no longer available at the
papers' current web sites, however.
Please look at the articles below that describe this kind of church in
much greater detail. As you can clearly see from reading these essays, we
have one central purpose... to follow all clear teachings of the Bible
because there is no better way to understand God or to come into a
fellowship with Jesus Christ! Creeds, catechisms and commentaries are
all helpful, but none compares with the Bible itself. Putting the
highest priority on the Bible is, of
course, at the very core of what most Christians have always done, regardless of
whatever church affiliations they now have or previously had. There is a lot of
freedom in that and a lot of personal responsibility, too.
Everyone who wants to have fellowship with others who
believe in God and Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible is welcome at Grace
Christian. Stay a bit longer and join in the Coffee & Snacks Fellowship that follows
every Sunday service. And there is a potluck dinner following morning
services on some month's 3rd Sundays.