In 2012 Grace United Church of Christ celebrated our 100th Anniversary as a congregation called Grace in the village of Eden, Pennsylvania, and dedicated ourselves to this ministry for years to come!
Once upon a time, a Sunday School program housed in a small brick building known as the Eden Meeting House dreamed of becoming a congregation; they peti-tioned the Lancaster Classis (the local body of the German Reformed denom-ination) and were established June 2, 1912.
Once upon a time, the young congregation built a stone church for itself at 1947 New Holland Avenue, laying the cornerstone in November 1916 and completing the building one year later. As the congregation and its programs grew, they built a parsonage (1940-1941) and built a Church School wing (1956).
Over time, the con-gregation dreamed of expanding its life into new, larger space to accommodate its child-ren and its ham dinners and its choirs and its neighborhood ministry. Ground was broken October 18, 1970, and worship was held in the new sanctuary for the first time August 15, 1971.
Over time, the congregation called Grace continued to live up to its name with an active social and spiritual life: summer VBS programs; Women’s Guild bus trips; Christmas pageants; the FISH program; Seder meals during Holy Week; volleyball games and picnics; seminary interns; resettlement of a Bosnian refugee family; building a Habitat for Humanity home; retreats to Cape May; serving community breakfasts; and becoming “Open & Affirming.”
Over time, new understandings of vitality in “grace” were fostered. Lenten Sabbatical small groups and an autumn retreat to Hartman Center contributed to Grace’s spiritual growth. Continued education on concerns of accessibility, justice and health enriched the congregation’s vision of itself and deepened its understanding of all people.
by Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg, former pastor of Grace United Church of Christ, Eden, Pennsylvania